How to tell the deal from the hype

    restoration-hardware-newyorThe latest issue of Money magazine (March 2009) just arrived and amidst articles about investing in the recession and how to get the most of tax cuts on this year’s taxes, I found a fun article on when a sale is a real deal and when it is simply hype (page 19).

    I thought it was a timely article as there are some tempting deals out there. An entertainment armoire I have been keeping tabs on for about a year now at Restoration Hardware is almost 50% off and it is getting hard to resist.

    So maybe it was serendipity that I read the first hype:

    HYPE: Furniture stores are offering screaming bargains now.
    REAL DEAL: Mom-and-pop stores”


    Not only does the article point to the fact that the armoire I want at Restoration Hardware is not a good deal, it specifically states, “…large chains like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware still charge big mark-ups”. Darn it, why do I subscribe to this magazine?!?

    HYPE: Air fares are falling dramatically as jet-fuel prices come down.
    REAL DEAL: Hotels”

    Supposedly, the luxury Fairmont chain is offering 30%-plus discounts on peak rates with prices dropping to $99 for a downtown Chicago stay. The airlines have sales, but the author Donna Rosato points out there are many restrictions.

    HYPE: Liquidation sales are the place to go for rock-bottom prices
    REAL DEAL: Survivors”

    This piece of advice confirms what I already noticed which is when there is a liquidation sale, the prices start off pretty high with small discounts. As time passes, the discounts do get deeper but the selection gets scarcer as you are fighting with others who are also trying to get the best deal. So instead, the recommendation is to go to the retail’s rival who will undercut the liquidator in order to compete.

    Okay, so I am armed with these words of wisdom but what the article does not factor in is one’s own utility for a good or service. Is it really a good deal if I purchase an armoire at a mom-and-pop shop that I mildly like instead of the one at Restoration Hardware that a truly love? Clint, are you reading this?

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