7 Retail Tricks That Cost You Money

retail tricks

No matter how friendly or clever their advertising makes them seem, retailers are in business to make money. The best do it by offering fair deals to return customers, but many use psychology and outright deceit to maximize how much you pay. The next time you go shopping, stay alert for these seven tricks of this particular trade.

1. Left-Digit Pricing

There’s a reason prices are almost always $8.97 instead of $9.00. We read from left to right, and your mind figures in only the leftmost digits — even though you know better. That extra few cents might not seem like much, but could mean that a 100-item trip to the grocery store costs you $100 more than you thought.

Best defense: create a habit of looking at all digits when comparing prices.

2. Bulk Packaging

This is actually two tricks in one. Bulk packaging often means buying more items than you need, under the mistaken belief that it saves you money. The other trick is to offer bulk packages at a higher per-unit price than smaller quantities.

Best defense: buy just what you need. If a bulk deal is an unbeatable price, pool resources with friends.

3. That Darn Impulse Aisle

The bane of parents shopping with children everywhere, the impulse aisle tricks you into buying extra by putting “shiny objects” where you’re most likely to see them and give in to temptation.

Best defense: shop with a list and buy only the items you’ve listed.

4. The Turnover

This is a high-pressure sales tactic where a salesperson responds to a “no” by getting somebody higher in the food chain who might be able to “approve a better deal.” This isn’t special treatment, but more often, standard procedure. In many shops, the person you’re turned over to will just be another salesperson.

Best defense: leave the store while the rep is getting the new person.

5. The Freebie

Buy one, get one free is a good deal if you need at least one of the objects you’re buying. In most cases, though, it’s another version of bulk packaging — a way to trick you into buying something you don’t need.

Best defense: shop with a list and buy only the items you’ve listed.

6. The Package

When you go in to buy that plasma TV on super-duper-sale, the staff is going to suggest connection cables, an amplifier and a bottle of screen cleaner. Those other items won’t be discounted like your main purchase, and might be marked up to a premium for maximum profits.

Best defense: research prices online before going in to make your purchase. Buy only the parts of the package that actually save you money.

7. Extended Warranties

When was the last time you bought a car, appliance or electronics without being offered one of these? Though they may be useful in some limited circumstances, they’re really one of the worst insurance deals you can buy — and almost never worth the money.

Best defense: keep enough cash reserves to replace high-ticket items if they break.

Have you ever been taken by any of these retail tricks? Tell us your experience in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit: andrewarchy

  • waterdancer33823

    I bought an extended warranty from americian guardian, (cost me $1,300.00, I thought I was covered for any major repairs) . A ford f350 diesel, after the factory warranty went out the injectors went out I called the warranty company & was informed that they only cover lubicated parts in the engine, I argued with them ttelling them what do you think injectors do they inject fuel in the engine, they wouldn’ pay for it cost me over $1,500.1 week later the high volume oil pump went out, I went though the same thing with them, the ford dealer called up there to tell them what a high volume oil pump does, he got the same answers from them, cost me $1800. I got rid of the truck. POINT IS DON’T PURCHASE AN WARRANTY FROM AMERICAN GUARDIAN

  • Rajamani Thialan

    So you have to stick to a list and buy what you need.