A Target employee in an undisclosed location who we’ll call “Amy” sent along a photo from the frozen foods section. One of Amy’s colleagues carefully went through and placed “0% off” shelf tags on every variety of Amy’s frozen vegetarian burrito. “They are actually on sale if scanned,” notes Amy, “but you save 5% more than the sign states.”
“um..this makes 0 cents,” reader Terry wrote when he submitted this photo from a local HyVee store to us. It’s one thing to post a sign with a sale price when there’s no real discount or to advertise a sale when you’ve marked something up, but why advertise a gas promotion when there’s no gas promotion?
“Man oh man, I’m sure glad that we have a Safeway Club Member loyalty card!” writes reader Richard. Even if you have a card, dearest readers, you’re going to miss out: the sale ended on Saturday.
Flickr user classmanager snapped this picture last week at Harbor Freight, a discount hardware store. It’s a beautiful and confusing example of fuzzy math because it isn’t just a few cents more expensive than the regular price of the item: they went ahead and put it on -51% sale, and brag about it.
It’s kind of confusing when phrases like “more than” and “over” have become nothing more than meaningless marketing buzzwords. Three and a half years ago, we brought you a set of light-blocking curtains that block more than 100% of light. It sounds nice, but is physically impossible. Reader Liz found a similar marketing oddity at Target, where a sign brags about a discount of “more than” $20 when the discount is, in fact, exactly $20. [More]
Welcome to Walmart, where our prices are so low, we have to raise prices to put things on clearance! No, wait, that doesn’t really make sense. Hmm. Most likely, some prankster rearranged the numbers in this sign that reader Anthony found this weekend. That’s the story we’ll go with, because we like to retain some faith in the staff of Walmart.
Shopping at Party City, Jeff noticed this odd sticker. It advertises discounts of “up to 75% off” and that the item retails at $9.99 and now costs $10. Only that’s not really the confusing part.
Marie is in the market for a new external hard drive, and last week (before the Presidents’ Day holiday) she heard from an office Depot employee that just the item she wanted goes on sale frequently, and she should wait for one of those sales. Hurray! That’s just what she did. She waited for a sale, when an “instant rebate” brought the price down…to exactly the same price that it had been. [More]
We don’t hate the foot soldiers of retail here at Consumerist. What we hate are the processes that make lead to pointless non-sale signs posted on shelves that waste everyone’s time and either confuse customers or make them giggle. Here are two. [More]
Perhaps irrationally, our readers assume that chain store employees are supposed to read sale signs before posting them on the shelf. [More]
Shopping at CVS, Ajay noticed this odd sale on a seasonal item (sandals). Okay, it’s fine to charge more for seasonal items during the season when they’re used: that’s basic retail. But there’s something terribly wrong when employees put up a sign doubling the price on a sale item without batting an eye.
Reader Juhgail noticed “clearance” tags on an item that she was planning to buy anyway. Since “clearance” nearly always also means “sale” in retail, it’s nice when that happens. Except in CVS’s reality vortex, “clearance” actually means “we stuck a shelf tag on it, but left it at the same price.” Makes sense.
After Mario bought some shirts at The Children’s Place shortly before Christmas, he discovered that the “sale” the store was running on the items he bought was a bad deal. Using an amazing trick of fuzzy math, the store actually increased the price of the items that Mario bought by putting them on sale. Wait, what?
Ian tried to take advantage of a sweet laptop and printer pre-Black Friday sale at Best Buy’s website, but couldn’t check out with the advertised price. A customer service rep suggested Ian pay the higher price for the items, then apply for a refund for the difference later. The plan didn’t work out so well.
Home improvement retailer Lowe’s went on Facebook and invited all of its friends to a totally awesome pre-Black Friday party late Thursday night and early Friday morning. Like all really fun parties, too many people showed up and things got out of hand. Which is to say that the doorbuster item, a KitchenAid stand mixer at 90%, sold out quickly, and took the store’s entire site down with it.
It’s tough to get too angry at Target for attempting to skim a buck off the top of iPad purchases, but to call the minimally-inflated price a “sale” crosses the line of decency.