Clothing store clerk-"You saved 60 bucks!" Did I then?

Went to Bealls, a regional clothing chain. Got a nice pair of work slacks, 1 shirt, and a package of underwear. Now, every time I go into these places, I see signs everywhere trumpeting how most everything is “on sale,” often with signs saying 30-50% off.

My bill ($100) didn’t seem spectacularly low, tho-but the clerk of course pointed to my receipt while breathlessly exclaiming, “Hey-you saved $60 dollars!”

But I wonder if I saved a single dime, and if this is just some sort of sales gimmick. Is there at least one competitor in town that I can go to and buy the exact same three items for $160, I wonder? $60 off as compared to who or what, exactly?

Yeah, duhhh if it is, call me naive if you must, just wondering why they run their businesses like this. If the “original” prices are utterly fictional, seems like a lot of fuss and bother for nothing. And if this sales model works so great for them, why don’t other businesses use it (to said extent to be specific)?

I thoroughly dislike this tactic, as though I am to be congratulated for my fine shopping skills. Then they often feel the need to circle the “savings,” as though I’ll need to remind myself of it later.

A lot of stores do this I think. Kohls is notorious for it - there is always a sale, and a 30% off coupon to be had, as well as extra coupons for cardholders that you can “stack.” Bed Bath and Beyond too.

I shop at two clothing stores - Torrid and Lane Bryant - that are wildly expensive. But there’s usually a way to save 50% or more of you just time everything right, or spend enough. In just got 2 shirts normally priced for $70 together (just last week) for a total of $20, at Torrid.

People like to save money. Sales and coupons add a game to things. JC Penny’s tried to do a thing a few years back with low prices and no sales…and the whole thing tanked. They got rid of the person who came up with that I believe.

There is no “savings” if you can get the same thing elsewhere for equal or less money. It is just a marketing gimmick that various retailers use and abuse with various levels of success. You see it all the time in ads for things like luxury watches and jewelry advertised in magazines (e.g., list price $1799 but you can by it now for $399; they just never mention that they have never sold a single one legitimately for $1799). That tactic is a staple of infomercials as well. They can make up any number they want and then mark it down repeatedly right in front of you until the get to the (still greatly inflated) real price.

The men’s clothing store Jos. A. Bank ran ridiculous Buy 1 Get 3 Free sales for suits from 2012 - 2015 and that eventually backfired because most people don’t want or need 4 new suits at a time and it made people wonder why their suits were so worthless that they could just give them away so freely.

That isn’t to say that clothing sales and “savings” aren’t real - they can be and I have certainly gotten some incredible deals over the years just by paying close attention to real sales, clearances and even pricing errors. However, I believe the line between real savings and gimmick is defined by the true current market price of the item as a whole and whether the retailer is using a perpetual sales strategy instead of more reasonable every day pricing.

Or if it’s something you wouldn’t buy otherwise. If you can save a hundred dollars by buying a suit at a half-price discount store rather than a regular store then you can save two hundred dollars by not buying a suit at all. If you follow this logic, you’ll find you save more at expensive stores.

I think I’ve heard somewhere that there are regulations that an item has to be priced at the “regular price” for a certain fraction of the year, in order for them to advertise the price as being lower than it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they sell any of that item while it’s at the “regular price”.

A lot of places have sales on end-of-season stuff, so if you buy, say, a sweatshirt in October for $40, and wear it a lot through February, then see it’s “on sale” for $20, you didn’t lose $20, because someone who buys it in February will wear it for maybe two months, then put it away, assuming they have room, and, assuming they are an adult, wear it again the next year.

It’s also sort of a “rich get richer” thing. When my parents were doing better, and we lived in a house with lots of storage space, my mother discovered she could buy end-of-year sales clothes for my brother and me a size bigger, pack them away, and get them out the next year. Of course, we did, and still did, wear our cousins’ hand-me-downs.

Grocery stores have this tool, also. But, I believe it is legitimate. A temporary price reduction by the manufacturer is sometimes reflected by the retailer.

I like seeing those “You Saved $” on the receipt.

I was going to post this same thing. About those same two chains. But …

When you need an item, and you want it today, and it doesn’t happen to be on sale and you don’t happen to have the 30% off coupon for this week rather than last week, it’s really a pisser to pay 2 or 3x the price you know this same item will be next week or next month or was last week or last month.

They’re slowly training their customers to walk in, and walk right back out if the item isn’t on some kind of sale. Then buy it from amazon from the car.

The sad thing is that no matter how dumb they expect consumers to be, consumers prove them right.

This thread rates my sig.

There is a store in NZ that seems to always have sales of some sort or another. If you want to get anything from there and are prepared to wait, you will get it at a discount. It would be easy to think that their discounted prices are actually regular prices, and the claimed “savings” are a polite fiction.

In fact, they are very closely monitored by the Commerce Commission, and have a large compliance department that ensures that every advertised saving reflects actual, in the shop pricing for a suitable period (as I recall, 3 months). Companies that fail to do this risk large fines for misleading advertising.

Which I’m sure adds nothing the the final cost that customers pay - right?

But if you really are willing to pay that much for the item right now, then the store would be fools to let you have it for less. Coupons and the like are the modern first-world equivalent of haggling: Sell for a low profit if you have to, sell for a high profit if you can, and always sell for as much profit as possible.

Understood as a matter of economics. But it still *feels *like playing in a crooked casino.

I have run into this when shopping for jewelry at a certain major department store (we’ll call it “Macy’s”). They are always running fabulous “sales” where certain things are “50%” off, plus there are special deals where you get another 20% off the sale price and maybe another 10% off of that. The final price is somewhere near retail reality while guaranteeing the store a decent profit.

When I lived down Houston way there was a discount plant nursery that also had whopping-sounding sales where prices were steeply discounted, especially as the season went on. By fall you could buy plants for roughly what they were actually worth.

Auto dealers are also notorious for similar tactics. Lard up the original price with dealer prep and “delivery” fees, then “discount” it to make the customer feel like he’s getting a deal.

Which I’m sure adds nothing to the OP’s question-right?

In my state such a marketing gimmick must including in the sales ad a statement similar to, “Original price may not have resulted in sale”, meaning, “We first put it on the floor at $70, but labeled it $100 and 30% off”.

I don’t care, because I know what I can afford, what is a reasonable price for most items, and how to time buying clothes and home goods.

For as stupid and gimmicky as it seems, it’s actually what shoppers prefer and it drives sales. A few years back when JCPenneys was in financial trouble they got a new CEO and his strategy was “no sales, no coupons”. Just mark everything at the lowest price all the time. People will just automatically get the best price.
It failed spectacularly. Apparently shoppers like to think they’re saving money, like to think they got something on sale, like to think they had a valuable coupon.
It didn’t take long for JCPennys to revert back to sales and coupons.

Of course it does, like any business cost. But compared with the cost of a false advertising fine, it is peanuts.

The take away is that in some parts of the world, you are not allowed to lie to consumers, and those laws have some rather sharp teeth.
If you tell a customer in NZ that they are saving money over the regular price (and not just recommended retail price), the seller must be able to demonstrate the basis for their claim. Or they may get fined.

They’re teaching me to only buy the stuff that’s on sale.

When I worked in the Macy’s jewelry department, there were items we would get in that would go straight into the markdown case. There were other things that would go in there only when they didn’t sell.

In order for a regular department store to call them sales and have a higher price, they have to be available for sale at the higher price some percentage of the time. So people were coming in asking, “When does this go on sale?” And we told them.

There were people who bought at the higher prices, though. They always bought more at the sale prices, of course. The weeks when nothing was on sale except the stuff in the markdown case were thin weeks.

Also, Macy’s has these very annoying “presales.” You can get this item for 25% off. You can buy it today and pick it up two weeks from now, when the sale “starts.” I hated those as an employee (we ended up filling up all the stockrooms with everybody’s bagged presale items, to the point where you couldn’t even get in to find stuff. And then two weeks later you had to wedge yourself in there again to find what they’d bought. If you were lucky. And call the people who forgot. And lots of people changed their minds.) I also hate them as a customer and will just go somewhere else. That thing is on sale somewhere and I will find it.