Retail Sales - our consumer training

When I think of retail sales, I think of special sales, loss leaders, and a list of excuses for sales that could have us with a new sales slogan or gimmick at least once a week - no problem at all.

If you don't think so, just stay tuned for a nice list of examples.

The point of all this is simply that the retail industry in this country has trained us as consumers to expect special sales, discounts and other gimmicks to get us to make purchases.

And, I say, let's stay consistent with our training - don't buy from a retail outlet unless it's on sale. I know that's not practicable, even for the most ardent supporters of frugal living, but it's something that we really should try to do when we can.

The rhetorical question that needs to be asked is simply, "Why pay more than we have to?"

It seems to me that the retail industry has painted themselves into a corner, and I see no reason not to keep them there. After all, it benefits the consumer - you and me.

The Sales Gimmicks

Okay, here I go, right off the top of my head. Here are the excuses and gimmicks that allow the retail outfits to have a special sale just about every week of the year.

We have sales because of, and referred to as:

  1. New Years
  2. Christmas
  3. Thanksgiving
  4. President's Day
  5. Valentines Day
  6. Mother's Day
  7. Father's Day
  8. St. Patrick's Day
  9. Martin Luther King's birthday
  10. Inventory reduction
  11. 4th of July
  12. Spring
  13. Summer
  14. Fall
  15. Winter
  16. School proms
  17. Homecoming
  18. Halloween
  19. Easter
  20. March madness
  21. Special clearance
  22. Back to school
  23. Under new management
  24. Overstocked
  25. End of summer
  26. Year end clearance
  27. Summer sizzlers
  28. Half off
  29. Two for one
  30. Blue light specials
  31. Buy one get one free
  32. Promotional sales
  33. Labor day
  34. Your choice
  35. Customer returns
  36. Odd lots
  37. On sale now!
  38. Closeouts
  39. Factory authorized clearance
  40. Limited time offers
  41. Fire sales
  42. Going out of business
  43. Annual sales event
  44. Semi-annual sale

Okay, that's 44 different headlines that outfits can use for retail sales, and I didn't spend more than 3 minutes thinking about them. Our culture is replete with the "on sale" mindset.

What to Do?

My suggestion is to make good use of that mindset and make our necessary purchases whenever possible in response to retail sales that are promoted as such.

I always get a chuckle out of the "on sale now" signs as if the merchandise wasn't for sale earlier when it wasn't in the special bin near the end of the isle.

When I was a kid, my parents used to shop at Sear quite often. What they would do was very simple. They would shop around for what they wanted, and then ask the sales representatives when the item was going "on sale." Often, they didn't even need to ask. Sales clerks would be aware of the upcoming sale and let you know about it. They would even suggest you wait a week or two until the items go on sale.

Along those same lines, I remember an employer of mine from my high school days telling me that "paint is always on sale." And, I think he was right. It seemed that one store or the other every few weeks would have paint on sale. It made it seem like there was always special retail sales involving paint.

Get to know what stores have what kind of sales and when, and then take advantage of those opportunities. For hardware and other types of durable goods and materials with long shelf lives, you can stock up during a sale and save.

We've been taught by retail sales to respond when something is "on sale," so let's not disappoint the retail outfits by making purchases when they don't have some sort of a special sales event.

A Word from George about our America Retail Sales Culture

One of the great observers of human behavior here in America was George Carlin. Here he is to entertain us with his view of advertising and the retail marketplace. I think you'll find this interesting, entertaining and perhaps a bit enlightening. If anyone can bring the obvious to our attention, it's the late, great George Carlin.

My thanks to George for continuing to remind us that all is not as it appears or advertised to be. That's a good thing to keep in mind while on the path of frugal living in the retail sales environment.

Done with Retail Sales, back to Frugal Living Tips

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.