Top Retail Tricks and Tactics

As we head deeper into the holiday shopping season, the fight for your money is getting fiercer.  Retailers are battling for every buck.  And many of them are using some old tricks and tactics to do it.  (Note to self:  Be kind.  Retailers are television stations’ bread and butter.) asked its readers to give the tricks of the retail trade they find most annoying.  They came up with 15 of them, including the Bait-and-Switch (“I’m so sorry, we’re out of that cheaper advertised item, but we’ll gladly sell you this more expensive one”),  and Up-selling at the Register (“You also need our credit card, the extended warranty, the apple pie with that fast-food order, and you probably want to add a donation to charity to top it off.”)  All sound familiar?  Here’s one of my all-time favorites from DailyFinance:

Mispriced Items
Readers say they frequently find that the price listed on the shelf — or even on the item itself — is lower than the price rung up at the register. Many think stores do this on purpose, hoping customers won’t notice or bother to complain. “I want it at the cost that was marked,” says one reader. “Get the manager.”

The other day I was at one of those big chain grocery stores getting a big bag of dog food for our labs.  It was three bucks off on the shelf, but at check-out it rang up at regular price.  I told the clerk I thought it was cheaper.  He said “How much?”  “About three dollars,” I replied. “Okay.” And he took three dollars off my bill, just like that, without checking.  I told him I should have said ten dollars.  Three dollars is no big deal to a big chain because they probably make it up with the majority of customers who miss it and overpay.

Another annoying tactic used to bug me more when I had young kids:

Putting Items Coveted by Children Near the Checkout
It’s not only parents who hate this tactic. All shoppers have to hear small children cry and beg for items near the checkout that parents don’t want to waste money on. Frequently they give in, to stop the embarrassing wails. Complains one parent: “Even if you manage to avoid the toy section while shopping with your children, they still manage to see something that they will want and throw a fit over not getting before you manage to get them out of the store.”

That one used to cost me quite a few candy bars at check-out.  That’s cheap compared to what my teenagers are hitting me up for now.

Click here for’s “Retailers’ 15 Most Annoying Habits”

One Comment on “Top Retail Tricks and Tactics

  1. Just say no. Don’t you remember when you were a kid? You lived.

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