The Problem With Sample Sites

— Tue, 19th January 2010 —

What’s not to love about sample sale sites like Beyond The Rack, which grant easy access to (oftentimes) great products at up to 70% off retail? Well, for starters, physical sales often offer deeper markdowns, and I much prefer handling a product in person before buying it. (Suits and jackets must be tried on for size, and a digital image will never truly convey how a fabric feels, or what it looks like in the light of day.)

Add to those limitations new claims that some sample sites are artificially inflating their prices. “It’s no secret that the world of discounting relies on higher list prices to boost the appeal of leftover merchandise,” writes The Wall Street Journal. “But questions about fake list prices are spreading, as the Internet also makes it easier for shoppers to discern whether something is truly at discount or not.”

Sale shopping has always been an imperfect science, relying mostly on buyer knowledge and intuition. True or not, these latest accusations of digital price inflation show that — despite the rise of automated, streamlined systems — deal hunting still requires plenty of common sense.

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