Just a year ago, J.C. Penney’s new CEO, Ron Johnson, promised to do away with that chain’s use of phony sales and “fake prices.” Finally, an honest merchant. What integrity. How pro-consumer. His reward: consumers left in droves and sales plummeted.
Now one year later, guess what’s coming back? Although not to the same degree, the chain is re-introducing sales, and has begun making price comparisons again to prices it never charged.
Here is a sample item from their website:
This shirt is being offered at its regular price of $25, but just above it is a $34 price crossed out, described as “$34 elsewhere.” Well guess what, this shirt is NOT $34 elsewhere because this is JCP’s own brand and it is not sold elsewhere. So what does “elsewhere” mean?
JCP says it means the price for the same item or a comparable item at some other seller. To the average person, “elsewhere” in this context most likely is understood to mean that that item sells elsewhere for such and such a price. If JCP wants to refer to the price of a similar quality item elsewhere, they should use the more commonly understood term for that — “comparable value” or “compare at” — as you might see at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.
Now, moving over to JCP’s jewelry department, if you are shopping there for Valentine’s Day, heaven help you, because they have a new type of price comparison for jewelry — “appraised value.” The lengthy definition is above.
It is unfortunate that JCP has taken a step backwards to once again make price comparisons to inflated prices it never charged, but we, as consumers, are really to blame. We just love a bargain, even when it is a phony one.