Watch out For “Sales”

According to a recent report from MarketWatch, the sales that are often promoted in large retail stores may not be sales at all. The article points out that the “original prices” listed on sales tags are often inflated to trick consumers into thinkings that they are receiving a better deal than they actually are. According to MarketWatch:

Many of the stores that offer the most frequent coupons and discounts also tailor the asking prices of items so that even coupons and sales don’t mean real savings. For example, as of July 11, frequent discounter J.C. Penney advertises that the “original price” of its Ninja NJ600 Blender is $145.00 and that it’s now on sale for $99.00. Meanwhile, at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Best Buy, that blender is listed at and selling for $99.99 and at Amazon it’s listed at $109.99 and selling for $96.35. “Shoppers are usually attracted to the magnitude of the sale — 30% off always looks better than 15% off — but retailers can fairly easily increase the list price of an item to make the discount appear deeper,” says Matthew Ong, a retail analyst with

Consumers need to be aware of these trends so as to not overpay for the products they want. It is recommended that consumers do their research before purchasing a product so that they can ensure that they are getting the best deal on whatever it is that they are buying. One recommended method of doing this is to use the mobile app RedLaser which scans a products UPC Code and then presents the user with an outline of what the prices are for the product in a variety of different stores and online marketplaces. This, and other products like it, help to ensure that consumers do not overpay.

Read More- “This is the sneakiest thing stores do to trick consumers” (Catey Hall, MarketWatch)

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A rising senior at Colgate University, John is currently working as a research fellow with Consumers' Research.


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