Sunday, February 15, 2009

Online versus Catalog

It's one thing to find an item for different prices at different stores. We expect that, don't we? In our capitalist society, it's ideal to get the item we seek for the best price. So, we are forever pitting online against online or online against brick-and-mortar or online against catalog. Or at least I know I am.

But what if the online price and the catalog price are different -- but from the same store? *scratching head* That's right. I said the same store.

That's the situation I found myself in Saturday night buying slipcovers from JC Penney. (Yeah, I know. Wild weekend, eh?) But they're expensive. And with a dog and cat constantly on the sofa and loveseat, you gotta have them. Or buy furniture every two years. Or use ugly sheets. I don't like those options.

Anyway, we bought a good set a few years ago. They've held up admirably. Survived dog and cat yack (among many other really not-to-mention things) multiple washes, and still bounce back. They're beginning to get a little thin though. So I decided to check into new ones. I just bought the mother a new coffeemaker (she is starting to put together stainless steel for the new kitchen) and it came today. In the package, was one of their million mini-catalogs. Inside, slipcovers 50 percent off. Booyah!

I go online and a sale price comes up -- but it's $20 more for each piece than in the catalog. WTF? How is that possible?! I'm just about to call their customer service when, on a whim, I key in the product code from the catalog. When I do that, it asks me for a code off the catalog. I key that in and voila! Catalog prices.

So what's the difference between online and catalog? In this case, $48. Had I gone by the sale prices online without seeing the catalog, that's how much more I would have paid. Next time you're shopping online, see if there's a companion catalog. You never know how much you could save!

8 comments:

Jayne said...

I've encountered this before at JCPenney, and I have to say: I don't like it. Not one little bit. It seems underhanded and dishonest, as if they're tricking customers who don't have the catalog into paying higher prices. I'm sure JCPenney looks at it as a small reward to previous customers, though.

Stepping down off my soapbox now...

cd said...

I just had a similar incident with another large department store. Received their ad for Presidents Day and found two items I wanted. Remembering I had an email for said store with free shipping jumped online. The online site was having a different Presidents Day sale You guessed it, the online price for my two items was less than the sale catalog and I got free shipping on top of it.

starsimplified said...

Wow, $48 dollars is no small savings! I'm glad you wrote this because I think I've been ripped off in the past by this very thing! Now I'll know to put in the catalog item number and the code. Live and learn. Thanks for sharing this.

Denise said...

I had the same thing with my window coverings at JCPenney this weekend — $10 more if I had ordered "online" at the store, but I could get free shipping. I knew they were cheaper when I checked online myself, then did a search for "coupon code JC Penney" and voila, 15% off the already-lower price!

I agree with Jayne; it's sneaky.

sewwhat? said...

I found out that catalogs are printed with different prices depending on the area of the country to which they are sent. Now how's that for crooked business practices! You're ripped off if you happen to live in an upscale area!

NV said...

WOW! I couldn't have imagined that this problem was so widespread.

C'mon, retailers! This is just a sampling of folks trying to help out the economy. Don't gouge us ... 'cause there's always someone else who'd be happy to take our money.

Right, ladies?!

Vicki said...

This is great advice. I pride myself on doing good sale shopping to find the best deal, but had no idea this was going on.

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