The old dry goods store kept everything out year round you might need from sleds to swimming suits, but they discovered through smart marketing they could sell the exact same items with the scarcity concept. They manage this by rotating merchandise off the floor. People rushed in to get an item they earlier had no interest in earlier because it was likely to be gone soon and it was on sale.
This same merchandising trick is in use today. I bought a pair of summer sandals the year before marked down, but the same sandals came out of storage and went back to its original high price. This proves they weren’t sold out and that sales price do not stay down.
In the old days of paper tags, a person had to mark down an item. The price could only go down farther, which is the conclusion most people still have about an item. With computers, the tags aren’t even touched. A few signs denote an item is on sale. Timed sales such as door busters go back to the original price as soon as it reaches the specified time. Even if you were in line at 11:45, but didn’t reach the cash register until 12:01, you pay full price.
Since prices often to go back up, should you get it when it is on sale? It all depends on the actual price. Many items that are on sale in a high-end store I can buy at a discount store for regular price. Beware of the tempting buy one get one free offer, that has recently gone to buy one get one-half off. Pies are a good example of this. I wanted two pies for Thanksgiving. One store advertised a BOGO special, but jacked the price of the pie to nine dollars. (Those particular pies were never nine dollars they usually averaged six dollars.) I bought single pies that were on sale for three dollars each at a different store.
Often what looks like a good deal isn’t. Sometimes slapping a sale tag on something is enough to get people to buy, or at least to come into the store. Many people are lured by a low price only to find the item on sale is of inferior quality, but it is sitting by two other models, one a little more expensive, and the other a lot more expensive. The majority of people picked the middle item, which they normally wouldn’t have bought if displayed by itself because of the price.
Then there is the merchandise that doesn’t exist. You come for the laptop that is under a hundred dollars only to find out they’re out. It isn’t too surprising because they only had eight. The premise is you will buy other things when you didn’t get what you came for. Most people do.
The lost leader sale is where one item such as a turkey is low if you buy a quantity of other groceries. Prices differ, but some stores make it a hundred dollars. The grocery store chain knows which items people think are must haves for Thanksgiving and raise the prices accordingly.
A red sale sign is on an item that was actually cheaper last week at regular price. Sales signs are often red because the mind and eyes respond to it first due to it represents both danger and food in nature. Women scurry over to the red sign to pick up the item. A few put it back. Anyone in sales knows an item touched is usually bought. There is a psychology behind getting you to touch an item. Once you touch it, try it on, or drive it, you have a sense of owning it. You seldom abandon something you own.
Clearance is where it is at, right? Some stores lowered the price ten cents and refer to it as clearance. Occasionally, when the store has less than a dozen items, the price goes way down. Often out of season items will get a major cut to move them, while other stores hold on to the item knowing they can sell it next year.
Still other stores will sell their unsold stock to places such as Big Lots and Odd Lots. The reason behind this is they can rid of a great deal of merchandise for one price to bring in full price stock. Popular discount stores such as Target have found they can donate seasonal items to thrift stores and take full retail loss.
Are there good sales out there? You’ll need to comb the sales ads, clip coupons, use loyalty cards and discounts, and walk the entire sales floor. Many clearance items hide in the back of the store or on end caps facing the walls. Especially with clothes, the prices can be mysteries because the items are in the wrong place. This is why the price scanners are scattered throughout the store. Remember if you have to ask a cashier how much something is you are not obligated to buy it.
If the price seems too good to be true, pick it up. I’ve bought fresh salmon for dollar a pound. It was supposed to be ten. Most stores will give you the price because it was their mistake, but they will change the price immediately after you leave. I also bought my husband a Jerry Garcia tie at 40% off because the sale sign was over the Garcia ties. It was supposed to be over another tie display, but someone goofed.
Lured by a sale on artificial Christmas tree, I debated buying a tree. It seemed like a great price compared to other store ads. My husband asked me to contact the manufacturer online to get a feel for the actual price. I received the tree for half the sales price and they shipped it to me free. Some great buys are out there, but they aren’t always sales.