Have you ever paid “regular price” for anything? If so, you’re a sucker – and well, I guess that makes me a sucker too.

What is regular price? Well, it’s whatever price a retail store decides to stick on a product at any given time. Sure manufacturers set the MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price) but stores are under no obligation to meet this price – it’s only meant as a guide.

You have to love the fact that just before a sale, the regular price seems to magically increase to make the sale price look better. When I was doing my Christmas shopping, one of the gifts I bought my wife was a new waterproof digital camera (The Olympus 850). The price has come down a ton since I first saw it about a year ago. Regular price last week at Future shop was $229. In their ad a week later they had it on sale for $199, BUT they also say “Save $50”. Last time I checked, that was actually a difference of $30, not $50.

Now if you called them on it, they may say, it was a flyer typo or something, but I have seen this happen time and time again, make the sale look better than it is by raising the regular price so people will be more likely to buy it. To me that equals a big time scam, and I am not so sure its legal.

(For the record I went to Walmart to buy it and they matched the Future Shop price – I hate Walmart, but I hate FutureShop more. I like London drugs (sometimes), but they wouldn’t match the price cause I wanted the orange camera and the one in the ad was black – Walmart didn’t care about the color).

Never, ever, buy anything that is not on sale, unless you desperately need it. Sales are stupid these days, they don’t make sense. Everything comes on sale at least once a month – what’s the point? All it does it cause us consumers to have no understanding of what regular price really is. If you pay regular price on anything, you’re getting ripped off because in a couple weeks it will be on sale again.

I have seen cases where the “sale” price is actually the MSRP – what’s up with that? Or better yet, the sale price is some stupid amount, say 5%, or 10%. Ten percent? That’s the best you can do? I can get 10% off just about anything at any time. Several years ago I used to work at Office Depot. Management gave us the authority to take 10% off the price of any item (some exceptions) for anyone, for just about any reason. If a customer walked in and wanted to buy a monitor but seemed unsure on the price, you could drop it 10% just like that. I can only assume that many other retail outlets have this authority given to their employees – and if they don’t, I can pretty much guarantee that management could drop the price for you.

Sure you’d have to take the effort to ask, but the mere fact that you can get it any time shows that the 10% “sale” price is not really a sale now is it. Give us a real sale, give us 50% off, or we’ll go to the store that will. It’s a recession people, these businesses will take just about any offer providing it is high enough for them to still turn a profit. If you walk they make nothing, if they drop the price, they make something.

I would be tempted to just move out to the woods in some secluded cabin with no contact with the outside world, hunting for my food, and burning wood to cook and keep warm. The problem is I like my stuff, I like my technology, and I like my modern conveniences. I guess I, along with everyone else living in the modern world, am prisoner to these retail stores and will be for the rest of my life.

BTW, Incase you are interested, this blog post was inspired by the photo below posted over at FailBlog.
Sale Fail