I believe Lowes was not playing exactly fair with it's pricing. here
is what happened, you decide(prices rounded off for simplicity, and
since I left receipt with exact prices at home):
Needed insulation, went to Lowes because a newspaper ad said they had a
special "buy 3, get one free" That is 33% off.
Rolls had price sticker of $32s. I put 16 rolls on the flatbed.
Got up to register, rang up at 28 bucks per roll. That was supposed
to be the "sale price" which reflected the 4 for 3 deal. I am no math
genius, but the way I saw it I should have gotten 33% off per roll, and
$28 is not 33% off of $32. I asked about this, and they said the
price-per-roll in the "computer" was $38 bucks per roll, therefore the
28 bucks per roll reflected the sale price.
Fortunately Michigan has pretty strict "item pricing" consumer law, and
if a price tag is affixed to an item the store must charge that price,
regardless of what the "computer" says the price should be. Once I
pointed it out manager was very good, charged me 25 bucks per roll and
I left satisfied, but suspicious.
WHAT I THINK HAPPENED:
In anticipation of the 4 for 3 sale, Lowes raised the price of the roll
from 32 to 38 bucks, but this store missed marking up the rolls, so
they got caught and had to give me the better deal. If that is what
they did, they are trying to pull a fast one.. and I am glad I caught
I would be interested to hear if anyone else has examples of Lowes
raising prices in order to then offer "sale prices".
3 items at normal price X .25 = 75% of the normal price
3 items at normal price X .333 = 99.9% of the normal price (call it 100%)
Therefore the first three are really at 33% off making the 4th one "free".
It doesn't work both ways. I think the problem is that you think "Buy 3 and
get one free" indicates that the deal applies to 3 rolls of insulation. It
applies to 4.
A 33% discount is what you get if you buy two and get one free (for a total
A 25% discount is what you get if you buy 3 and get one free (for a total of
A 20% discount is what you get if you buy 4 and get one free (for a total of
If you buy 16 rolls at $32/roll and then get a 33% discount (we'll skip
sales tax for now), you should be charged $341.33.
If you were to buy 12 rolls at $32/roll (and got 4 free as advertised),
you'd be charged $384.
If you were to buy 16 rolls at $32/roll and then got a 25% discount on the
lot of them, you'd also pay $384, which works out to $24/roll.
With sales tax, you should have paid $407.04 for the 16 rolls you had on the
cart, which works out to $25.44/roll. Lowe's was right. You were not
Actually, after rereading the original post, I have determined that Jack got
a better deal than he may think. If the original price was $38/roll, Jack
should have paid $28.50 per roll, for a total of $456. The confusion comes
from the $32 price tag. Either way, Jack got the best possible price.
Lowe's gave Jack the advertised discount off the sticker price on the
insulation. Had he received the discount off of the price in the computer,
he would have paid a total of $483.36. Paying attention to the difference
between the sticker price and the computer price saved Jack $76.32. Lowe's
did right by Jack, but only after he spoke up.
Sale prices aren't supposed X% off a fictional price stored in a
computer. They're supposed to be X% off the price the customer would be
paying in the absence of a sale. That's the sticker price.
If there wasn't a sale at all, the price on the sticker was $32, the
cashier charged $38, and the cashier said that that what was in the
computer, I'd ask to see the manager on the spot. If the manager's
response was that it was a case of "confusion" caused by my relying on
the sticker price, and that the price in the computer was the real
price, I'd leave the store.
The case when a sale is involved is no different.
Are you supposed to be refuting or disagreeing with something I posted? The
store (eventually) charged Jack based on the sticker price, which was the
correct thing to do as it was, in fact, the sticker price and it was also
the lower of the two. Other than Jack's misconception about there being a
33% discount, he was much less confused than Lowe's. It must be said,
though, that once the discrepency was brought to their attention, Lowe's
handled it as they should have.
The real question is whether Lowe's then relabeled all the insulation,
changed the price in the computer, or did nothing after Jack left. It
wouldn't be that difficult to figure out if the insulation is regularly
priced at $32 or $38. If Jack was up to it, he could send a buddy in to buy
some insulation to see just how Lowe's handled it.
I was taking issue with your statement that "the confusion comes from
the $32 price tag", which I interpreted to mean that $38 really was the
number to be used in the calculation, and that the use of $32 was a
mistake owing to confusion caused by the price tag. If I misunderstood,
Depending on how hte ad is written, the first three are at 100%, the fourth
one is 0%, or free. If you only buy one, tow, or three, you pay full
price., but only after the third do you get the fourth one free. Some
states do not allow that type of pricing so a 25% discount would be "fair"
for the singles.
4 items for the price of 3 items is 25% off
If one item is normally $25 then 4 of that item would be $100. If you
only charge for 3 of the items, the charge will be $75, and the 4th
will be free. That's 25% off the normal $100 purchase price.
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