On my author blog a few years ago, I shared a few articles on managing home finances where I didn’t merely discuss savings or budgeting, but when to tell a deal from a ruse.  Those three articles are as follows:

I shared two examples in Part 3 that had been major learning tools in my children’s lives as they were learning how to manage their own finances as teenagers.

A few years later, I ran across a blatant example this very Black Friday weekend!  Not everything touted as a sale, actually truly is a sale!  Sometimes stores will merely place things in a sale flyer to get your attention, rather than have any real correlation to the sale featured by that flyer.  Other times, sales may offer some reduction in price, but only because prices had risen a month or two prior.  Then there is the issue of research!  In today’s example, it must be understood that many Canadians actually go south of the border to go shopping on Black Friday weekend.  To prevent this loss of customers, Canadian stores have begun offering their own Black Friday deals, door crashers, etc.

Staples is one such store to try keeping Canadian shoppers in Canada!  Unfortunately, Staples did not check all potential competing sources for prices before putting their flyer together, because I made the following discovery:

Their photo products mousepad, ornament, blanket, and puzzle at supposedly “sale” prices, are equal to or just a dollar or two less than the same items in my Cafepress store!  Check out these images:


The image to the left is the local Staples flyer for Black Friday weekend.  The image to the right is my comparison drawn between Staples and my store at Cafepress.  This image is taken from a clickable PDF where you can visit the following links:

Mousepads $1 USD more than Black Friday pricing

Ornaments $3+ USD cheaper than Black Friday pricing

Quail Throw blanket $2+ USD more than Black Friday pricing

Quail puzzle similar price USD to Black Friday pricing

The lack of research really shows up when you also consider Cafepress regularly has their own coupon codes across their entire site.  The current site-wide offer: Black Friday Deals! 25% Off* Your Order! Use Code: BLKFRI25 So this makes the above price comparison even more of a goof on Staple’s part!  Canadians can still shop south of the border without ever leaving the comfort of their living rooms!

You’ll hear with various sources that its important to compare apples to apples.  Therefore, I will point out that these prices at these two sites, are using the same feature:  personalized items.  At Cafepress, I have uploaded photos I have taken around my area and turned them into useful products people buy every day in housewares and office supply stores everywhere.  I even have jewelry items personalized for purchase.  Staples doesn’t get into the jewelry, but their photo centre is where their offers on this flyer page are coming from.  You can visit any Staples store, or their online photo centre and create these items to purchase.  You are also able to do that at Cafepress too.  Other online sites also exist for this kind of thing with a friend of mine selling her wares on Zazzle, while I’ve seen local businesses use VistaPrint.

As a consumer in a widely-fluctuating economy, even your Christmas shopping should be shrewdly managed!  Always do your homework before settling on where you’ll spend your holiday budget.  Failure to do so will hoodwink you into believing you got a deal, when in fact the store you shopped at was not really offering a deal at all.