What clearance price is your Achilles Heel?
Some people are suckers for bargains of any kind. Others, well, even a genuine FREE offer is difficult for them to take up. But most of us, myself included, have a magic number. It’s in the form of a percentage printed on wonderful clearance sticker, and it is scary how many times it has pulled me in like a tractor beam.
Now, I’m not including sale prices on items you were actually going to buy anyway. If you see a 10% off sticker on a bottle of juice or box of cereal, fair enough. Even if it’s a big box item like a washing machine, if you were already out shopping for one, that doesn’t count either.
No, what I’m talking about here is the magic number that draws you away from what you were doing, and before you know it has you holding the sale item in your hand like the golden idol in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. You’re mesmerized, because man, it’s so cheap.
So what’s your number? For me, it’s 75% off (or more). Some people will take any discount, even those measly 15% offerings. Nah, not for me. Others get sucked in by the 40% of 50% clearance stickers. Personally, that’s a sale but it’s no clearance. But when I see 75% off, I’m there. It is my Achilles Heel. And by the time it’s hit 90% off, I’m almost always a lost cause. I’ll find myself searching through the deepest recesses in my brain, looking for a reason, any reason, to buy it.
It’s really worrying to me to look back and reflect upon how much completely unnecessary crap I will consider buying when that price tag is on it. After Halloween, I’ll try and avoid Target. See, all of the costumes and funky accessories get slammed down to silly prices. First 50% off, then a week later that magic 75% off sign is displayed. Last November I had to go to Target for a wiper blade and walked past the Halloween clearance. Before I knew what had hit me, I was walking out with adult-sized Spiderman and Davy Jones costumes. And no wiper blade! They were 90% off, and $5 for either of those costumes is a bargain.
Fortunately, I found a use for Spiderman. It was my nephew’s birthday a few months later and Spiderman was there to make a surprise visit. $5 well spent in that case (although I ended up forking out an extra $20 online for gloves and feet covers). Davy Jones is still gathering dust in my garage. Will I use him this year? Doubtful, that movie is not quite flavor of the month any more…but we’ll see.
The 75% off sticker has got me in other ways. Online, if I see a sale advertised for 75% off or more, I’m at that website in a flash. One time I spent half an hour at the Hot Topic site searching for something to buy in their 75% off sale. I couldn't find anything, and believe me, I was trying. Then I had a moment of clarity, shut up my laptop and picked up a good book. It almost got to me. Almost.
What I’m saying here folks is that whatever your magic number is, think twice before you get to the checkout (in person or online), with a vastly reduced but pointless “thing.” Do you really need that complete set of walrus polishing brushes? Is the glow in the dark eye-mask necessary? Remember too that the reason a lot of these items have such big clearance stickers is that they weren’t selling. Probably because they’re outdated, broken or just plain crap!
Frasier Crane once said, in my all-time favorite Frasier episode, “it may be an unwise man who doesn't learn from his own mistakes, but it's an absolute idiot that doesn't learn from other people's.” Learn from my mistakes and my Achilles Heel. Don’t be taken in by the magic clearance price.