Do You Shop at Target? (Vent)

Updated on May 10, 2012
C.V. asks from Pacific Palisades, CA
18 answers

I love Target and i've been shopping there for a long time, but lately something they've been doing with their prices is irritating the heck out of me. Ok when i shop I automatically tend to look for sale prices. Recently Target has been pulling this trick of putting the 'now' price tag clipped in front of the old one on the shelves. Only the 'was' tag has the same exact price!
I'll give an example: Let's say a box of cereal has a tag on the shelf in front of it and it says 'was $4.29, now $3.99'. Behind it is the old tag, i move the new tag over to see it was always $3.99! Or sometimes it doesn't say a 'was' price, it just says 'now $3.99' and is advertised as a Price Cut with a big yellow tag. Again if i move the tag over the old tag was $3.99 too! Grrrrr this is so annoying, mostly because i feel like they are trying to fool their customers. I mean i'm not that bent over saving 30 cents, if i want that particular item bad enough, i'll buy it anyway. But isn't this false advertising? I've been shopping at Target long enough to know they always used to advertise properly where the higher price was behind the new tag. Do all Targets do this or have you ever noticed?
ETA: I did ask a sales associate one time about it and he was ready with a whole spiel about how the price was higher but the tags were already printed blah, blah blah. i stopped listening because it was too assanine. I know it's a tactic to get the customer to think they're getting a new, lower price and therefore are getting a great deal so it's like a pretend sale when they're not really having one. Maybe i'm oblivious, but i haven't noticed this anywhere else. Shouldn't this be illegal? Last time i got so fed up of seeing so many of these i moved a bunch over to expose the 'was' price and wrote a note on one tag saying it was false advertising! Lol
Bug, yes i know about the supermarket indirect tricks like that, but this is a direct flat out lie, like they didn't even try that hard.
Jo W. I love Kohls, but i do know how their prices are always so hiked up for a pair of pants or a shirt, that when they go 'on sale' and i get my 20% off email is the only time i'll buy them. It's like the sale price should be the regular price. Again, trying to fool the customer, but hey at least they make the effort to put the original price higher lol.
InMy30'sAlready yes!! forgot to mention that one bugs me more probably than the tags!! it's gotten so bad i have to watch each and every item ring up to make sure they don't overcharge!

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So What Happened?

The story of putting the new tag under the new tag sounds believable at first, maybe that's what they tell their employees and customers who haven't been shopping at Target for a long time, however this happens on items i've been buying for a long time, like months, even years. So i am aware of what the price has been all long.
It's because i do know my prices that this bothers me. I know that most of these haven't been a recent change because i've been paying for them all along.
Ok last example: I've been buying soup at Target for a long time. It's been $1.89 for a can for months now, not a new thing. So just the other day i saw several signs on that brand of soup saying 'now $1.89' when it has always been $1.89! It is a trick. The reason i said i look for sale signs is because Target used to be reliable about this and if i saw from a distance a clipped on tag over the old tag i knew i was getting a better deal. But now i'm so used to this crap it doesn't excite me anymore to see a clipped on tag. Lol Oh well, Target is still cheaper than the grocery stores on a lot of my favorite items so i can't say i'll be going on strike anytime soon.

Featured Answers



answers from San Antonio on

Before you get too upset, I noticed it too, so I asked my cousin about it, who is a manager there. She said that when the put the new "Now" price tag up, which really is a discounted price, they replace the old tag below it at the same time. The reason why is that they only leave the "Now" special tags up for a short period of time, usually a week to two weeks, so when they have overnight ppl take them down, they just pull the "Now" tag, and leave the updated price tag below. It makes their system easier.
Hope that helps. :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Ditto to 2txtots. The "now" price or the price cut price tag is an *advertisement* of the new price. After a while, if the price remains at that "now" price, all they have to do is remove the extra tag.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Cincinnati on

Ummmm I use to work at Target (and Kmart and Pamida both which did this) and what we did was we were required to put on new shelf tags as soon as the price changed, and then we would put a tag on top of it showing what the old price was (before the price change) and the new price so people wouldn't be pulling the new temporary tags off to see what the actual price is. It is not a trick. Do you know how much work goes into price changes.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I shop by price and not how the price is presented. I mean look at Kohls, they put a regular price of 40 with 25% off all the time, great deal right, always on sale. Except at Macy's the regular price is 30 for the exact same clothing item. So 25% off at Macy's is cheaper than the 10% on top of the "sale" price at Kohls.

So I guess I am saying know your prices and this won't bother you at all. :)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

It is annoying! Ya know what else they do (that they have done for YEARS) is sometimes they *ooops* forgot to put the sale price in the computer, so if you don't check you would not be aware that you didn't get the sale price on your item and they always say 'Oops, must not have got scanned into the system yet'!

This bugs my husband something FIERCE! A few years back he made us go back to the store 4 days in a row just to prove a point because they had failed to put the sale price for a 12 pk of Pepsi in the computer...arg! On the fourth day he brought in all the receipts and made a big stink about how they had *oops forgot* for all these days in a row, even though he had brought it to their attention every time! SO embarrassing! But he was right!

~I LOVE LOVE LOVE Target and have been shopping at them since I was a tween, it was my cousin's favorite store way back in the day I give them the benefit of the doubt!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

It's a psychological ploy. Research show them that if we think we're paying less we buy, period. I've seen this tactic in stores other than Target as well. It's akin to what manufacturers have been doing for years, instead of raising the price on an item they shrink the package, box, or container so you are getting less for the same price as before. Take a look at the next carton of ice cream you buy, they're no longer a half gallon/64 ounces, they're now 48 ounces. But still the same price.

The bottom line is if an item is offered at a good price, I buy. If not, I don't. I love Target and get some wonderful deals there, but I don't buy everything there. And, I have been watching cashiers ring up my purchases for years no matter the store, overcharging is nothing new :(

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I noticed that too. But the most frustrating thing to me is that Target doesn't really have a regular price on any item any more. The prices C. each week on many items, even if they aren't on sale.

For example, their Land O'Lakes butter is usually somewhere around $4.00. But if it is on sale at a competing grocery store for $3.00, the "regular" price is $3.25 at Target. I think, "oh good, I'll just buy butter here at Target two weeks from now when I actually need it." But then when it goes back up in price at the other stores, it is back to $4 or higher at Target.

They are meticulous at checking the prices of their competition and pricing their items accordingly. But it makes it almost impossible to know what their regular prices are. This is why I rarely do my grocery shopping there any more. Unless it is on sale, and I get to stack my coupons there, it usually isn't a bargain. And meanwhile, I put too many impulse items into my cart ;-)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

We're all just gonna have to get second and third way around it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

Many places do use this tactic. Now for a fun kicker compare instore prices to online prices they don't match either for many prices or they will be online only sigh

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I haven't noticed this.... but I agree that it is false advertising and I would be frustrated. I would probably say something.

Next time I'm at Target (oh, who I am fooling.... I'll be there tonight. on my way home from I'm going to look at see if they do that where I am as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Actually, there are laws about what retailers can do with respect to a sales price. I don't know if applies in this case, since Target is just notifying of a (supposed) price change and that may not be the same as a sale.

The laws may vary by state, but you can see a summary of CA laws here:

Other than filing a complaint though, I'm not sure what you can do.

Also there are also laws with respect to the price scanned at the register having to match the shelf price. In some states, people are entitled to get the item free or up to some small dollar amount, but that's not true everywhere. I recall that you would need to complain to the store and then maybe to Weights & Measures or someplace like that.

I don't usually remember all the shelf prices of the items I'm buying so I wouldn't notice if I'm getting ripped off unless I'm only buying a couple items or there was one special item that I was scrutinizing the price of when I decided to buy it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Stores have done this for years. They jack up prices to make the "new" price seem like a bargain when it really isn't. I don't know if it's illegal. But the phrase "caveat emptor" hasn't been around for no reason (even though this isn't in the strict definition of the phrase): let the buyer beware!

Stores are even laid out to encourage the buyer to spend more. It's reasonable for them to do, if you look at it from the store's point of view.

Target and Walmart are doing something else interesting. We are generally accustomed to think that a larger size of a product (say, laundry detergent or butter) is more economical. Not so. Do the math, and you'll find that some larger sizes are costlier by at least a penny or two.

You could write to the Target customer relations office, armed with specific instances, items, and price changes (accompanied with photographs?). I don't know if it would do any good, but at least you'd be informing them that this practice doesn't go unnoticed.



answers from Phoenix on




answers from Champaign on

I bought a table and chairs at ShopKo for $199, regularly $249. The 2 ShopKos near us were closing, so everything was 50% off. That same table had a sign on it saying, "Half off, regular price $700!" I did buy something during their closing. I think most of the items were a good deal, but I'm pretty sure I paid too much for a backpack. Live and learn :-)



answers from Jacksonville on

There is a Target near my house and another near my work. They have different prices for things. The main one I've noticed is the Target formula is $2 less at the Target near my work, so I buy it there. Target had a sale on formula and the sale price was the same price as the one store, but was actually a sale at the other store, so for that Target the tags would like look like it's not on sale. It could be something like that.



answers from Seattle on

My husband did POS at QFC/Kroger. When he was putting up tags the old price goes away, new price on, ad for new price on top. He used to get asked that Q all the time. Often, he'd still have the old sticker in his pocket so could just show people the old price sticker. Krogers stickers are always dated.

I've taken some 'Fail' photos of pricing goofs from time to time.
Theyre hilarious.



answers from Dallas on

Evevry single grocery store fools their customers with advertising. The set up of the store, the placement of the items on shelves, the wordage. Target and every other store has been doing this for years!!

Why do you think stores put milk, eggs, and bread in the back of the store? So you'll pass everything and make additional purchases. My mother works at a grocery store, and she said they actually lose money on every gallon of milk. They rely on additional purchases, to make their money. (Hence, it being at the back.) Everything is a trick, to get more money. You can't walk into any store that doesn't have "false advertising" or little tricks like that.



answers from Washington DC on

I don't usually shop Target for food items. But I think that if you notice this, take some pictures and do a write up for the local paper or contact corporate about it. I've often found that when I complain or inquire about something, most companies like to make it right.

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