Angus McGuigan’s Top Five List of the World’s Worst Furniture Ads
1. “Discounts up to 80% Off our Regular Price”
You gotta be kiddin’! First, try and find the one or two items in the whole store marked 80% off. Remember they say “up to” which means most items will be discounted less. The store is NOT losing money on their sale (no matter what they might claim), so do the math. If they buy a chair for $200 and mark it up 100% the price will be $400. If they offer a sale price of 50% off the new price would be $200. They will go broke selling their product at 0 profit. To offer 50% off and still make a modest profit, they will have to mark it up 400% to $800. Then the sale price will be $400 and they will make their normal profit (after freight and overhead is subtracted). To actually offer 80% off they will need to mark the $200 item up to $2000 in order to arrive at a sale price of $400. If they are truly and sincerely serious about selling it at no profit just to get it gone they would have to start with a selling price of $1000, a price that is still obviously way more than the item is worth. So take it from ole Angus. If it looks too good to be true, ask the Missus. If there be anything tighter than an old Scotsman, it be his Missus.
2. “Closing Out” and “Inventory Clearout” sales that last 3 and a half years.
Just another strategy for pulling the wool over the poor ole consumer’s eyes. Prices at these stores are similar to prices at other stores selling similar products at “regular” prices. In fact, many stores that use the “closing out” approach actually raise their prices to begin with so that it will appear as though there is a reduction in the latter days of the sales. If they ever get there.
3. The Old “Get Something Free with the Purchase of a New Watchamacallit” ad.
The “Free TV With the Purchase of this $500 Sofa” sales pitch is not only older than my Grandmother’s false teeth, it’s downright demeaning to that poor sofa, not to mention the TV. The quality suggested here is a tad questionable at best. You can rent a TV and sofa for the hockey finals for less money and a longer life span. And beware of the “Free Trip” to Vegas.
4. The closely related “$500 for the chair if you buy the rest of the set at the regular price” ad.
Great price for the chair if that is all you need, but do you really want the sofa and loveseat? At that price? Once again, do the math, if the total price of all three pieces (4 if they show an ottoman) is close to a competitor’s regular price, are you really saving anything? It’s kinda like 2 for 1 pizza. If the 8″ nooner is $8, does it make any sense that the slightly larger 10″ pizza is $17.95? And by the time you are done adding the onions, tomatoes, and the extra cheese you should get a second pizza for the $24.00 you just spent.
5. The “Boxing Day/Week/Month” sales that become the “Valentine’s Day Sale” that become the “Easter Day/Week/Month” sales that becomes the “you get the idea” sale.
All these “special event” sales that roll one into the other like clockwork year after year are modelled after the approach used by the automotive and electronics industries for years and have all but lost their effectiveness. It does wonders for the advertising industry and supports many media outlets and the internet, but it doesn’t do a single thing for the average customer trying to buy quality furniture at a fair price. Stay tuned for Angus’s Top 5 Ways of Saving Money Buying Quality Furniture.