On Shopping: 5 Deceptive Practices Stores Will Do to Get You to Buy Their Products

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No matter where you go, there is a store bragging about a sale, discount or something else to get you to buy.  Most of us don’t see anything wrong with store promotions since we are seeking a great deal anyway.  However, if we aren’t too careful, we might just get caught up in some deceptive marketing practices created by master manipulators seated in corporate offices with large bank accounts!

Buy One, Get One

Let’s see, if the company raises the price on the product about a week in advance, by the time the weekend sale of “buy one, get one” comes along, you will have paid not only regular price but an additional dollar or two.  This same practice is used for those so-called 50% off sales at local department sales.  You most likely got a better deal before the half-off sale came about especially if the item is being sold at the retail price.

50%, 75% off

The sign on the shelf boasted half off for your favorite item and then you found another item you like for a whopping 75% off!  You feel good about your selections, that is until you go up to the counter. The sales clerk charges you regular price.  When you point out the error, he or she claims that you are mistaken.  To be sure you have the right sale item, ask the clerk to follow you to the aisle and show you the so-called error.  If you are wrong, apologize, but if you are right, tell the manager he or she needs to do better with tagging the items as well as update their register.  The manager and/or clerks would love for you to say; “Oh, no problem, I’ll buy it!” so that they don’t have to get out of line and check on anything.  Therefore, you end up paying the regular price while the store rakes in a nice profit (just think how many other people may have been affected by sheer laziness or a sales clerk with an ego!)  Keep in mind; some stores are in competition with regional stores.  The corporate office may offer clerks special bonuses if they ring up large purchases or reach a record high sales volume on select products, so it doesn’t benefit their purse strings if you have a discounted item or return.

Select Items

Doesn’t it anger you when you visit a store and see items on sale then when you read the fine print on the tag, it turns out it is only for that one particular brand or only for a certain amount?  Sometimes the tag is placed in such a way that might make you think you have the right item when you don’t.  If you aren’t cautious, you will grab up more than you need thinking that is the item on sale only to go up to the counter and realize that it wasn’t what you thought.  To save yourself embarrassment, some of you will just buy them anyway – don’t do it!  The company was hoping you would make that mistake, so that they could push more than one brand.


You see a yellow tag from a distance and notice an item you typically buy is dollars cheaper!  So you get a happy feeling inside and rush to put it in your cart. Once you arrive at the register, you quickly learn that you don’t get your savings right then, you have to save your receipt, fill out a form, and mail it to the company in order to get a few dollars and/or cents back.  The company hopes you forget.  This way you never save any money on the item.

Store Coupons

“This coupon is for two items not one,” says the sales clerk.  What would some people do in this situation?  They would say, “Oh, okay.  Well go ahead, ring it up.”  They would reason that they didn’t want to hold up the line or it wasn’t that expensive etc.  Don’t fall for it!  The company just got you to buy something you may not have ordinarily bought if you hadn’t had a coupon.  They would have really done well selling you their goods had you paid closer attention to the amount you had to buy in order to get pennies on a dollar savings.  Although the sales clerk didn’t honor the coupon, the company still won.  Coupons are only good for items you seriously need.  Otherwise, they are nothing more than a promotion to get you to try overpriced and overhyped items.  The best way to make coupons work for you is to be sure they are manufacturer coupons then visit stores that double or triple them.  Another way is to hold on to them when your product is on sale.  You can really save big if you have a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon of the same product.

Store Layout

Do you ever question why items are constantly moved around in a store?  This is so that certain items that need to be sold more quickly get attention.  It is also a great way for the company to keep you confused on where to find the next deal.  It’s rare that you will find a pattern when certain items go on sale.  If you knew this, then the store owners would suspect you only shop when there is a sale; therefore, they would never be able to sell any item to you at regular price.  So to keep you off balance, they have weekly sales and consistently change around certain products to keep you coming back.  The relocation of goods also keeps you in the store longer; therefore, you will most likely buy more since you have to visit just about every aisle to find what you need.

In closing, don’t hesitate to speak up when you know that something is on sale but the clerk rings it up as regular price.  Don’t settle for whatever sales clerks tell you without asking them to come show you your error.  If they insist on not helping you, ask to speak to the manager.  But also, keep in mind that the manager also receives certain bonuses too and may not be as helpful as you thought.  If this is the case, contact the corporate office.  Sometimes sales clerks and managers work together to achieve special bonuses deceptively.


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