Taking Advantage of Department Store Sales
Department Store Sales Tips
Welcome to Part 2 of my economical shopping tips. Today I’ll be talking about how I get the best deals when it comes to shopping in department stores.
How many times have you gone shopping for something in a department store randomly just to browse and maybe discover an item you wanted to buy, or purposely set out to purchase a particular item and perhaps that item wasn’t on sale? Did the fact that it may not have been on sale deter your from buying it? Or do you only wait for sales before you decide to buy? Well today I’m going to share a few smart shopping habits I’ve developed through the years to ensure I’m getting the best price for my purchases.
I’m not going to pretend that I’m the most frugal person on the planet, but when it comes to shopping for fashion and beauty items I don’t appreciate being a ripped off consumer when I purchase something only to find it’s on sale the following day or week. So I feel as though it’s my duty to keep on top of sales.
I do love to shop and keep on top of fashion trends and keep an eye on items that spark my fancy. This may be just window shopping or checking things out online and it doesn’t mean every time I do so I’m buying, but I’m observing and making note of items I may like to purchase if they go on sale. And as it turns out, in most departments stores the likelihood of an item I have my eye on does eventually go on sale.
Department stores such as Macy’s and Lord and Taylor in the U.S. and here in Canada, our Hudson’s Bay (a.k.a. The Bay) use a rotating cycle for their sales. These stores run what’s known as ‘The weekend sale” every weekend, and often other sales are run intermittently such as a flash sale (one day only), holiday sales, seasonal sales, where merchandise maybe be offered from 20 – 40% off for a time limit, as well as bonus sales for members who have and use their loyalty membership card for purchase.
It’s a huge marketing game, and if you keep track of these sales you’ll become more aware of how often the sale prices will rotate on particular items and brands weekly. For example, I love my Hudson’s Bay department store and buy most of my household small appliances, clothing and shoes from there. I have my favorite clothing and shoe brands and I often receive advance sale notice by email offering extra discounts for upcoming sales, or I’ll go to their website anywhere from Thursday night after midnight through Sunday to check out their weekend sale and have a look at the weekly flyer to check if there’s anything I’ve been eyeing that will be on sale.
Every week certain brand items will be on featured sale, offered at anywhere from 25 to 40% off regular price. If something I’ve been keeping an eye on happens to go on sale, I just might be inclined to order it at a tempting price. I’ve come to learn that each weekend sale, a group of clothing brands will be on sale and the following week another group will be on sale, and so on, learning that if an item I’ve been wanting isn’t on sale one week, it will more than likely go on sale the following week or perhaps the week after.
You may be thinking, what if you need that item today or for an upcoming occasion and you don’t want to take a chance that by the time it goes on sale they may be sold out of your size or perhaps completely out of stock. Here’s my advice: Buy it and keep your receipt.
I’ll admit that years ago I used to frown upon chronic ‘returners’ of merchandise until I realized how much money I could save becoming one of those people myself.
Did you know you can return merchandise without returning it to get a rebate? It's called price adjustment. Click To Tweet
- Most stores have a deadline for returning merchandise and limits will vary by store. For the purposes of explaining how it works I’ll talk about The Bay here in Canada. The Bay offers a 30 day return policy for merchandise not purchased with a department store credit card and 90 days returns for those with the card. Of course there are time limit exceptions on bigger ticket item purchases such as furniture, appliances and jewelry where you may only have 2 weeks to a month for returns, but basically, this is a generous amount of time to be able to return items.
- But why would I want to return an item? Here’s the deal – keep that receipt. All merchandise may be ‘price adjusted’ within 7 days of purchase. So let’s say I purchased something at full price (rare, but it happens) and the following weekend it becomes 30 or 40% off. You can count on me doing a price check on an item I recently bought and if it’s on sale the following week, I’ll be dashing to my nearest Bay with my receipt for a price adjustment, money credited back to my account if the item goes on sale within 7 days. I’m not really returning the item but I’ll need my receipt for proof of purchase to credit back the difference to my account. I can pretty much predict that the shirt or pants I purchased the week before not on sale then, will be on sale the following week, and if not, almost certain it will be the following week.
- But what if that item I bought doesn’t go on sale until 2 or 3 weeks later? Let me preface by saying that I do have a knack for knowing what a popular item is and I’m a great predictor of knowing a certain item won’t be around for a long time. Those circumstances may give me reason to purchase at full price because if I wait for a sale they may be sold out. That said, I will purchase the item and not wear it, keeping the tags on awaiting to ‘return’ it. If I anticipate that item I’ve purchased will be on a sale within the next few weeks and the 7 day price adjustment period has passed, and it finally does go on sale, I return it. After the return transaction, I tell the clerk I’d now like to re-purchase that same item. It’s legal and once you’ve returned it for a refund, it automatically goes back on sale for whatever the sale price is that day. Someone’s going to buy it, so why not me rebuying at a better price? The money is better in my pocket right?
- Beware: If you’re a last minute shopper and buy that dress days before the event you want to wear it, if it doesn’t go on sale within 7 days to adjust your receipt and it does the following week after you’ve worn it – tags off – you’ll be out of luck for the return and re-buy.
- Things to keep in mind: If you plan ahead for occasions you know you’ll be needing a new blouse or outfit for eventually and purchase that item in well-planned time, this will give you time to let it stay unworn with tags still on and eligible for it to go on sale before the time comes you have to wear it. Remember, if you’re going to do a return, the tags must still be attached to the merchandise and not worn. This is why it pays to plan ahead and purchase ahead of time for upcoming events.
If you can wait for an item to go on sale, do so.
If you can’t wait and purchase an item, make sure to check the following weekend sale to see if your purchased item is on sale to obtain a price adjustment.
If you buy something you love not on sale try not to wear the item for a week or two to see if it goes on sale so you can return and re-purchase.
For items you know you will be needing, such as a dress for a special occasion, buy it within the month in advance of the event even if it’s not on sale and most likely before the month passes it will go on sale where you can return and re-buy it.