I used to get excited when the store flyers came in the mail. Not “I’m so excited (and I just can’t hide it)” like the Pointer Sisters. And it wasn’t because I had a bird cage that needed lining every week, or glassware that required wrapping in said print ads. No, it was because I did thoroughly enjoy perusing the deals, the vast amounts of stuff, and the thoughts of “If I had that, my life would be SO much better”…ahh store flyers!
They don’t really have store flyers in Latin America, so we’d gone a while without seeing them on a regular basis. Mostly I assume because the mail delivery system isn’t exactly spectacular, and the addresses in Latin America are – well – you describe where you live by what store to turn at, not by using an actual address. But some stores did have flyers when you walked in. Just a cute little two pager showing you what was on sale.
During one of our recent house sits, though, we were reacquainted with those vast amounts of store flyers, and it was kind of exciting, albeit for a brief moment. FLYERS! I shouted in excitement. I grabbed the Home Depot and Lowe’s flyers and set them aside, then the grocery store flyers, then Walmart, then Best Buy and the Source. And as I flipped to the 2nd page of Homey D-Po flyer I realized something. I’ve done this many times before. Why am I doing this again? I’m not in need of tools, flooring, faucets, furniture, a new laptop, flash drive, or anything else that I’d get at any of those big box stores. I wasn’t in need of new clothes (because I am a Thrift Shop Champion of the World). And the savings on food at the grocery stores wasn’t worth the drive across town to get them. I’m not going to be tricked into this game again. And that’s what store flyers are, a game of trickery.
How store flyers trick you into buying stuff
For starters, they toss coupons in there, which is nice and all, but if the company can afford to give it to me for 50 cents off, why can’t they just sell it for 50 cents less all the time?
Other store flyers have what’s called a loss leader. There’s a large clothing store that rhymes with Gold Wavy that does this—a lot. They put something on a ridiculous sale, like $2 tank tops. And people flood in when they open the doors, dismantle the tank-top area to find their $2 size and $2 colour, and then proceed to look for other stuff within Gold Wavy that might go with said $2 tank top. A loss leader gets you in the store, where the store (possibly Gold Wavy) is gambling you’ll spend more money than $2. And folks, just like casinos, the house always wins in the end!
Sometimes you’ll see something in a store flyer for a great price, so great that you’ll go out of your way for it…only to find the store is out of said product. They may have run out, but it’s also likely they didn’t have much of that product left to begin with, if at all. And like Gold Wavy, they just wanted to get you into the store, which they likely will do, and when they do, they laugh and hashtag things with #winning.
One trick I know of from firsthand experience is to just show the everyday price of something cheap in the flyer. It’s kind of funny when you know it’s being done. While working at Home Depot I would see the everyday price of a basic el-cheapo ceramic tile listed at $0.69 / sq foot (or per tile basically). And every few weeks, I’d see the store flyer showing the exact same tile for the stupidly low price of…wait for it…$0.69 / sq foot. Wow, what a bargain! Funny though, when we see it in a store flyer it seems like a great deal and we just have to have it!
And then there’s buying more stuff than you need in order to save a buck. This drives me bonkers. There’s a store here in Western Canada that rhymes with Save on Foods. Oh wait, that’s exactly what their name is. Oops. Funny enough though, that name would make one assume that you could save on food there, which you can, but their store flyers trick you into thinking everyone can save. But here’s the deal with Save On Foods, and pretty much all grocery chains nowadays, they advertise; Save $1 on Dr. Oetker Pizza…when you buy 4 or more. Or another; Save .50 cents per can on Campbell’s Chunky Soup…when you buy 6 or more. From toilet paper to paper towels, and your breakfast cereal to the dog’s breakfast, this is how the store flyers trick you.
In essence, the trick you with deals and incentives, or force you buy more in order to save more, which makes absolutely no cents for me. Kind of ironic in that because they are big chain stores and they can order more and thus get a lower price per unit (buying power), that they in turn pass those savings onto their customers by doing what their suppliers do to them, or is it for them? Buy more save more. I think I miss the single serving sizes offered in Latin America.
If you have a family of four and are going to consume that much, hey, great for you I suppose. But now you’ll likely have to store more stuff in the pantry as well. Oh, you don’t have a pantry? Well you’re in luck – Home Depot has one on sale, as does Lowe’s, and Walmart. Or was that last week’s flyers?
Now go sell all your stuff and don’t let those store flyers trick you!