13 Things Your Mall Salesperson Won’t Tell You

We talked to the folks at your local malls to get the lowdown on sneaky, smart ways you can save money when shopping.

By Michelle Crouch
Also in Reader's Digest Magazine December 2012
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    1. If your cart is vibrating, proceed with caution.

    Some retailers are adding raised floor tiles and carpet to certain areas because they make you walk more slowly, giving you extra time to check out the goods. Studies show it can boost your spending by up to 8 percent.

    2. If you can, skip the shopping cart altogether, or at least carry a smaller basket.

    Studies show that you up to 40 percent more if we double the size of your cart, because you subconsciously want to fill it.

    3. When you find what you’re looking for, use a price-comparison app like RedLaser or Google Shopper to else if the same item is cheaper somewhere else.

    You can also ask the salesperson to call you if the price drops.

    4. We often have better deals on weekdays.

    That’s when new merchandise comes, so we do markdowns then. Plus, store traffic is slow and we’re trying to bring people into the store.

    5. If something sold at a mall kiosk catches your eye, remember this:

    Kiosks pay the highest rent per sqare foot, so chances are you’re not getting a bargain.

    6. Just because something is at the end of an aisle with a big, bold price tag doesn’t mean it’s on sale.

    Manufacturers pay for the privilege of being there.

    7. Please do invite your friend or husband to join you at the mall.

    When you have company, you always buy more.

    8. Don’t be too surprised at poor customer service.

    Most retailers barely train their workers, pay them close to minimum wage, and ask them to do everything from cleaning toilets to unloading merchandise. The average length of employment: 90 days.

    9. There’s a reason we call our register displays “impulse towers.”

    Avoid them.

    10. Clearance areas are designed to make you feel like you’re on a treasure hunt.

    There are some amazing buys. But we also know that after searching the racks for 20 minutes, you’ll likely decide something is a treasure even if it isn’t.

    11. After you buy something, keep your receipt and pay attention.

    If the price drops within a certain number of days, many of us will refund the difference.

    12. Want to avoid the mall?

    Order online. December 18 is free shipping day. More than 1,000 retailers offer free shipping and promise delivery by Christmas Eve. Find out more at freeshippingday.com.

    13. When you’re ordering online, especially if you’re shopping for jewelry, here’s a tip for just before you hit “place your order”: Cancel it.

    Some retailers will send you a person email a few minutes later offering a 10 or 15 percent discount if you go back and make the purchase.


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    Your Comments

    • Jade

      I don’t agree with the one that says to ask the store to call you if the price drops. The standard department store just can’t keep track of that when they have hourly employees cycling through different days, and it’s not our responsibility to monitor prices for you. If you want a good deal, you have to do the shopping around yourself.

    • missy

      I’d like to know how a salesperson is supposed to keep track of one item among the hundreds a store carries, and one customer among thousands that tramp through the mall every day. And make a phone call for someone who will probably never come back in for the deal anyway.

    • Peedmar

      Why are there so many grammar/spelling mistakes in this article?

      • chris

        Another fine example of an intern doing their bosses job. And boss on another vacation. Or it’s just another example of my finely educated American countryman. It’s sad that I barely graduated high school and I know how to proof read. Yet I’d bet this person went to collage.

        • kijawa


        • Ryan Lavine


        • Ryan Lavine


    • hockeyhouse

      I’m obviously not normal; I laugh at #1 and #10.  Also, someone needs to proofread because half of these had typos.

    • Joe

      I agree on the training part. Too many times, people think of us as the engineers or designers of a product, when in reality, we receive little initial product training, yet are only trained to check stock, ring you up, and harass you on opening up a credit card account.

    • Helena

      I def. agree with #8. The employer pisses off the employee so much they quit in less than 90 days or either the employer fires them for no reason. 

      • chris

        That’s because most companies give pay raises after 90 days. And they make you quit so they don’t have to pay up. Low skilled people are cheaper than a dime a dozen in high population areas. “Use them like cheap toilet paper, you can always get more.”

    • Daphne Davis

       There is a mall in my city. I was born in 1987. I have an older sister, Elizabeth. Alex Clark has a younger brother, Greyson. Ryan has an older sister, Raegan. Sylvester Toe Jr. has an older sister, Cassandra. Alex Clark was a girl in my church. Cassie Toe was a girl in my father’s church. Cassie Toe is Sylvester Toe Jr.’s older sister. Ryan is the younger daughter of Brandy Wilbourn. Last year, Ryan didn’t read very well. Alex Clark is Greyson Clark’s older sister. Jeannie Smith had an older sister, Sharon. Jeannie Smith and her husband sold their house to strangers.