Why Buy One Get One Free offers aren’t always as good as they seem

A man and woman shopping online with a credit card

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Don’t be tempted by those promotions.


the main points

  • Consumers tend to love the idea of ​​getting things for free.
  • In some cases, BOGO offers aren’t as good as they seem.
  • Items eligible for BOGO offers may be color coded to make up the difference when the item is “free.”

In the world of marketing, there is perhaps no phrase more effective than the word “free”. whether shipping is free, Free returnsor free stuff, consumers tend to love the idea of ​​getting something for nothing.

As such, you’ll often find retailers advertising “buy one, get one free” or BOGO deals. And she may tend to whip you Credit card The next time you see one flash before your eyes.

But falling into the BOGO trap can cost you money in different ways. This is something you should be aware of.

When “free” isn’t really free

The idea of ​​a BOGO deal is simple: buy an item and get an item of equal or lesser value at no cost. If you’re shopping for books and find two novels that you’d like to take home for $9.99, a BOGO deal means spending $9.99 for both instead of $19.98. There is a lot of savings in that, right?

Well, not necessarily. Often, what retailers will do in the context of BOGO deals is mark up the prices of the items they are selling. That $9.99 book you get for free? May retail for $4.99. And in this case, two books at full price are $9.98, which means you’re actually spending a penny more on a bargain pogo.

Of course, this is just one example. However, the point is that often, when something is offered for free on a store or retail site, you pay for it in a less obvious way.

The same can be said about free shipping. Let’s say a certain retailer offers free shipping on purchases of $49 or more, and voila — you find a jacket you love for $49. In this scenario, you might think that you will emerge a winner. You’ll get exactly the item you want, and you won’t see separate shipping charges on your credit card.

But it’s possible that the cost of this jacket was raised from $10 to $15 to cover the cost of shipping it to your home. In that case, did you get free shipping? yes. But did you save money? number.

The same can be said about BOGO offers. You might be paying the equivalent of two items without realizing it (like paying $9.99 for a book that might have a regular price of $4.99). Also, seeing the word “free” may lead you to spend money that you weren’t planning to part with in the beginning. And so in this case, you also do not spare money.

Be careful with BOGO deals

One final thing to keep in mind when looking for and acting on BOGO deals is that even if you’re getting a decent price for the item you’re paying for, if you don’t want a second item, you’re not getting much of a deal. Let’s say you see a BOGO shoe deal at a local store and find a $25 pair of sandals that you want to buy. That could make you eligible to get another $25 pair of shoes at no cost. But if you can’t find something that suits your taste well, what are you really going to get?

Finally, retailers are in the business of making money. And they are very good at doing this. So when you see BOGO deals, don’t assume retailers are throwing you a bone. If anything, they use an old tactic to get you to part with your hard-earned cash.

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