Buyers Beware

Buyers Beware

We are again entering the silly season, the time when the myriad of retailers entice us into their stores with promises of big savings.

We often get caught out when we are unaware and do not pay attention to what was quoted in the advertisements presented by the retailer.  This time it was I that got caught out because of being inattentive during the billing phase of my purchase.  The culprit: Mr Price.

My wife and I were enticed by their advertisement in a magazine that showed “two ladies short trousers for R100”.  This is what she needed and I was certain that they may also have some gents’ specials.

Normally very astute I noticed a whole shelf of shirts “take two for R80”.  Being of larger build with fairly broad shoulders I had to rummage through the piles for the few XL on offer.  Finally I located two.

When we got to the till I was distracted by one item that was not price labelled.  As they would not believe me that the price was R79.99 I had to get proof from the shelf and another pair.  I had to go and fetch the example, not them. During this time they rang the other items.  I dutifully presented my card and made payment.

Each of the items purchased were less than R100 per item (except for two male shorts at R129).  Even so the average total should have been below R100 each, thus less than R700 – or at least so I thought.

The total bill, however, came to over R900, an average of over R120 per item.  I checked the shirts first.  Each one of the ones I chose was rung up at R129 – not R40 as the sign indicated.  Why? I asked as the special (close to the counter read R80 for two).  First I argued and then the teller said the sign said so.  We looked and looked……

Finally, on closer inspection I could confirm with near perfect vision required that on an A6 paper sign in the bottom right corner the message claimed that it was for round neck shirts only.  So cunning is Mr P in their deception that the sign typed in Arial size 20 on a piece of paper; about 14cmX10cm in the bottom corner of a sign that was at least 20 times larger.  It was impossible to read from one meter away, impossible to even see from three meters away.

I said to my wife ‘guess what?’ She replied astutely: ‘you will not be back’.  You right, but more than that they will gain a dishonourable mention in a warning to our readers under the heading of “Buyers Beware”.

What the retailers do not realise is that most buyers will vote with their feet, as I do.  After such a deceptive experience we will go elsewhere and not return.

I was then reminded that this particular outlet was considerably quieter than it was previously.  Perhaps others have also decided to vote with their feet, and left.

Although Mr Price leads the story they are not the only.  Food Lovers Market advertised beef roast for R69.99.  My daughter and I ordered a roast for four, about 800 gr.  The resulting piece after being cut weighed and priced suddenly displayed a price of R128, with no indication of weight or price per kg.  Here it was more blatant and easier to decide.  We left all the items behind and left the store.

Even so, I mentioned to my wife that they were advertising 9 toilet rolls of unknown brand for R49.99.  She only buys well-known brands in toilet paper and had anyway bought 18 for R79.99, about R10 cheaper than for the 9.

Buyers should not just beware but be astutely aware and know their prices; and, able to do simply division and multiplication to get the best value for their money – especially during the festive season.  If not, the retailers will feast on you.

Have a blessed Christmas and save enough now to start to prosper in 2016.  Next year we will look at savings mediums that will turn each small saving into building prosperity into your future.

Thank you for your positive feedback, the encouragements and support during the year.

Deon Hattingh is a financial planner with a heart for every budget in every household and encourages readers to budget; keep debt under control; and, to create wealth.