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Old 20 August 2009, 03:52 AM
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Icon02 Outlet stores are scams

Comment: My boyfriend recently told me something that may be of interest to you.
I had mentioned to him that I like to shop at outlet malls/stores because
of the low prices. He had told me that he heard that outlet stores are a
scam. He said that consumers are made to believe that they are getting a
deal by buying their favorite brands on discount. But in actuality the
clothing/items in the outlets were NOT the same as the items sold in the
regularly priced, non-outlet store like the consumer is made to think. He
said that stores just remake the same clothing design in cheaper fabrics
and sell it at a discount. That way consumers believe they are getting a
deal but really they are buying a cheaper version of the store's designs.
Is that true?
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Old 20 August 2009, 11:17 AM
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It's not true of the Old Navy outlet I regularly visit, they have the exact same clothing as is available in my local store, and often have better sale prices on that clothing. The "scam" of many outlet stores, as far as I can tell from shopping in quite a few of them is that much of the store is not outlet merchandise (ie stuff from last season collected from many retail stores to the outlet then sold at a discount) but regular merchandise (in season things, not sold at any discount compared to retail). The shopper has the illusion that they are saving money because it's an outlet, and thus may purchase more than they would at a retail store, even though they are actually paying the same prices.

Actually, outlets of manufacturers that don't have their own retail chain often charge more than if you were to buy the same merchandise through someplace such as Target. I discovered that with the Pyrex outlet.

Many outlets, though, really are just a conglomeration of prior seasons' items, pulled from retail stores nationwide, available at a discount from their original prices. Sort of a place to offer an extended clearance sale of whatever is left over.
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Old 20 August 2009, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
Many outlets, though, really are just a conglomeration of prior seasons' items, pulled from retail stores nationwide, available at a discount from their original prices. Sort of a place to offer an extended clearance sale of whatever is left over.
Yes. This is the case with the Lucky Brand outlets, for example, as well as the Saks Fifth Avenue ("Off Fifth") and Nordstrom ("Nordstrom Rack") outlets. It's basically stuff that's 1-2 years old. If they can't clear it out by then, it goes to a place like Loehmann's, which sells older stuff at a steeper discount.

To me, the scammish practice is the "factory store," which stores like The Gap and Banana Republic employ. That's what the OP describes. Walk into a Brooks Brothers Factory Store, and you can immediately tell that it isn't the same quality that you'd find in a regular Brooks Brothers store. Same goes for Banana Republic and The Gap. To their credit Gap Stores isn't secretive about it. There was a special on outlet malls on one of the Discovery-type channels, and one of the people in charge of the Factory Stores at the corporate level explained the whole thing.

There's a real Brooks Brothers outlet about 100 miles away, in a tiny town called Garland. It's not listed in the phone book as "Brooks Brothers," and the store itself is kind of dumpy. But my goodness, they sell real Brooks Brothers stuff - most first quality, but some seconds as well - at absolutely preposterous prices. The last time I was there, I left with two giant shopping bags filled with stuff (including a really nice, heavy barn jacket and wool sweater) for $250.
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Old 20 August 2009, 03:38 PM
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Don't some outlets sell "mistakes" too? Like a batch of jeans has the stitching in the wrong color or the seams are exactly straight so they go right to the outlet.
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Old 20 August 2009, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCIAG View Post
Don't some outlets sell "mistakes" too? Like a batch of jeans has the stitching in the wrong color or the seams are exactly straight so they go right to the outlet.
We used to have an Old Navy Outlet that did. They were usually labels on the items saying what was wrong with them. They were quite a bit cheaper too, and generally "mistakes" of items currently in the store. Then they closed the outlet and 3 other stores and opened a big one in Evergreen Walk.
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Old 20 August 2009, 03:48 PM
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The last time I went to an outlets store was for cooking ware. The signs inside the store let you know that the merchandise was rejects, returns or last of production line. The rejects and returns were labeled as to why. The last of a line was stacked in one area with a sign that let you know this is all there was.

I was just married at the time a need a few cheap pot and pans. What do I care if it was rejected for bad colo,r if it will not match anything I already have and it is %60 off. I may be more expensive than that I find in Wal-Mart, but it is better quality. It will also be a lot cheaper than same thing in a department store.
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Old 20 August 2009, 03:50 PM
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Shifty Eyes How Outlet Malls Have Convinced Shoppers into Thinking They're Getting a Sweet Deal

Are America's 55 million outlet shoppers scoring great deals on expensive brandname products, or getting less than they're bargaining for?

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/14..._a_sweet_deal/
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Old 20 August 2009, 05:09 PM
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Interesting article.

I've always thought that some things that are on sale aren't really on sale, that the other items are just overinflated so that the "sale" items appear cheaper.
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Old 20 August 2009, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
I've always thought that some things that are on sale aren't really on sale, that the other items are just overinflated so that the "sale" items appear cheaper.
I bought some bandannas at Wal-Mart a few months ago. They were all tagged with their red clearance stickers for $1.00. Not bad, so I bought five of them. I got home and peeled the clearance stickers off the tags. Original price? $.97. I took them all back to the store and got my money back. It only worked out to be 15 cents that they got me for, but still. 15 cents multiplied by millions of customers? They're making out like the bandits they are!
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Old 20 August 2009, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randa Roo View Post
I bought some bandannas at Wal-Mart a few months ago. They were all tagged with their red clearance stickers for $1.00. Not bad, so I bought five of them. I got home and peeled the clearance stickers off the tags. Original price? $.97.
That's just wrong.

I usually try to peel back the stickers before buying because I've seen things like that before. And I like to know what it really cost before they marked it down.
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Old 20 August 2009, 06:47 PM
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I was in Wal-mart not too long ago and saw a dispaly "Unbeatable: Pepsi 6-pack, 4 for $6.99." The next shelf over had 4-packs of Pepsi for $1.00, no sale or clearance tags present. I guess price was beatable.

Of course, working in retail for years, I learned that people don't generally ask too many questions. If an item is moving slowly or you wind up overstocked for whatever reason, stack it high and put a "Manager's Special," "Clearance" or "Overstocked" sign on it. Even at full MSRP, the stack will disappear in short order. Why would there be a sign if it wasn't a good deal?
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Old 20 August 2009, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
It's not true of the Old Navy outlet I regularly visit, they have the exact same clothing as is available in my local store, and often have better sale prices on that clothing. The "scam" of many outlet stores, as far as I can tell from shopping in quite a few of them is that much of the store is not outlet merchandise (ie stuff from last season collected from many retail stores to the outlet then sold at a discount) but regular merchandise (in season things, not sold at any discount compared to retail). The shopper has the illusion that they are saving money because it's an outlet, and thus may purchase more than they would at a retail store, even though they are actually paying the same prices.
Well, Old Navy is a Gap company and almost everything sold in their official outlets is made exclusively for the outlet stores. I have, however noticed that some of the Old Navy stores in outlet malls no longer refer to themselves officially as an "outlet". I think that some of these stores have been converted back into regular retail stores, but they don't bother to tell that to the customers. So the shopper goes into an Old Navy at the outlet mall and thinks that they're going into an outlet, because what else would a store at an outlet mall be other than an outlet store? But they are really just shopping at a regular Old Navy.

When I had a discussion in another thread about outlet malls a few months ago I cited this article:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Consumer/s...1828568&page=1

It's a few years old, but it does seem to support the OP.

Some outlets do sell first quality merchandise but, like you said, you can get it for the same price or often times cheaper somewhere else. You just have the illusion that it's cheaper because you're at an outlet mall. I also agree that it's most prevalent with brands that have outlet stores, but no other retail establishments. Carter and Oshkosh are like that.
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Old 20 August 2009, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCIAG View Post
That's just wrong.

I usually try to peel back the stickers before buying because I've seen things like that before. And I like to know what it really cost before they marked it down.
While I agree that antics such as the Wal-Mart bandannas is wrong, peeling stickers is a great way to get yourself kicked out of a store. Just sayin'.

-RB
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Old 21 August 2009, 12:13 AM
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I usually get my bras and panties from the L'eggs-Hanes-Bali-Playtex (and Champion, too!) outlet. Their stuff is slightly imperfect, not that you can tell by looking at it. The prices are better than the store, and the selection on Champion bras is better. They also have a loyalty rewards program.

I also like Harry & David's outlet store. I get their catalog, so I have a good idea of what their retail prices are. Plus, it's the only place to get their Pear Chips, which are not available online or in the catalog.
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Old 21 August 2009, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCIAG View Post
Interesting article.

I've always thought that some things that are on sale aren't really on sale, that the other items are just overinflated so that the "sale" items appear cheaper.
Not necessarily outlet related, but I've seen Home Depot do this. I've been keeping an eye on a set of 18V power tools - I have many similar pieces, and they share batteries, so I wanted a single particular model. One day I came in and was delighted to see their little yellow "price reduced" tag on it. On closer inspection, the new price was exactly the same as the normal price - but the "was" price was listed as $20 higher that that. I really wanted to grab a clerk and bawl them out for it, but since it really wasn't their fault, I left it alone.

Henry
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Old 21 August 2009, 01:41 AM
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Some years ago there was a chain of stores that had a 30% off MSRP sale. People got a little upset and sued because some of the sale items were more expensive than they were before the sale. They lost because the prices were 30% less than MSRP as advertised. Most items were cheaper, but there were those few that were not.
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Old 21 August 2009, 03:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadsterboy View Post
While I agree that antics such as the Wal-Mart bandannas is wrong, peeling stickers is a great way to get yourself kicked out of a store. Just sayin'.

-RB
Why? I have a right to know what is under the sticker especially if the doofuses cover up the ingredients or directions or something, which they often do, and which I want to read *before* I decide if I want to purchase something.

Switching price stickers with another object or something, I can see of course that is totally wrong, but just peeling back a sticker to see what's underneath? Not even removing it all the way? I would be pretty peeved if they pinched me for doing that.
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Old 21 August 2009, 03:13 AM
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Stores definitely jack prices up and then mark them down to normal price and call it a sale. One of my old high school buddies with whom I've kept up is married to a guy who sold furniture for 15 years. He hated it and he hated sales, because the day before he'd have to go through and mark all the furniture way up and then slap a "sale" price on the jacked up price.

If you don't want to get ripped off, the only way I know is to keep a price notebook and take notes on what things cost over a period of time from several places: after a while you'll notice what the usual regular price averages for something and can tell if something is a good deal or not. A good way to get genuine prices on something is to go into a quality store with good upscale products: not a discount store but one with good service, and see what the regular price on merchandise is, over time. Also you can check out what good merchandise ought to look like. Then when you run across something somewhere else, you really will have at least a baseline to compare the price and quality.

eta~I have a couple stores I especially like and they get merchandise I like in, and I haunt it until it gets marked down. I saw how much it actually started out costing and I know what the discount I am getting, actually is. If that is I'm lucky enough that it isn't gone first. Sometimes I luck out though. :-)
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Old 21 August 2009, 03:45 AM
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Every summer we go to a huge outlet mall by my in-laws house. I noticed that there are many regular stores mixed in with the outlets, like a regular Old Navy, that people assume are also outlets. When I shop any sales or outlets I don't pay attention to the "was" price. I try not to even read them anymore so I won't be affected. I evaluate whether the price they are asking is worth the apparent quality of the item and decide from there if I want to buy. I don't care if a sweater has been marked down from $350 to $85 (something I saw last trip), what I care about it whether I would ever pay $85 for that sweater (no!).

We get some great deals on kids clothes at the Children's Place outlet. The clothes hold up really well and have been some of the few clothes that still have looked good enough to hand down to Starling after Starlet is done with them. We also do well at the Stride Right outlet, though I notice they also sell a lot of full price shoes. If you weren't paying attention or didn't know how much the shoes normally cost it could be easy to think you're getting a deal when you're simply paying as much as you would pay at your local Dillards.

But, yeah, I don't understand the appeal of the markdown. I was shopping with someone who was saying stuff like, "Wow! These flip flops are marked down from $60 to $25!" When I said I'd never pay $25 for flimsy flip flops she looked all confused and said, "But you're saving $35!"
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Old 21 August 2009, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niner View Post
Not necessarily outlet related, but I've seen Home Depot do this. I've been keeping an eye on a set of 18V power tools - I have many similar pieces, and they share batteries, so I wanted a single particular model. One day I came in and was delighted to see their little yellow "price reduced" tag on it. On closer inspection, the new price was exactly the same as the normal price - but the "was" price was listed as $20 higher that that. I really wanted to grab a clerk and bawl them out for it, but since it really wasn't their fault, I left it alone.

Henry
I get annoyed at WalMart for that from time to time. I've ranted in front of my kids about false advertising and misleading advertising, and have described to them some of the practices I personally find dishonest (whether or not the law does).


Now it is common for my 7yo to say "Hey! Look! WalMart's lying again! That sign says 'new', and those have been there for a LONG time!" Or "That's not a new low price! That's the same thing they cost last time we looked at them!"

I always wonder if the people who hear it will actually stop and think and consider it before purchasing the item themselves.
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