Thursday, February 11, 2010


When outlet malls and outlet stores first appeared, it was worth the drive to get real bargains. These days, that may longer be the case.

The whole "outlet" business model may be misleading by promising screaming deals but delivering little more than long drives, fake discounts and shoddy merchandise. Buyer beware!

Here are some tips:

1. Just Ask. Ask the salesperson: Is this pair of jeans the exact same as the ones at Neiman- Marcus, or were they made specifically to be sold in outlet stores?

2. Arm Yourself with Knowledge. Familiarize yourself with the stuff you’re shopping for by visiting a retail store first. How else can you possibly know if those jeans marked $150 are really $150 back in town?

3. Details, Details. Note that items in outlet stores may be made of cheaper materials and with less workmanship, which makes them less of a bargain.

As we constantly preach, be an educated consumer. You may find that saving the drive and shopping online may be a more economical solution.

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