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Shirlee Smith | Taken for a Ride and Not on a One Horse Sleigh

Published on Sunday, December 11, 2016 | 5:52 pm

Not only will the stockings be hung by the chimney with care expecting St. Nicholas to soon be there, but so to have the price tags been hung on department store items expecting some unaware shoppers will soon be there – scooping up sale items with extra dollars to spare.

Geez, it seems far better to hang with the Santa Clause myth then to trust the big merchants with their greedy hands digging in our purses.

Sears, JC Penney, Kohl’s and Macy’s seem not to be a holiday shopper’s best friend, claiming sale items have been marked down from prices that never existed.

Would this mean shoppers have been duped? Does this mean we can’t believe in the cost of goods as they’re marked?

The bust by Los Angeles City Attorney, Michael Feuer, isn’t just nabbing these bad guys but having us see it as a lesson regarding the old adage “If it seems too good to be true – it probably isn’t true.”

According to news reports, Feuer has said these retailers falsely advertised higher regular prices for merchandise so customers believed they were getting bigger bargains.

There are laws in California that were established to keep retailers from advertising a higher original price unless the items were actually sold at that price within three months of the discount ad.

Sears, Kohl’s and the rest of the unscrupulous bunch who are being sued by Los Angeles prosecutors weren’t offering the bargain shoppers were no doubt lured into their stores by. Instead, they violated the trust that, unfortunately, is given to them and, by the way, they broke the law.

It pays (pardon the use of the word here) to scout for merchandise long before we’re ready for the purchase in order to actually know the original cost so as to not be fooled by a “mark-down” Holiday Special”.

Well, how many of us do that? And, if so, does it work?

There are lots of culprits out there pulling the same kind of “take the public for a ride” shenanigans as those “outed” by Feuer.

Apple product with a special price? My daughter, the lover of all things Apple, who I’m happy to say doesn’t have the budget to afford most of the gadgets, told me of her dismay.

She’d been watching the price of the wanted “toy” and was overjoyed when the cost dropped.

Ah, but only weeks after her purchase, the newer model was released.

My grandson with an AT&T phone plan couldn’t believe, and neither could I, the list of charges that got tagged on to what initially seemed a simple transaction.

The Macy’s/Sears/Kohl’s/JC Penney outing is an opportunity for a good family discussion on how we’re all being taken for a ride and NOT on Santa’s sleigh.


Shirlee Smith is a former Pasadena Star-News Opinion Columnist. She is a Los Angeles Press Club first place awardee and author of They’re Your Kids, Not Your Friends and the Spanish edition, “Son Tus Hijos, No Tus Amigos.” Smith can be reached by email at





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