Shopper Calls Out Company that Offers Fake “50% off” Sales

Have you ever walked into a store, seen a “50% off” tag, and thought you were getting a great deal? Think again. The world of retail pricing is more intricate than it appears, and sometimes, those discounts aren’t as genuine as they seem.

You might think you are getting the best deal, but clever pricing tactics could also deceive you. Here are some of the tactics behind retail pricing and how to ensure you’re not overpaying.

The Nordstrom Rack Pricing Mystery

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Nordstrom Rack, a popular retail store, has been under scrutiny by some shoppers. One shopper noticed discrepancies in the pricing of certain items.

They observed that some items had a red tag sticker indicating a higher price than the original and then setting a slightly lower number to make it seem like you’re getting a bigger discount.

The Business Model of Deception

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“Seems like cheating customers is now a business model.”

In today’s competitive market, businesses constantly look for ways to attract customers.

One common strategy is to offer discounts. However, as many people pointed out, these discounts can sometimes be misleading.

The Reality of “Original Prices”

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Another alarming trend is the inflation of “original prices” to make discounts seem more significant than they are.

For instance, an item might be marked as 50% off from its “original price,” but a quick check on its price history might reveal that it was never sold at that “original price” to begin with.

Fictitious Pricing

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Research by Harvard professor David Ngwe points out that some retailers use “fictitious pricing.” This tactic involves listing an original price that doesn’t genuinely reflect prior selling prices.

The motivation behind this is to create a perception of value, even if it’s misleading. Ngwe’s research indicates that such pricing strategies can significantly influence consumer behaviors, making products with higher original prices appear more desirable.

Sales vs. Deals: The Wirecutter Perspective

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The New York Times Wirecutter differentiates between sales and honest deals. While sales are everywhere, often promising massive discounts, it’s challenging for shoppers to discern if these are genuine deals or just marketing gimmicks.

Retailers usually frame discounts in ways that make them seem larger than they are, playing on the psychology of pricing. For instance, prices ending in .99 or .95 are designed to make items appear cheaper than they are.

The Power of Perception

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When a retailer presents a product as discounted, it alters shopping behaviors. Evidence suggests that when major chain stores have tried ending a “sale” and offering the same item at an everyday low price, purchase numbers have dropped, even if the “sale” and regular prices were identical.

This shows the power of perceived value in influencing consumer decisions.

The Tactics Behind Pricing

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Discounts create a sense of urgency in shoppers, leading to the fear of missing out (FOMO). Sellers often present discounts in ways that make them seem larger.

For example, items under $100 might be presented with a percentage off, while items over $100 might show a dollar amount off. This framing is designed to make discounts appear more significant, even if they aren’t.

Protecting Yourself as a Consumer

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In today’s digital age, where discounts and deals are just a click away, it’s more crucial than ever to be an informed consumer. Here’s a detailed guide on how to protect yourself from deceptive pricing tactics:

1. Research Before Buying

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When considering a purchase, especially for significant items, comparing prices across multiple retailers is essential. This ensures that you’re getting the best possible deal for your money. Numerous websites and apps dedicated to price comparison can assist you in this endeavor.

Additionally, for platforms like Amazon, tools such as CamelCamelCamel can provide invaluable insights into a product’s price history. This allows you to determine if the current price is genuinely a good deal or if the item often goes on sale.

2. Assess Product Worth

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Instead of merely getting swayed by large discounts or flashy sales, consider the actual value the product will bring to your life. Is it an item you genuinely need? Will you use it frequently enough to justify the cost? Another crucial aspect to consider is the product’s lifespan.

Sometimes, an item that’s slightly more expensive but known for its durability and longevity might offer better overall value than a cheaper alternative that might wear out or break down quickly.

3. Review Policies

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Before finalizing any purchase, especially online, always familiarize yourself with the retailer’s return and exchange policy. Some items, particularly those on significant discounts, might come with a “no return” policy, or the window for returns and exchanges might be shorter than usual.

Another factor to consider is shipping costs. While a product might seem like a steal due to a hefty discount, high shipping fees can offset your savings. It’s always a good idea to be aware of any additional costs before clicking that ‘buy’ button.

4. Read the Fine Print

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Sales and discounts often come with their own set of conditions and exclusions. It’s not uncommon for some sales to exclude certain popular or flagship items. Ensure that the product you’re interested in is actually part of the sale.

Additionally, be aware of the sale’s validity. Some discounts are only valid for a specific duration or until stocks last. There might also be conditions attached to the sale, such as “Buy one, get one free” or “Spend $50 and get $10 off.”

While these might seem like great deals on the surface, it’s essential to ensure you’re genuinely benefiting from the offer and not just spending more to save a little.

More from Viral Chatter

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Image Credit: Victoria Chudinova/Shutterstock.

Ever found yourself puzzled by the ever-evolving world of fashion? Do you find yourself scratching your head at some of the latest trends?

From perpetually surprised eyebrows to sagging pants, fashion trends can often leave us scratching our heads in confusion.

Let’s explore seven of these perplexing trends.

“I Am in Dress Code… but Men Keep Looking” Costco Employee Body Shamed in Workplace

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Image Credit: Tik Tok / isha.mason.

In recent times, social media platforms have become a space for employees to share their workplace experiences, both positive and negative. While some highlight the perks of their jobs, others use the platform to voice their grievances with superiors and colleagues.

A concerning trend is employees documenting their encounters with HR over their clothing choices. One such incident involves a Costco employee who faced criticism not for her attire but for how her body looked.


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This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.