Sunday, September 17, 2006


It’s Saturday. You got the sale circular in your newspaper, or in the mail. Since you got it today, the sale must start today, right?

Not exactly. Sales run Sunday to Saturday. If it’s in the ad, it won’t go on sale until Sunday. The dates of the sale are on the back of the circular, if you’re not sure.

But to be fair, what you call a “sale” actually encompasses several things. There are actual sales; they are usually what are in the ad. Sometimes there are a few things that don’t make it into the ad; sometimes, a few things in the ad fall into other categories. But generally, “in the ad” equals “on sale.”

Something else that shows up in the ad is the “Low Price.” That tends to be our normal price; we’re just bragging that we sell it for less than the other guys. Often, that’s not even the case – our “Low Price” is the same as Wal-Mart’s or Best Buy’s, at least within a few dollars. Hold out for a sale if you can.

“Price Cuts” are like sales, but they last longer. The item might be marked down for as much as a month, but it’s going back up at the end of that period. If there’s a sign on the shelf bragging about a “Price Cut,” check the date – sometimes, someone forgets to take them down, and then I get yelled at. I don’t know why; I’ve never set a sale price in my life.

Then, there’s “Clearance.” Clearance items have those little reddish tags on them. Clearance items are priced as marked; if the item is 25% off and the tag reads “$9,” it costs $9 and originally cost $12. See how that works? Clearance stickers usually have the original price, the percent discount, the current price, and the DPCI (item number) on them – so we know when a sticker has been scraped off one item and stuck to another.

Sometimes, two similar-looking items will be different prices. Sometimes, the wood-stained furniture is on sale, but the white-painted furniture isn’t. I can’t mark down the white furniture for you, because it’s not an error; the ad specifically says “wood-stained,” and that’s all there is to it. Sometimes, the black shoes are clearanced out but the brown ones are not. This means that the brown shoes still sell well, but no one is buying the brown ones. I can’t give you the brown shoes at the clearance price. Sometimes, an item is on clearance at one store but not another. That means that one store sells it well and the other doesn’t. That’s just how it is.

We only give rain checks for sale items. If it is in the sale circular, and it is not a seasonal, Low Price, or clearance item, we give rain checks. Otherwise, we don’t.

But the story of rain checks will have to wait until some other time.

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