When a Sale Really Isn’t a Sale

What the recent Amazon sale felt like.

What the recent Amazon sale felt like.

Amazon recently had a “flash” sale on July 15 only for its Prime Members (which is pretty much everybody because who wants to wait more than two days for shipping?).  The company and other news outlets were hyping it up a few weeks before, saying this would be the biggest sale that Amazon users have ever seen etc etc.

I was actually thoroughly excited about it because I’ve had a great experience using Amazon over the years.  For example, my awesome new laptop I currently use was bought from Amazon.  I was originally going to buy it directly from the manufacturer as they had some type of sale going on.  I put in all of my custom specs and was excited to finally buy it, but a thought occurred to me to check if there is anything comparable on Amazon.  Lo and behold, the same model with better specs was available for $200 less than I was about to pay.

I would consider that a steal, but this most recent sale by Amazon, not so much.

If you don’t need it, it’s not a deal

When the big day came, I excitedly clicked on Chrome and typed my way right to Amazon.  As expected, the website was full of fanfare and can’t miss deal banners.  But after browsing for a few minutes, I came to realize that all the excitement was for nothing.

Nothing practical was for sale.  We get baby stuff and some household things from Amazon once in a while, and I was expecting to see some decent deals on this stuff but was sorely disappointed.  Most of the sales were for electronics and “services”, which I didn’t even know Amazon had.  Did you know you can order housecleaning services from Amazon?  It is definitely more expensive than finding a housekeeper on your own, but if you can just click and maids magically appear, then why the heck not?

There was even a Kindle on sale for a higher price than when I got it a few months ago!  Not much of a sale after all.  While I was ready and willing to spend some money on things that I needed or even wanted, I didn’t end up buying anything.  And it seemed that only things nobody really needs were the featured items.

Don’t give in to the hype

One thing I’m slowly learning over the years is that despite what the salesman says, this is not the last time a product (car, phone, furniture etc) is going on sale.  This is a classic line that retailers will tell you, increasing the pressure on you to buy now because you may never get a chance later.  This is a bunch of bologna because everything goes on sale again at some point.  Retailers are very good at making us feel that we have a limited time to make a purchase, but if you’re willing to walk away and wait, you will be able to find the same deal, or something even better, later on.

As the recent Amazon “sale” showed, don’t be swayed by pre-sale marketing.  And if you don’t see anything you really need or like, it’s okay to just walk away.



  1. Erin says

    Thanks for pointing this out, Syed – I couldn’t agree more. I thought this was way over-hyped as well. I checked it out just to see, and couldn’t find anything amazing on sale. I honestly don’t even tend to like the lightning deals Amazon has around the holidays. Most of it isn’t practical, as you said, or it’s an off-brand that’s not good quality. No thanks! It pays to analyze sales.

    • Syed says

      Definitely over hyped. Kind of unlike Amazon usually they don’t do over the top things like this. Hopefully it’s not a new thing.

  2. I’m with you, a sale is only good for me when it’s something I need. Even free stuff that’s not practical isn’t of much use.

    • Syed says

      Coupons can kind of do that too. If I see a coupon is expiring, I feel I need to use it because it will be a “waste”. But I would be wasting money if I didn’t need it in the first place. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Yep, the whole thing was pretty disappointing. Then again, I’m usually kind of underwhelmed by Amazon’s Black Friday deals too. We don’t need electronics, baby items or jewelry, and we don’t buy DVDs/Blu-Rays. So… yeah.

    I always think of Macy’s in these scenarios. Macy’s has a sale just about every weekend. So I consider its sale prices to be the real ones. Which means it takes an especially impressive sale to actually, well, impress me.

    • Syed says

      Exactly when a store always seems to have a sale, I wonder what their real prices are. But they seem to know what they’re doing because people are going to keep buying.

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