Does BIG 5 SPORTING GOODS Use Deceptive Price Tag Tactics?

by on April 23, 2015

in consumer

Big Five Price Tag Redirect - disappointing

There is an update (4-24-15) to this event appended to this tale of angst, and the problem was resolved.

This is a tale of what seemed like a “curious” experience with my local Big 5 Sporting Goods store and what seemed like questionable labeling tactics with their merchandise. It pretty much ruined my day with the level of disappointment we experienced.

It was a Saturday night (4-18-15), about 7:45pm, when I visited my local Big 5 Sporting goods store here in Morgan Hill, CA, off of Cochrane. We were returning because we had spotted some tennis shoes (Asics) that were on sale the night before, but tonight we had brought a coupon with us that said we could get an additional $10 off any purchase over $45. It seemed like a pretty good deal.

Big Five Price Tag Redirect - tag

The shoes in question were marked with a bright green sticker of $59.96. Next to the price was another sticker that said take an additional 20% off.

Big Five Price Tag Redirect - sale

In my mind, the box is marked as is and the yellow sticker said I can take 20% more off that price. And after the $10 discount coupon in my possesion, I was ready to seal the deal!

The first snag:

First thing that happened was when the manager was called over by the cashier, the manager pointed out curtly that the very first item that was excluded on my coupon were clearance items.

Nowhere on the shoe box did it say clearance. It appeared to be just on sale. But I was “educated” that green stickers are clearance stickers or at least that was my assumption.


But at least there’s that sticker that implies that I can take an additional 20% off the price. Right?

The second snag:

When I asked or looked to verify what the cost of the shoes would be with the extra 20% off, I was again “educated” by the cashier that the sticker price already included that 20% off.

That’s when I started thinking “WTF?”

Nowhere on the box did it say that this second sticker implied that the price on the “clearance” price tag was after that “additional 20% off” sticker.

As far as I am concerned, now we’re talking misrepresentation of a sticker price. Or misleading price marking.

My experience with Big 5 was a double fail, from learning that green stickers were clearance sale stickers, excluding them from the seemingly super cool coupon I had, and then to find out that the “take 20% more” sticker did not mean what it said nor apply to the price I was looking at on the product box pretty much sealed my mindset.

They said I should keep the coupon because it does not expire until… I tuned them out at that stage of the game and the manager of the store, in his good looking bow-tie, just set back to what he was doing since we were done with them and he was done educating us.

In my mind, I was just hit with multiple misleading representations of a sticker price. This experience also had me wondering exactly how many people find themselves in the same situation after being baited by all the good sales opportunities but decide it is only a few dollars, so “why not buy it” any way?

Well, I’ve been educated by this experience at Big 5 Sporting Goods, that is for sure. More than likely I will never go back to this franchise again. I do not need to stung twice.

UPDATE 4-24-15:

There are times when it does help to contact the company you have had a problem with and give them a chance to set things right, if they’re willing. In this case, they were.

A few days after this event (yesterday) I went to their website, loaded up the ‘contact us’ web page and filled out the page, sharing the link to this consumer experience. The very next day (today) I received two voice mails and one email from one of their operations manager. She confirmed that the marking of clearance items does need to be improved, that my perception about the extra 20% off sticker was indeed supposed to be discounted from the sticker price on the box. She said that the discounted price should have come up when the box was scanned.

After chatting with the manager, we realized that the clerk never scanned the product and I never asked.

But the Big 5 operations manager handling my situation made things right for me. She had the store find the shoes and hold them for me, honor the right price and additionally, to honor the coupon I tried to use that other night.

It is nice to have some faith restored in the system after such a disappointing event.

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