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6 Times a Bargain Is Not a Bargain


on 11/13/2019

Young woman with a questioning look on her face

Who doesn’t love a good sale? You see the lines of people waiting outside the stores on Black Friday each year, trying to get the best deal on that must have item. But the sale price sometimes isn’t the best price and your much needed retail therapy session may end up being not so therapeutic. 

Here’s when that steal of a deal is not such a bargain after all. 

1. When You Don’t Need It

There’s an 85 inch OLED TV marked down 40%... that’s a great deal but you have a TV in the living room, bedroom, even the kitchen and they are working just fine. Save a few thousand toward a great home improvement or your retirement. The price might be right but, if the heavily marked-down item is one you really don’t need, you’re just blowing money you could be using for savings or to purchase the stuff you actually do need.  

2. When It’s A Faulty Product

You know the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” Sometimes, it doesn’t pay to be cheap. If an item is retailing at a ridiculously low price, it may be too good to be true. Here are a few things to keep in mind and prevent yourself from wasting your money on something that may not last:

  • Where was it manufactured? If the product has a designer label along with a “Made in ‘foreign land not affiliated with the designer,’” it’s likely a cheap knock-off.
  • Are there any noticeable defects or missing parts?
  • Does the item look worn out?
  • Is the material cheaply made?

Read the reviews from previous buyers. This is very helpful on Amazon or other online stores to gauge the quality, look, and feel of an item or article of clothing.

3. When It’s Going To Expire Or Go Bad Before Consuming 

Hello, warehouse bulk shoppers! We’re talking to you and your 50 pound bag of onions and 10 loaves of bread. Unless you’re buying for an event or have a small army of growing children at home, certain food items may turn stale or rot before you’ll eat all of it. You know, realistically, how much food your family will consume so keep that in mind when you are shopping. You don’t want to have to toss out half of the food or face the issue of not having room to properly store it.

4. When The “Sale Price” Is Higher Than What You’ve Paid In The Past 

Retailers sometimes feature an item’s price as a “sale price” when, in reality, the store has never sold it for more than the amount they are advertising for. 

The store might be basing its sale price on an inflated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). But, if the MSRP was artificially inflated to begin with, you’re not getting a bargain. 

Other times, the item will come with a pre-marked-down MSRP. The manufacturer’s label might read: “Original price: $49.99. Our price: $39.99.” Of course, the item was never sold at $49.99. If an item is really marked down, you’ll see another price tag slapped on top of the manufacturer’s label with the newer, lower price.

5. When You Need To Mail-In The Rebate 

Rebates are a retailer’s best friend. Raise your hand if you’ve forgotten or just have been too annoyed to follow all the instructions for submitting your rebate request. Fill out the form, make a copy of your receipt, cut out the proof of purchase from the items package and mail it in. We instead end up paying full price with the retailer getting the last laugh. Only pick up rebate items with an instant at-the-register rebate, unless you are vigilant in returning your rebate documents.  Also, be sure the rebate, if it’s not a cashable check, is an in-store rebate that you will use without being forced to buy something, again, you don’t need.

6. When There’s A Liquidation Sale 

While shoppers sometimes snag great deals, they can be riddled with rip-offs. Retailers post signs claiming “Everything Must Go!”  The “Rock Bottom Prices” they advertise are often as high as the original MSRP – or even higher. The store owners are depending on shoppers to assume that all items are bargain-priced just because it’s a liquidation sale. Try to see beyond the flashy signage and waving inflatable tube man in the parking lot, and be sure the deals are legit.  

Generally, you know how much the regular price is when you are shopping for must-have items and even your daily essentials.  Pay attention to the original price and the discount price to be sure you really are getting a good deal, especially on those big-ticket items. If an item is listed for a too good to be true price, the discount may be due to the quality of the item and you may end up very disappointed. And always make sure your purchases will add value to you or your family in some way, other than, “It was on sale!”   

 

© Genisys Credit Union and www.genisyscu.org, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Genisys Credit Union and www.genisyscu.org with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sources: 

https://www.fnbn.com/3199-2/ 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2012/03/03/beware-sometimes-bargain-sales-are-no-bargain/#1f500ab242b9

https://www.consumerreports.org/shopping/why-a-sale-isnt-always-a-sale/

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-figure-out-when-a-sale-isnt-really-a-sale-5695886/amp

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