Service of Discounts II

January 18th, 2021

Categories: Bait and Switch, Cheating, Discounts, Retail, Sales

I’m a lifelong discount shopper and I love sales.  I wrote about false advertising six years ago and a year before about a restaurant sued by an anti-religion group because it offered a discount to those who said grace before eating. Bait and switch irritates me most.

In the days I bought shirts for my husband at a well known haberdashery I was fooled year after year by signs in the window touting a 50 percent discount. You learned inside that you had to buy three shirts for the discount to kick in. I’d always hoped that they’d stop the shenanigans.

Photo: pinterest

The words “UP TO” hidden in mouse type–in emails and online as well–get me too. It would take crack FBI detectives to find the one reduced item at “up to 70 percent off” usually available only in size extra small. Why not offer a generous 30 or 40 percent to all discounted items?

I ordered stationery online from a small company. The sponsored Facebook posting that caught my eye offered a 15 percent discount [they rarely if ever discount] and once on the site I responded to a request for my mobile phone number so they could send me texts. For this information they offered a 20 percent discount. I hesitated buying anything when I saw the total and I left the site. In an email, they offered me $5.00 to place an order.

But I got no discounts when I finally placed the order so I immediately wrote customer service–it was New Years weekend–and heard back promptly on the first business day. Meanwhile they had shipped my order. Customer service agreed to return 15 percent to my credit card in spite of my reminding the clerk about the 20 percent and the $5. I love the cards–I’ve bought from them before in person and online usually at full price–but will think 20 times before ordering again.

Are there discount practices that irk you? What percentage do you think is enough to move you to consider buying an item on sale–20? 30? 40? 70? Have you avoided retailers or manufacturers because you felt flimflammed by their sales practices?

12 Responses to “Service of Discounts II”

  1. ASK Said:

    When it comes to women’s clothing, it’s been my experience that a really big discount like 70% means fewer sizes, maybe lan XXS or XXL!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    True! And shoes size 5 or 12 narrow.

    I discovered a woman’s clothing brand via a Facebook sponsored ad. I fiddled for too long when they announced a sale so only small or extra small sizes remain. But what gets me they keep promoting their sale saying new things added when that does not seem to be accurate!! Perhaps they included a style that wasn’t there before but I don’t have the patience. I looked one extra time to see if they added sizes to items I admired—that’s it.

  3. Moustapha Bin As-Lip Said:

    I hear ya! And somehow when you do get the full promised 70% off on clothing, there is always a catch you dont find out about till you start to wear it.

    Like the zip on the 70% off thawb trousers which starts to rust and comes flying open at suave Algerian embassy cocktail parties! Who thinks, when they have successfully negotiated 70% off, to keep carrying a spare pair to complement the thawb and obviate the ridicule? And to add to the embarrassment, when I complained, the famed Ali-Baba salesman said if I had checked the small print I would have seen that I needed to keep wearing it in the dry heat of a desert and it was their budget model which clearly wasn’t designed to be worn in New York’s damp climate. So in my case I can only wear it if posted to Nevada. Where we dont even have a consulate!

    After that I didnt dare complain about my wife’s 70% off (last year’s) supposed Yves Al-Laurent designer chador which was made of such cheap material that every time she moves her left leg, the niquab flexes and covers her eyes, causing her to bump into things or fall over loose stools!

    There, I SHOULD have fiddled a bit more before ordering if there was a chance I might have missed it!

  4. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: The false advertising method is disheartening. We are fooled into thinking we are getting a deal.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    That “up to” is truthful in a round about way, so it can’t be taken to court. My idea of a sale starts at 40%. For some obscure reason, the really good stuff goes for more. Sometimes one must wait for prices to lower, but most of the time they do. Patience is key.

    I also enjoy haggling. My record: 90% off on W. 57th Street. It’s both rewarding and fun!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I detect a bit of tongue in cheek but I get your point. You may be off paying full price especially for a chador!

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    If you know the retailer and the quality of goods you are less likely to be fleeced although you might not be able to take advantage of a sale to get something in your size. That’s why I do better at discount stores where I’m paying a price I can afford to begin with.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    CVS offers 40 percent on one item on occasion. I always take advantage of those coupons. The 30 or 25 percent off on all purchases at one time is also pretty good.

    The reason the “good stuff” goes for more I suspect is because people are willing to pay full price so that the retailer doesn’t need to discount it. Trouble is by waiting you might end up with what ASK described above: only sizes extra small or extra large.

  9. JBG Said:

    No retail prices these days are “real.” What you pay for something is the “real retail price.”

    I bought a winter jacket at an online sale and paid $59. There was a tag on it that said $295.It was too small so I returned it to a store and the clerk ordered one in my size. The tag on that one was $109.

    $59 was the real price.

    Starting in the 1960s or 1970s customers were only happy if they bought something at a discounted price. It wasn’t always like this.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You’re right. In the day parents would wait until after Christmas to buy their kids a new winter coat as only then did they go on sale. Same with white goods–sheets and towels. They went on sale in January. Otherwise there were no sales.

  11. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: agree – I have been very successful at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s outside NYC (Albany & Hyannis) however shopping is a form of education. Occasionally I walk thru Bloomingdale’s 4th floor designers to see what is coming for the lower price point interpretations.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I thrived on the TJ Maxx in Poughkeepsie when I lived in Dutchess County. The out of town branches are definitely best. In Manhattan a lot of the merchandise appears picked over. You still can’t beat their prices for wrapping paper and gift bags.

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