American Eagle Outfitters / advertising
After Christmas AE stores (at least three that I personally shopped so I am assuming company wide) displayed giant red signs advertising "Additional 60 percent off Clearance." But when I located some items I wished to purchase there was no mark down price, only a sticker identifying the item as clearance. The item rang up 60 percent off the original price and none of the three stores would give the additional 60 percent off that was advertised. The poor employees tried to explain that it really was an additional 60 percent off somehow if the original price.
This is false advertising. There's no way to justify claiming items are an additional percentage off an original price. That's just playing mind games. It's obvious why the company is doing this. They think they can lure customers into the store thinking they are going to get a really great deal- an additional discount- something extra- and then it's just the regular sale deal.
I would have no problem AT ALL if the sign said Clearance items 60 percent off. I would have bought the merchandise. But because the company is deliberately playing a mind game with customers and holding to get away with it- banking on the fact that either customers will not do the math or that customers will just shrug and buy the stuff anyway because it's a good deal is dishonest business practice. It works because most people are too busy or too tired or just don't care enough to complain. And it's not the poor sales associates fault, but it is embarrassing for them and unfair to them to make them try to explain how somehow there's not a problem here.
I was shopping one day and would not have gone in the store at all but for the sign. The sign is the only thing that got me in the door. I refused to buy anything because I felt manipulated and was frankly outraged. I haven't seen any other businesses of a similar type trying to deceive customers this way. And it's just so unnecessary. I have been a loyal customer for decades clothing three kids with your merchandise and wearing only AE jeans myself for decades. The product is good. There's no need to manipulate people.
I am torn because I love the jeans. They are really the only ones I wear. But because of this I feel like I should boycott the store, file a complaint with BBB, and out on Facebook and Twitter and I atacaran etc the picture of the big, red sign falsely advertising an additional 60 percent off when everything was ONLY 60 percent off.
Again, I want to emphasize, it's the manipulation and the dishonesty and the position you put your poor employees in that bothers me. They don't get paid enough to deal with irate customers but every one of those young women tried to defend this practice, tried and failed to somehow say it wasn't deceptive. As I said, if the sign had said 6o percent off clearance, I would have no issue at all. I have spent thousands of dollars in your stores over the years. Five figures easily. And this is how you repay your loyal customers. Not one store I shoooed in would give me an additional 60 percent off which they should have when I pointed it out. They said they could not do that. But any other store would have done so if a customer complained even though it didn't automatically ring up that way. Obviously you weren't going to mark down merchandise 69 percent and then give another sixty percent. You had no intention of doing that.
But that's what should have happened because that's what was advertised. If the sign advertised 60 percent off the original- incidentally other signs did do that or merely said SALE 69 percent off- no problem. THhis is what I have seen in the past. I am baffled that some genious in your corporation came up with this idea and somehow everyone was on board. Shame on you. Your sustainers deserve better. Your target demographic is mostly young people who come from middle class families struggling to make ends meet and dress their kids in good clothes that peers will accept. Yes, these people need a good deal and when they see that big word ADDITIONAL they will beer right into the store like I did.
It's just really disheartening and disgusting not to mention really bad business. I spent so much money in your store before Christmas. I bought new wardrobes for both of my daughters for Christmas almost exclusively at your store as well as jeans for myself. It saddens me to think I will have to go to places like Fireber 21 or Aeropostale or Just about ANY department store that doesn't try to manipulate people or at the very least when called out on it gives the customer what the sign advertises. Your employees should be taught this and that the customer is right, especially when the customer IS right. But these kids, mostly college and high school kids had no power to do so and were too terrified of losing their minimum wage job while the corporation makes billions and leaves them to deal with angry people who feel cheated.
It's a real shame all the way around. I complained at all three stores and called customer service. No one seemed to be able to remedy this situation to my satisfaction. Take the signs down or start giving people the additional percent off the markdown. And please don't try to say that the sign is not false. It's linguisticslly and logically impossible to say that it is. There's only one reason that sign is there. To manipulate and deceive for the almighty dollar. I thought AE had more class than that.
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