Holiday Spirit and Retail Games

posted in: living on less | 0

We’ve been duped by the big time clothing brands and we have turned a blind eye to it for years.
They trick us into buying things and we are powerless. The sad part of it all, we actually enjoy being lied to and made to feel a certain way about shopping. When JcPenny owned up to the sales tricks and said they would just sell us everything at a fair price and skip the whole coupon and sales game, shoppers didn’t go. It actually hurt the company to be honest with us as consumers. What is wrong with us!?
I’ve done some research and found out how we’re being duped into buying clothes we don’t need or will simply return to the store to buy more of their stuff.

1. The coupon game– They mail them to you, they let you earn them for your loyalty and your hard earned cash. Here’s a shocker: that 20 % off bed bath and beyond coupons doesn’t actually expire. They just put the date there so you’ll rush off and use it so you don’t lose your discount. They send you coupons for items when the price is marked up. Kohl’s is fabulous at this game and giving you a false sense of a great deal. If a company can give you a great discount and you still turn a sizable profit, shouldn’t we question the original price of the item? I don’t want to play the coupon game anymore. They even made a reality show of coupon loving people we just love the coupon game so much.

2. Rewards and Points– Every retailer under the sun has a rewards program where you are duped into being loyal. I’m talking to you ibota app lady at Famous Footwear. Earn points and get a discount. This little trick assures us that we will come back to shop there again so that we can get our discount or monopoly money for said retailer. We just give them our e-mail and TA-DA! COUPONS!!!

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3. Buy One Get One– I worked retail long enough and learned the tricks and this was a big one. The big wigs would decide it was time to host a buy one get one-half off sale. A few days before the sale started, we’d get a new price sheet and go markup the price on most of the products. And oh how the people fell for it. Most of us are too busy to keep up with the prices of items and are completely oblivious to this markup because we’re getting a “deal”.

4. Store Apps– Now they have made the coupon game even better by letting us download them to our phones. We don’t even have to cut them out anymore and carry them with us. They even track our habits and send us coupons for what we buy. Not only that, but they get us with impulsively buying crap we don’t need, but it’s on sale and we’ve got a discount because we use the app so let’s just buy it anyways.

5. Crappy Products– They sell us clothes that don’t hold up and we go buy more because it was a bargain price. They play on our emotions regarding prices and the notion that we’re ok buying a crappy product that was made in a sweat shop around the world because we value a discount over quality goods. H&M has this one down to a science in my option. Those clothes wear quickly, but they’re in style and budget friendly.Same for you $5 target t-shirts. I see you on your shelf rotating colors for the seasons because that’s how quickly you wear.

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6. Outlet stores– We recently acquired an outlet mall in town and I hardly, if ever, go. Again, I hate shopping, but half the products there are made for outlet stores. Check your Gap and Banana Republic clothes, if they have 3 little stars on the tag, they were made for outlet stores and not a flagship store. Those are probably the same jeans you buy at Old Navy with a coupon, but it has a fancy tag and you feel like you snagged a name brand for less.

7. Treasure Hunt– They don’t keep clearance sections neat and tidy for a reason. They want us to believe we really found a treasure buried in the racks. This is why Marshalls doesn’t straighten their shelves. They’re not lazy, they want to you hunt for it. Retailers usually have more stock in the back, but play on our inner Jack Sparrow and feel as though we’ve found a rare gem hidden on the shelf. This strategy also plays into our emotions and we all know how that turns on in a store.

I think if we’re going to live on less, we need to educate ourselves on the ways we’re being tricked into purchasing more. The average cost of a consumer with a shopping cart is $50, so grab the basket next time and spend a little less. Most of my wardrobe was bought because of one of these discounts tricks and I’m so done playing the games. I just want to buy quality clothes that were made with fair business practices and might cost a few bucks more. So yes, I may lose out on the coupon game and rewards points, but I’m ok buying one quality made item over 3 items that will wear and be in the donate pile next year. In the wise words of Nancy Reagan, Just say no.

What games and gimmicks are you done playing with retailers??

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