Buyers Beware – You are being Tricked


July 22, 2008   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

I am not sure why but the movie Easy Money is an old time favorite of mine. In one scene, Rodney Dangerfield and his buddy are in a retail store and when the clerk tries to assist him, his response (said in a way you have to see to appreciate) is a crude, “I am just browsing”.

Back then, this may have worked and for those with strong self control, it still may. However, new studies (there are always studies) show that humans are pretty darn gullible and that retail stores know it. In fact, they do anything possible to take advantage of our natural desire to simple want more.

LiveScience reports a new study shows that:

…happiness with a purchase depends on the choices that were available on a store shelf and how the items were presented.

Think about this for a second. Happiness is not judged by the value of the item, the necessity of the item in your life, or sentimental value; it’s judged by presentation, perception, and perhaps how the item was displayed versus competing items.

After analysis and study, the conclusion states the following:

  • Researchers have known empirically for more than 20 years a “50% off” sign leads consumers to assume a price is attractive, even if they have no knowledge of the original price or reasonable prices for that product.
  • Studies have also shown that frequent but modest discounts – such as the constant sales at a car dealership – lead to perceptions of greater value than less frequent but deeper discounts.
  • When math is involved, most of us can’t cope. For example: See if you can calculate the total savings in the setup: 20 percent off the original price plus an additional 25 percent off the sale price. How much is that item marked down? If you said 45 percent off, then your math skills are as pitiful as the 85 percent of college students who also got this wrong in a study last year by researchers at the University of Miami and the University of Minnesota. The right answer: 40 percent off.

There are several other con jobs that the article reveals. My question to you is this: Are you a gullible sheep or are you someone that can identify con jobs? In the end, everyone wants the green and only the smart will survive without tapping their home’s equity, savings accounts or emergency funds. What camp do you fall into?

To read the remainder of article, take a peak at Buyer Beware: The Many Ways Retailers Can Trick You.

Jay White


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