Power up your sales
It's your first
visit to Dotty Dinah's Discounteria, and you've struck major pay dirt. Your two
favorite brands of control-top pantyhose -- Gird Your Loins and Yank 'n' Yip --
are here, marked down to $1.99 per pair.
Thing is, the
Girds are marked "irregulars," and the Yanks "seconds." At
this price, you don't mind a little imperfection; you'd just like to know which
is the least seriously flawed and the better deal.
Or perhaps you're
a guy who's stumbled across a display of "special purchase" Hubba-Bubba
boxer shorts. Is it special for me or for the store?
felt similarly clueless at times, welcome to the club! Fact is too many terms
of the trade are never explained, and consumers often wind up going for broke
on items that, to add insult to injury, are likely to be unreturnable.
knowledge is power, and an informed consumer is less likely to spend superfluously
or to be bamboozled, we offer this glossary of sales lingo.
or imperfects: These two terms are interchangeable, and denote goods that
don't meet the manufacturer's standards for quality. However, their imperfections
in color or construction -- a not quite perfectly matched seam in an undergarment,
for example -- are almost always too trivial to be noticed, or to affect wear
that is more extensively or apparently flawed than irregulars and imperfects and
should be more deeply discounted; at least upwards of 50 percent.
price: The price established by the manufacturer. Don't be overly impressed
with stores that price items below list, since doing so is an exceedingly common
practice. Hold your applause until you see hefty double-digit discounts.
value $ ... : What the retailer considers the merchandise to be worth.
This does not mean the item ever did, or ever will, sell at that price. All in
all, this is a comparatively unscientific term and shouldn't bedazzle you.
outlet: This type of establishment sells merchandise directly from the
maker to you. Prices are generally well below normal retail, because any costly
middleman has been eliminated. Styles may not always be hot off the runway, but
this is a trivial consideration to the many canny consumers who flood outlets.
purchase: Items that were purchased in substantial quantity by the retailer
from the manufacturer for a discounted price -- with at least some of the savings
passed along to shoppers.
sale: Now we're talking extreme savings. A liquidation sale is generally
held by a store going out of business in order to completely unload stock. Discounts
often start at about 30 percent and go up to 75 percent and more, as the store
counts down its final days. Note: Various state and local laws may regulate going-out-of-business
sales. For example, there can be a limit as to how long a store may lawfully hold
such a sale. If you're thinking of taking advantage of a local business' "Everything
must go!" sale, and the store's been "going" for about 10 years,
you might want to think again.
sale: Another potential for major savings. In this case, the retailer gets
a deal from the manufacturer on discontinued items, and passes some of the savings
on to consumers.
Clearance sale: Generally
signals a retailer's need to "move" one season's merchandise to make
room for the next. Savings, which can range from moderate to significant, will
usually reflect how much unsold merchandise the retailer needs to move out --
and how quickly.
Sample sale: Nope,
sorry, you can't get any samples here! However, you can easily score savings of
50 percent or more on fashions that designers used for showroom exhibit. The sales
are often held at these showrooms.
models: These aren't mannequins lying down on the job. The grittier reality
is that these are items that were used for retail display or demonstrations --
and while they may be none the worse for wear, they are, or should be, marked
down. Depending on condition, discounts can range from 10 percent to the-sky's-the-limit.
(If you're aware that a purchase you're considering is a retired floor model and
you're not offered a reduction -- speak up!)
Don't be fooled that a store offering two items for $10 means you can purchase
one for $5. Often there is a premium for just getting one -- so ask before you
shell out. And don't fall into the trap of buying more than you need to take advantage
of a twofer sale. Anything you really don't need is no bargain at all.
musical mystery "2": This number imprinted on the back of a guitar means
there's a slight blemish in the wood that shouldn't affect performance. It also
means savings of about 15 to 20 percent.