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== What is a sale?

The word sale has a specific legal meaning. A sale must offer real discounts, items not usually selling at that price. Some stores have sales so often, the government has ruled that they are not really sales, but rather the normal price.

A sale is a temporary mark down or a special promotion; the price will go back to the regular price after the sale is over.

The terms clearance or closeout mean the price will not go back up. After a clearance sale, the price only goes down further and the items may eventually be thrown out, put on bargain table, or given to a charity.

Note: I've noticed some stores have regular sales on the same items. In other words about every two months the same tissues or bath soap may go on sale for a week. Since you can usually count on this kind of sale coming around again, stock up with a good supply until the sale repeats.

== Bogus words

The following words and phrases sound good but have no real legal meaning: special, unusual, extraordinary, special value or purchase, special buy, value pack, priced right, large economy size.

For example, I've seen a large economy "value pack" that costs more than the smaller size (per ounce).

== "Regular" and "original" price

Beware of inflated discounts! I found some unusual fine print in the sale catalog of a famous nationwide department store. It explained that clothes in their catalog may have never actually sold at the "regular" or "original" price. However, those "regular" prices for most garments were listed next to the discounted price.

Translation of the fine print: the "regular" price is like the list price and used only for reference. The clothes probably sold at the store for a lot less on an everyday basis.

If you didn't read this small print, you might "foolishly" think you were getting a much bigger discount than you actually were.

== Will this ever go on sale?

If you ask, a salesperson may tell you if the dress or suit you want will go on sale. Here are some questions you might ask.

Will this go on sale soon or in the next year? Has this ever gone on sale? When? What else will go on sale or has gone on sale?

Some stores will even let you buy something today and get money back later when it goes on sale - usually within a month. For example, when I bought my first computer at Radio Shack for $400, I asked if it ever went on sale. I was told it would go on sale in two weeks for $300 and that I could bring back my receipt and get a $100 refund.

== Get money back later after a sale starts

Many stores have a policy that allows you to get money back when something you bought earlier goes on sale. It never hurts to ask. Generally the sale must happen within 30 days of your purchase.

For example, I have gotten money back from K-Mart and Radio Shack, after things went on sale.

== Take the ad with you

When you see an advertisement in the newspaper for a great sale, or you get a circular in the mail, take the ad with you to the store. More than once I've gone to take advantage of a sale, and no one in the store knew what I was talking about. When you bring the ad, they are under a legal obligation to honor the offer.

== Get on mailing lists

At a department store, ask to be placed on a department's "preferred customer list" so they will contact you prior to a sale.

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A Listing of Regular Month By Month Sales For:
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