Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

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Colorado13
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Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by Colorado13 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:23 am

Earlier this week, I ordered a new pair of shoes online. Recently I received a sale notice from the store where I bought the shoes. The "sale" prices are in effect today and the shoes I ordered cost 26% MORE than they did earlier in the week when I purchased them. So much for this weekend's "big sale"...

To make this post actionable, my advice is to be a very savvy shopper and compare prices regularly. What tips do you have for savvy shopping?

Mingus
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by Mingus » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:34 am

Seems most things clothing wise are mostly on "sale" most of the time.

Some sales are better than other sales, however. It might be 30% off this week, and 50% off next week.

I first recall noticing this trend around 2009. It must be retail's new business model: Overprice merchandise by 100%, maintain a perpetual variable percentage sale so consumers believe they are getting a bargain.

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mhc
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by mhc » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:41 am

Some credit cards will rebate the difference if you register the receipt with them. At least that is my understanding. I have never tried it.

surfstar
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by surfstar » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:46 am

^ Citi Price Rewind. A bit of a hassle, but works great, when needed.

barnaclebob
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:51 am

Yep. Unfortunately most consumers want to always feel like they are getting a deal. Nobody wants to be the idiot that paid full price for something an companies know this so they run perpetual varying sales. JC Penny tried pricing their merchandise at low levels with occasional real sales and it was a miserable failure.

Rupert
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by Rupert » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:51 am

You gotta stop paying attention to numbers such as "sticker price" and "sales price" because they're meaningless. I will often stick items in my Amazon cart for weeks, sometimes months, and just watch the price. From this I have learned that there are certain types of items where the price rarely moves and other types of items where the price fluctuates daily, sometimes multiple times a day. The price of shoes, for example, constantly fluctuates. If it's something I need immediately, then I just check the prices for the item at a handful of on-line vendors to get a sense of what a fair price is, then I buy from the one that is most convenient for me or the one that is offering free or the cheapest shipping. I don't usually check back at week later or whatever to see if the price has gone down. Because I've done research, I feel like I've paid a fair price, and I don't sweat it after that. Sometimes I will deliberately pay a little more for an item at a brick and mortar store in my community to support local small businesses or because it's important to try something on. But I almost always check the prices on-line first.

randomguy
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by randomguy » Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:00 am

Rupert wrote:You gotta stop paying attention to numbers such as "sticker price" and "sales price" because they're meaningless. I will often stick items in my Amazon cart for weeks, sometimes months, and just watch the price. From this I have learned that there are certain types of items where the price rarely moves and other types of items where the price fluctuates daily, sometimes multiple times a day. The price of shoes, for example, constantly fluctuates. If it's something I need immediately, then I just check the prices for the item at a handful of on-line vendors to get a sense of what a fair price is, then I buy from the one that is most convenient for me or the one that is offering free or the cheapest shipping. I don't usually check back at week later or whatever to see if the price has gone down. Because I've done research, I feel like I've paid a fair price, and I don't sweat it after that. Sometimes I will deliberately pay a little more for an item at a brick and mortar store in my community to support local small businesses or because it's important to try something on. But I almost always check the prices on-line first.
+100. It is amazing how much people get anchored to prices.

CamelCamelCamel.com is great for seeing historical amazon prices. I have a product that I buy that regularly rotates from 12 dollars to 19 dollars and back again.

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nisiprius
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by nisiprius » Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:07 am

It's a new world. Thanks to the wonders of newfangled computers and the Intarwebs, the whole meaning of "price" is changing. Prices are now robohaggled, and we live in a world of invisible auctions. A few years ago they caught Amazon showing different prices for the same items to different customers, and there's a lot of that going around. We've seen it for a long time in airline prices, now we're seeing it on all kinds of items at all price points.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by sunny_socal » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:24 pm

I don't worry about MSRP and sale prices any more. On any given day there will be a 'sale' for some reason at all department stores. If there isn't a major (or minor :wink: ) holiday they'll make up an excuse.

Online I start with Amazon, that's the most I'll pay for an item. I'll cross shop ebay and the "google shopping" search for an even better price - ebay often ends up being the winner and free/included shipping is common.

Before I check out I'll also search for discounts and coupons. More often than not I'll get another 5-10% off.

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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by itstoomuch » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:37 pm

One of my stock holdings (Discretionary Accts) is On Sale today (-7%) as compared to Thurs, Aug 05.
On Sale, does not necessarily make a good buy when one has enough of that item.
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batpot
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by batpot » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:01 pm

JC Penney tried "real" pricing...in a nutshell: it didn't work.

http://business.time.com/2013/05/02/jc- ... of-course/

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by FrugalInvestor » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:22 pm

We very seldom buy things that are not on "sale". We then look for applicable coupons (my wife has an envelope full) and we often ask for price matches. This applies to online shopping as well.

If we don't have a coupon we'll ask the cashier if there are any available. Often times they'll pull out a page from under the counter and scan it and voila, discount applied!
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Teague
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by Teague » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:38 pm

In an appliance store about 30 years ago:

Customer: I was just at your competitor, and they have this exact same vacuum cleaner on sale for forty dollars less!

My boss way back then: So why didn't you buy it?

Customer: Because they are out of them right now.

My boss: That's nothing! When we're out of them they're free!
Semper Augustus

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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by an_asker » Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:02 pm

Colorado13 wrote:[...]What tips do you have for savvy shopping?
Have the Boglehead spouse do the shopping and the non-Boglehead spouse stay home ;-)

Might not be good for the marriage, but hey, the question was about savvy shopping. :oops:

#pennyWisePoundFoolish

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nisiprius
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by nisiprius » Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:05 pm

A local department store doesn't have paper price signs at all. On every table, there's a little post and on top of it is something that looks like a small tablet with one of those non-illuminated monochrome dark-snot-on-light-snot displays, with the price on it. Heaven only knows how often or how quickly they can change the price...
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by lthenderson » Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:35 pm

barnaclebob wrote:Yep. Unfortunately most consumers want to always feel like they are getting a deal. Nobody wants to be the idiot that paid full price for something an companies know this so they run perpetual varying sales. JC Penny tried pricing their merchandise at low levels with occasional real sales and it was a miserable failure.
As a friend of a store manager for JC Penny, I can attest that they about sunk the ship when they did away with sales and did everyday low pricing.

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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by keystone » Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:44 pm

randomguy wrote: CamelCamelCamel.com is great for seeing historical amazon prices. I have a product that I buy that regularly rotates from 12 dollars to 19 dollars and back again.
Yep, CamelCamelCamel is awesome. I setup alerts to notify me when the prices of certain items drop below a specific amount. This works great for products I am interested in but in no rush to purchase. You can definitely get a feel for what a good price is by looking at their 52 week price range. It's also amazing how much the price of some products fluctuates over the course of a year. The 52 week high and low for some products is comparable to a volatile stock.

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Colorado13
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by Colorado13 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:22 am

Here's my most recent example: It's time for a new timing belt for my car, so I called four places to get quotes. The difference between the highest and lowest quote was $500 and the dealer was not the most expensive. So, for about 15 minutes of my time, I will save $500.

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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:28 am

A local car dealer sells all their new cars at "dealer invoice" price.

The car maker ran a big promotion. "All cars at $100 over dealer invoice".

That lot had to raise all their prices by $100 during that "sale". :oops:
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ArmchairArchitect
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:31 am

froogle.com for general price comparison, make sure to sort by price.

For Amazon, camelcamelcamel.com

likegarden
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by likegarden » Wed Aug 17, 2016 10:25 am

You need to do the detailed comparisons. Every few years we buy all weekly groceries at two different stores and then compare. One store had customer buyer cards and advertised their low sales prices, but it was all smoke. While they lowered prices on some for a few days, other grocery went up in prices. Walmart beat that place by >10%.

You also have to watch what a store gives you as trade-in when looking at a sales price. I.e. cars, dealer showed me their Kelly BB trade-in price for my old car, but they did not use my low mileage - an extra $1k for them.

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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by lemonPepper » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:27 pm

yes, there are bogus sale prices all the time. I hate it.. saving money on shopping is very time consuming.

for online shopping one price match tool I've used successfully is paribus. It tracks prices of things you buy and makes a refund request automatically.

I haven't used citi price refund. They rule out a lot of electronics. I have used price match on chase sapphire card successfully ($100 or so on a cell phone)

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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by jf89 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:40 pm

The jeans that fit me just right are regularly $43.99. "Sale" price is $39.99. In normal department stores, I have never once seen them listed any higher than the sale price, sometimes with an accompanying sale sign and sometimes without. The regular price only exists at Levi's company stores (which are oddly enough usually branded as outlets).

Anyway figuring this out opened my eyes to the same thing you figured out, and I now look for real sales to buy on average a pair a year just to replenish the stock. Websites like camelcamelcamel.com can help to figure out what a real "normal" price is for a certain item so you can actually know when you're getting a good deal.
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by sport » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:01 pm

The only way to know is to compare. When we were outfitting our new house, I found on item "on sale" at Macy's which was more expensive than the regular price at Dillard's. I found another item at Kohl's that was "on sale" and it was more expensive than a better item at Dillard's regular price.

I have also found that hotel rates can change. So, if I have an advance reservation, I check from time to time before the trip to see it the rate has dropped. Depending on the hotel's expected occupancy rate for that date, the rate can increase, decrease, or stay the same for the same room.

Ninnie
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by Ninnie » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:11 pm

I've noticed this exact thing at Brooks Brother. The "regular" item price goes up the week of the sale.

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SpringMan
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by SpringMan » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:47 pm

Kohl's always has things marked way up and then offer 50% to 75% off on their artificial prices. They do have coupons and a senior citizen discount one day per week which can be stacked. Sometimes a deal can be had.
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Re: Bogus "sale" prices and savvy shoppers

Post by roflwaffle » Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:20 pm

Like everyone else, I use camelcamelcamel and sometimes google, although their search results have been slowly rolling downhill over the past 5+ years or so. I'll also cross-shop something if enough retailers carry it. Besides that, I've noticed the biggest "deals" tend to be one-offs that happen near the end of a financial quarter or when a manufacturer wants to clear out items. IMO, I have the best outcome as a consumer when time is on my side.

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