This Is Ending ‘Up’ Badly

, , , , , | Right | June 18, 2017

(I’m working in a small thrift store where we sell items for generally pretty cheap when a middle-aged man walks in and starts shopping.)

Customer: *puts a jacket on the counter* “I need you to check the price of this now.”

Me: *after scanning the item* “Okay, sir, this jacket comes up to 19.99.”

Customer: “19.99? The rack says 3.99, though.”

Me: “It’s a 3.99 and up rack so the prices could vary.”

Customer: “It says 3.99, though.”

Me: “It’s a 3.99 and up rack, sir.”

Customer: *walks over and grabs five more identical jackets* “Price check these.”

Me: “These are all of the same jacket they’ll all be the same price.”

Customer: “But it says 3.99.”

Me: “It’s an ‘and-up’ rack; the prices vary.”

Customer: “So it’s now 3.99?”

Me: “No, sir.”

Customer: “Hmm, okay…” *dumps everything on the counter and walks out*

1 Thumbs
  • Illogically

    While I sympathize, I also hate signs like that. Customers only read the lowest price and not the rest of the sign. My store often has “Buy One Get One 50% Off” sales, and even though the whole sign is written in the same size font there are so many people who only see the “50% Off” part. “What do you mean these shorts are full price? The sign says all shorts 50% off!” …No, sir, the sign says all shorts BOGO 50% off.

    • Mimi

      My”favorites” are the ones that are like “2 for $5.00” but one will cost $2.99 instead of $2.50.

      That’s what most people think it should cost if it’s 2 for $5.00.

      I always check for the little tiny writing at the bottom that says what only one costs.

      Even though 49¢ isn’t that much it’s still deceptive.

      • John Smith

        It isn’t really deceptive. “Two for $5” does not imply an offer to sell one for $2.50. That is an erroneous assumption on the customer’s part.

        • Samantha Phastine

          If anything — it implies the deal only exists with the purchase of two. But, of course, stupids gonna stupid.

        • Sadies Ariel

          Depends on state laws actually. There are some places where if a sale is something like 2 for $5, a single item must also match that sale (so if it’s 2 boxes of cookies normally $3.25 each on sale 2 for $5, one box must legally cost $2.50 during this promotion).

        • Mimi

          Maybe misleading is a better word.

      • Sammy

        I don’t think these kind of signs are misleading at all. “2 for x” makes it pretty that the discount only applies when you buy two items, if the price for a single item was lowered they would simply put x/2 as the item price. And it is a commonly known practice to discount items when they are bought in a specific quantity so most customers should understand the meaning of the sign.

        • Mimi

          Well when one store does (ex)2/$5 or $2.50 each and the one down the street is 2/$5 or one for $2.99 some people might feel misled or confused at the least. Not me, I do get it, but some people don’t.

  • Roq

    “And up” racks are stupid though.Nobody’s worried that something will be less.

    • heymoe2001

      Yeah, I hate those racks too. If things are a couple of bucks “up”, that’s one thing, but this jacket is 5 times the price!
      With this logic, the Soviet space suit for sale on Ebay right now could go on that rack.
      The asking price is just over $247,000. So it is “and up” from $3.99.

      • Cristian Ilkka

        This, so much this. If you want to organize things by price, use ranges. 5-9.99, 10-14.99 etc.

        • Or do like the endcaps at the Walmarts I’ve worked where the price on the big sign above is supposed to be the highest price of any item on the shelf. Essentially they’re “and below” racks. That way customers don’t see the big $5 sign and get to the register with a $10 item you were displaying there only to pitch a fit it wasn’t the price on the big sign.

  • RyderOrRiot1

    “UP” yours!

  • ShadeTail

    On the one hand, signs like that are clearly meant to be deceptive because people have a tendency not to read the whole sign. Stores know that the lower price will attract people to buy higher-priced items.

    On the other hand, learn to read the signs, you idiots! Sheesh!

  • Gretchen

    I don’t like signs like that. Here we usually have signs “up to 70% off” for sales, and then there is this one thing in the whole store that is still super expensive after 70% off, and all the other things are like 10% off.

    • Cathrope

      Khols does that a lot.

    • Carrie

      A lot of websites do that too. Always irks me.

      • I’ve noticed lately that Amazon tends to have items of a certain type (let’s say swimwear in this case) that shows up in the search as a certain price ($20 for a lady’s swim top). Except when you click on it, the price actually shows as $20-$70, maybe one style (in the ugliest color) is actually $20, and everything else is pushing $70.

        Nevermind the sites where your hard-to-find size is always the one already sold out when, say, cute shoes go on sale.

        • Carrie

          Oooh. That’s always infuriating too!

        • Gnomer Denois

          And only one size is the $20.

          • YES. And yet still that’s enough to make the search results show $20 flat as a price, rather than the range you see when you get to the listing itself.

    • Torbjörn Axelsson

      More likely it is some low cost item that is 70% off and in limited supply.

      • Gretchen

        That happens too, yes.

  • Peter

    A price tag that says “This costs more than the price we’re advertising here” doesn’t really do anything other than trick a few people into believing the price on the rack is the price of the items on the rack. Especially if only the price is printed in big bold letters, which is usually the case.

    • Torbjörn Axelsson

      Not to mention that it is not infeasible to have a ¤1 bin (whatever the local currency) where everything is some symbolic price regardless of previous price (which generally is less than 2-3 times the bin price so the store is not losing money on them, even if they are not exactly making money either).

  • Deadpool

    OP gets screwed by corporate’s stupid marketing strategy. Poor poster, poor customer.

  • Holly

    “Prices vary” doesn’t mean “prices vary from one minute to another.”

    I dislike “X amount and up” markers though. The are a marketing trick. $19.00 is way *up* from $3.99, but people are attracted to the lowest price as advertised.

    • It doesn’t help that, in my experience, those racks rarely if ever have the lowest-priced item on them anymore, if they even ever did. Or there is one single item that is the price on the sign, and everything else on the rack falls under “and up,” often to surprisingly large amounts.

  • Shouldernubs

    Yea having something for 19.99 on a 3.99 ‘and up’ rack is obnoxious.
    It’s not technically false advertizing, but it’s a bait and switch.
    Not OPs fault, but just sayen.

    • John Smith

      It’s not bait and switch. The product isn’t being switched and the price isn’t being altered in any way.

      • Shouldernubs

        you don’t know what bait and switch means. There’s no point arguing.
        Just google what it means.

        • John Smith

          I know what bait and switch means. The deal isn’t being altered in any way here. The rack is a “$3.99 and up” rack, which I don’t like either, but the customer isn’t being deceived in any way. $3.99 is the minimum, not the maximum. Nothing is being switched or altered in any way, and a misinterpretation on the customer’s part does not constitute an intent to deceive on the store’s part.

          No goods are being substituted here. Clearly you need to learn what bait and switch means.

      • Actually, this might fall under bait and switch after all. The “bait” is the “$3.99 (and up)” sign implying you’ll find deals on that rack, and the “switch” is the fact that little, if anything, on that rack is actually the advertised price (generally when the store never really intended to put anything that cheap there, or only put one item that cheap and everything else is pricy, on the assumption that you’re here now so you’ll probably just suck it up and buy the pricier thing).

        • John Smith

          Bait and switch is defined as the action of advertising goods that are an apparent bargain, with the intent to substitute inferior or more expensive goods. No goods are actually being substituted here, and there is no “apparent bargain” if the rack states that the products are “$3.99 and up”. What is apparent with “$3.99 and up” is that the least expensive thing on the rack is $3.99.

          “$3.99 and up” is fundamentally no different than other advertising language such as “starting from” and “as low as”.

          I suppose it really depends on what the sign looks like. If “3.99 and up” is all the same font size then it’s above board. If “3.99” takes up the whole sign and “and up” is typed in font size 2 in the corner, then that is a different story. I’m betting it’s the former.

          • But if there never was a $3.99 item on the rack, then it does count. I’m just pointing out this is one of those situations where the argument could actually be made for bait and switch, unlike a lot of other times customers use it (such as when the sale item is legitimately sold out).

            As for font size on the sign, you’re right in that there’s a very good chance it’s the former, but I have seen signs before where the price is large and the catch (the “and up” portion, in this case) is much smaller. Still there, so still legal, but quite shady.

          • John Smith

            Yes if there was never a $3.99 item then it would be a deceptive practice, but there is no evidence to suggest that there wasn’t. I will concede that the possibility exists though.

  • Flami

    I am not impressed by those “X price and UP” areas. Why not just have price tags or price stickers on every single thing so (like this story) you don’t get totally surprised at the register?

    • Or only hang items of the same price together on the rack, so that everything on the rack actually is $3.99 or whatever.

      • Flami

        That would be another acceptable alternative! ALLITERATION! 😀

        • If only I could give you a second upvote for an acceptable application of alliteration.

  • Mimi

    ::hands customer a dictionary:: “and UP.”

  • Wendigone

    I don’t blame the customer for walking out. It’s obnoxious to have something that much more expensive on a rack that advertises a low priced starting point.

    • Torbjörn Axelsson

      If there are no price tags I would ask what items on the rack are the smallest amount.

      • Wendigone

        A very reasonable thing to ask, but I do wonder whether employees would know.

  • ErgonAgathon

    My sympathies are with the customer here. “$3.99 and up” is a deliberately misleading marketing tactic, particularly if the items aren’t individually marked and must be checked at the counter. It’s meant to trick people into thinking everything on the rack is $3.99 (or whatever), but “and up” could mean anything up to infinity — you could have an item for $15,000 on a “3.99 and up” rack. If you’re going to pull shady tricks to mislead customers, you can’t reasonably get impatient with them for feeling misled.

    • Suzanne

      Totally true, but the problem is that the person who decides to put up the sign and the person who has to deal with misled customers are almost never the same person.

  • Rachel Schmachel

    $20 for a jacket in a thrift store? That seems expensive.

    • Depends on how nice the jacket is. Our local Goodwill has evening gowns priced at $12 at the lowest, and some very nice ones up in the $40+ range, which is kind of high compared to all the other clothing. $20 for a nice leather jacket isn’t that much of a stretch.

    • heymoe2001

      I tend to agree but since this store has several of the same jacket, I’ll bet is is a batch donated from a “first hand” store. One of our thrift stores often has stock with the original price tags still on them, clearly never worn. So, it may be a good deal.

    • Torbjörn Axelsson

      Sometimes the more “up scale” items are intended for people who have money and like vintage. They sell for a bit more and the money goes to cover fixed costs for the store.

      If they sold something like a mint condition leather jacket for the same amount they would sell a second hand blouse (say $1) the clothes would still not end up in the wardrobes of the financially challenged.

      As soon as the thrift shop opens, vintage shop owners will pick up the items worth real money, and if they pay $20 it is much better than $4. They can easily get anything from $50 to $200 for the same item in their vintage shop in the up scale shopping district.

      • There seems to be a misconception that items sold in a thrift store are specifically to be sold to the financially challenged. We’ve seen it in stories on the Not Always site before, even, with a crazy customer flying off the handle when she heard the OP say they were buying some items to make a costume, because the clothes were “supposed to be for poor people!”

        While thrift stores can certainly benefit the financially challenged by offering lots of items at more affordable prices due to them being used rather than new (with the occasional exception of brand new items that get donated, of course), the main goal is for the thrift store to make money that they can then use to benefit the financially challenged. And really, it makes no sense for them to price high-quality items that would normally sell for much more at dirt cheap just because they’re a thrift store.

        I’ve seen plenty of very nice things up in the glass case at the front that are priced higher because they’re vintage, good quality, a complete set, etc. Glassware and plate sets that actually match, as opposed to the mismatched cheap stuff in the dishes section, leather jackets and very nice dresses on hangers behind the registers instead of in their regular sections, etc.

        • Ophelia

          Another thing is that even thrift stores have to pay for things: Electricity, water, gas, rent, insurance, various governmental fees, garbage disposal, security, equipment, supplies, computer systems, Internet, phone service, marketing, and if there are employees there rather than all volunteers, their wages and the taxes that come with it. Sometimes shipping and transportation too. People often don’t realize this and wonder why thrift stores don’t just sell everything for $1 or give everything out for free; or why thrift stores can go out of business because they’re somehow losing money.

        • Ophelia

          Another thing is that even thrift stores have to pay for things: Electricity, water, gas, rent, insurance, various governmental fees, garbage disposal, security, equipment, supplies, computer systems, Internet, phone service, marketing, and if there are employees there rather than all volunteers, their wages and the taxes that come with it. Sometimes shipping and transportation too. People often don’t realize this and wonder why thrift stores don’t just sell everything for $1 or give everything out for free; or why thrift stores can go out of business because they’re somehow losing money.

  • Samantha Phastine

    Yeah, I dreaded those ‘And up’ signs — because I always was anticipating THIS. Whenever I had control over the kind of sign, I tried to make sure there was a listing of prices (Coats — 19.99, Pants — 15.99, Blouses — 9.99 etc) specifically to stop these customers in their tracks.

    Corporate sucks, sometimes.

  • Guess Customer doesn’t know what’s up.

  • Marianne

    Yes, a $3.99 and up rack is annoying but that doesnt negate the fact that the customer was rather stupid for thinking all the other identical jackets wouldnt be the same price as the one he already checked. Or having to be told more than once that its an “and up” rack.