Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Ethics of Clearance Merchandise

I received this email from a reader after my post last week, After Holiday Clearance Sales Aren't Just About Gift Wrap.

"I am also a coupon clipper and home economist, and I would have loved to score a deal like that. I realize this was an unadvertised sale and you just happened to be in the right place at the right time, but I do think it's a bit selfish to buy all of the items off the shelf keeping others from scoring a great deal.

On a similar note, it is also discouraging to shop the sales with coupons only to find the shelf completely bare. True home economists should also be looking out for the welfare of others who want to save money for their families. Many times when I have been shopping if I see someone take an item off of the shelf and I know I have an extra coupon, I will offer it to them.

Pass it on, don't take it all, please."

Ouch, I touched a nerve and certainly didn't mean to. It isn't pleasant to see that someone might think that you are selfish and not a true home economist. If I offended or upset anyone I am truly sorry.

My intent that day was not to take a deal from others when my eye came across some unsigned clearance dish washer detergent. Quite honestly, my first thought was, 'WOW, I'm not going to have to buy detergent for awhile.' Scanning the shelves for unmarked holiday clearance merchandise at Target is a game I enjoy playing. I don't need or want gift wrap or candy, but dish washer detergent is a product that I use very often and that sale was too hard to pass by, so I purchased all of the boxes.

As I stated in the original post, the purchase was uncharacteristic of me. I don't have an extensive 'stock-pile', however I do keep a well-stocked pantry of our family basics and staples.

I do see the reader's point and I will think twice before buying all of a clearance item next time, especially when there is that much. My integrity is very important to me and if purchasing all of the Electrasol is perceived as being selfish than it just isn't worth it. It is dish washer detergent, for heaven's sake, I do see the ridiculousness of 18 boxes. I will be sure to leave some next time.

On a separate note, I, too, pass along coupons to other shoppers while I am shopping. And I have received coupons from other shoppers while shopping. A coupon fairy must have been in my grocery store today, because there were extra coupons laying all over the place.

So, without starting a fire, what are your thoughts? If you stumbled on a great clearance deal of a product that you use regularly, how much would you purchase? Civility please.

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