From Annoyed To Happy: Always Run Your Numbers

We recently went to Kohl’s and went on a fairly extensive shopping spree.  My wife has gotten pretty good at identifying the real deals available at Kohl’s from the non-deals (where they mark up items higher than other stores, than offer a ‘discount’).

We had two coupons that we wanted to use, one was a 30% off your entire purchase coupon (the ones where you get the mail item and it can be either 15%, 20%, or 30%) as well as a $10 off $30 spent on men’s clothing.

We came out with a fairly decent assortment of goods.  The items that sparked my interest were those which qualified for the $10 off $30 spent on mens clothes.  Our plan was to purchase between $30 and $33.33 and apply the coupon, since this would actually provide a better deal than the 30% off coupon.

One of the things we picked up was a pair of shorts, and we rounded up the $29.99 to $30.

When we went to the register, we initially were going to do that transaction seperate, thinking it would give us the best deal and eliminate any chance of not getting the best deal.  The cashier talked us into just ringing it all up at once.

We didn’t really notice that we had undercounted the shorts by a penny, until we looked later and found that the $10 had been spread across two items: the $29.99 shorts and a $14.99 shirt.  So, the $44.98 items got $10 taken off.

When I first looked at the receipt after we got home, I was mad.  I read it that we got $10 off $45 (rounding back up), or only 22.2%.  I surmised that we could have gotten a better deal had they NOT applied the coupon, as the 30% would have taken $13.50.

I stewed for awhile and debated whether to go back to Kohl’s or just give up the $3.50.  The issue with going back is that our purchase qualified us for Kohl’s cash, where you get $10 in spending power on a future purchase for every $50 spent.  We had just crossed the threshold, and even taking the $3.50 off would take $10 in Kohl’s cash away.  Still, I thought that I should at least be given the opportunity to buy something else to get us back over the limit.

Then, I looked closer.

I found that the 30% was taken off at the bottom of the receipt.  At first, I thought it was taken off for every item, but this wasn’t the case.  Being at the bottom, it took 30% off every item….INCLUDING the remaining balance of the two items that had been reduced in price by the $10 coupon.

So, in essence, the sorts went from $29.99 to $23.32 from the coupon, and 30% was taken off that number!

Kohl’s not only didn’t blow it, they actually gave us a better deal than I had ever imagined.

Had I run the numbers the first time, I would have seen that and saved myself some time where I had been aggravated.

I guess I was lucky that I didn’t actually take the time to go back to Kohl’s.  Had I been at the customer service desk and had them point out that they in fact had given me a great deal, I would have felt really, really embarrassed.

All told, our shopping trip included (with prices that include 6% state sales tax):

  • Shorts for me – Original: $50, Marked: $29.99, Final: $17.30
  • Designer t-shirt for me – Original:$30, Marked: $14.99, Final: $8.65
  • New sunglasses for me – Original: $28, Marked: $14.99, Final: $11.86
  • Two new pillows (total cost) – Original: $23.98, Marked: $9.98, Final: $7.41
  • Two rugs (for camper) – Original: $59.98, Marked: $35.98, Final: $26.70
  • Toaster (for camper) – Original: $39.99, Marked: $19.99, Final: $14.83
  • Sweater for my wife – Original: $44, Marked: $17.60, Final: $13.06
  • Spring coat for my wife – Original: $70, Marked: $45.50, Final: $33.76
  • Gift – picture frame – Original: $16.99, Marked: $8.49, Final: $6.30
  • Gift – scarf for wife’s friend – Original:: $28, Marked: $15.99, Final $11.86
  • Two shirts for our daughter (total cost) – Original: $24, Marked: $10.80, Final: $8.01

Now, none of the stuff was worth anywhere near the original price, but their marked down price less the various discounts, we deemed as good deals.  Not a bad shopping day.

Readers, have you ever felt ripped off by a store only to find that your numbers were the problem?

17 thoughts on “From Annoyed To Happy: Always Run Your Numbers”

  1. I’ve felt that way shopping at Kohls or JC Penny’s before. I feel bad to admit this, but clothing “discounts” confuse me to no end. I shouldn’t need to break out Excel in order to buy a shirt and tie.

  2. I’ve done this in the past and always feel like a fool for making a mistake. I think part of the problem, overall, is a store like Penney’s plays around with the discounts to ultimately confuse you as the shopper. I like to get a deal and all when I shop, but I also don’t want to have to bust out Excel…as MFIJ said in order to figure out their pricing.

    • I think Penney’s new pricing model is supposed to take all that confusion about the discounts away. However, people must like the discounts, confusing as they are, because Penney’s sales have tanked since they made the change. People ultimately like to think they’re getting a deal by seeing a markdown.

  3. Jumping the gun is usual! That is why I usually ask questions vs. get mad about something. More recently, I missed paying a bill and incurred a late charge plus interest. I simply called and told them I made a mistake and asked them to remove it. I was 1 day late. No problem because I have a good record of paying my bills every month on time.

    • I’ve had the same thing happen, though it’s been a few years as I try now to automate as much as I can, and do some better tracking so that I’ll see where I haven’t made a payment that I should be making.

  4. Hey that had to be a nice surprise! I usually like Kohl’s but when I moved to a new apartment across town, the drive just isn’t worth it. In regards to JCP, I love their new pricing model because it mainly just gets rid of the cents and adds to the dollar. I got 3 shirts that were originally priced at $15 the other day for $5 each. Take advantage of their crappy stock problem now while they’re prices are rock bottom.

    • I went into the store a couple of times but only spent a few minutes. I probably need to spend some time taking a more detailed look at their prices.

  5. 2 of your giant American chains have just opened in my part of Canada. I would have to drive about 30 minutes, in opposite directions, to get to a Marshalls and a Target.

    I haven’t been to either store but I understand that Target has some real bargains. Marshalls looks expensive. I would love to hear some opinions from people who have had years of experience shopping at both stores.

    • Target is generally pretty cheap. Marshall’s has some great deals if you can find them. It’s very hit or miss and you just have to be able to weed through the stuff you don’t want or that’s too expensive to find the diamonds.

  6. I don’t know how old you are or if you ever shop with someone older but one day a week seniors get a discount. It’s probably 60 years old but it might be 55.

  7. That’s nice you ended up saving more than you thought you would! I’ve learned to read the fine print on coupons because I’ve definitely misread some in the past and looked like an idiot at the registrar questioning the balance due. I’ve been trying to put in more effort lately to use coupons at the drugstore and utilize my 5% Redcard discount at Target to save a few bucks.

  8. Wow! Great deals! I probably should pay better attention to my numbers! I am sure I have gotten ripped off in the past, but with 4 kids,I am usually just relieved to get out and home. 🙂

    • I know my wife often misses deals she should be getting at the grocery store because the kids are there and can make things chaotic. I’m guessing the same thing applies (and I bet stores even count on it!)

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