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Jim Green's blog

Pants on Fire

February 11, 2011

Some retailers will hate this post but I just don't get it. Why some retailers cling to the past so vehemently and continue to mislead their customers through deceptive advertising is beyond me. Some persist in using arbitrary and fictitious "regular" retail prices so that contrived sale prices can be offered. "Free" merchandise with the purchase of an item or package. I'm not saying that it doesn't still work. I guess, sometimes it does or some retailers wouldn't rely on it so heavily. I am saying that:


(1) Before I am accused of being "lily white honest" and while some retailers may think that it can't do business without it, many actually do business, (sometimes big business) while retaining their integrity and honesty to the consumer (Rooms To Go and City Furniture in Florida come to mind). Both rely on smart marketing and excellent merchandising to get the job done.

(2) The difference between truth in advertising and false or misleading advertising can be very minor, sometimes just the use of one word instead of another. Case in point. The latest big marketing craze in furniture retailing seems to be offering a big screen TV with a furniture purchase. Recently, and on the very same day two companies employed the gimmick. One retailer advertised a 55 inch TV "FREE" with the purchase of a living room package. Another, Rooms To Go, offered to sell a similar 5 piece living room package, "PLUS" a 55 inch TV at a price. One advertised that the TV was "Free", the other that it was included. One was a lie, the other was the truth. As far as I was concerned the "FREE" offer was no more impactful than the "Included" offer in the way each was presented. My impression was that psychologically many customers might interpret the "Plus" for "Free" anyway; but they weren't lied to.

I hope I will see the day when all retailers value ethics, integrity and honesty and will employ excellence in merchandising and marketing to sell product. I also hope that the day will come that attorneys general in the various states will have no further interest in our industry.