Holiday shoppers beware: Those sales may be too good to be true

Posted at 3:43 PM, Nov 09, 2018

‘Tis the season to shop! With the holidays around the corner, stores will be offering sales and discounts. Many of them may appear too good to be true. Well, most of them are, and if you’re a shopper who isn’t great at math, you may fall for the advertised sales.

More than 70 percent of shoppers reportedly can't do the math when it comes to finding out how much the item will end up costing them.  

If math isn’t confusing enough, stores have another discount trick up their sleeve. It’s known as “price framing,” and stores have been doing this for years. 

Here's a trickier scenario seen a lot: there are two price options for a top-of-the-line item and a generic one.  

Let’s take a blender, for example. Top-of-the-line usually cost about $120, but it’s on sale for $110. The generic usually cost $20, and now it's on sale for $10.

Which one is the better deal? Most shoppers may think the 50 percent discount on the generic option is the best deal.  

However, it's all psychological. The store wants you to think the second option is a better deal, but in actuality, no matter which one you buy, you ultimately save the same: $10.   

Price framing is everywhere. Airlines do it, as well as cell phone carriers and car dealerships.  

Just because an item appears to be on sale for a great deal, it doesn’t mean it’s truly a bargain.