The local Kmart in our community is closing down and this weekend they started clearance sales to reduce their inventory. On Sunday I took the family to the clearance sales in hopes of finding some great steals on clothing. We were excited because we had already set cash aside for clothing purchases and we were ready to buy without guilt. Boy were we disappointed. We were overwhelmed by the traffic there, but underwhelmed by the deals.
We expected to see 30% to 40% off sales in an effort to clear out inventory quickly. That’s not what we experienced. They had everything in the store on sale at 10% to 30% off. Most of the items I looked at were 20% off. Sounds like a good deal, right? Well, here’s the problem I had: Not only was the selection pretty slim pickings (which I expected in a closeout sale), but the prices were too high. Yes, you read that right. Even on sale their prices were too high. I looked at pants, shirts, winter coats, and more but I didn’t find anything worth buying.
I consulted with my wife just to make sure I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t. Almost everything we looked at was more expensive (even at the sale price) than the normal prices at Walmart. And I had just bought some shirts at Kohls the previous day on clearance for a lot cheaper price than anything on the racks at Kmart. There was nothing at Kmart worth me paying more than I could pay somewhere else. One could argue that the quality is better at Kmart and therefore demands a higher price, but this is Kmart so I really don’t think that argument flies a whole lot here.
But why was I the only one walking out of the store empty handed? The aisles were packed with deal-seekers loading up their carts on everything they needed just because the signs said “Sale”. At least that’s how it looked to this casual observer. I think way too many of us just look at something and accept that because it’s on sale it’s a good deal. It’s our responsibility as consumers to do the research on this and make sure we really are getting a good deal. Think before you buy.