The Three Biggest Lies Outlet Malls Will Try to Sell You

How retailers will try to trick you out of your hard earned cash

I spent an afternoon shopping at Sawgrass Mills, one of the nation’s most renowned shopping outlets known for its high quality goods at discounted prices – and I quickly found myself disillusioned.

Before you decide to spend your hard earned cash at an outlet, be careful not to fall into one of these three traps.

1. You’re getting high quality products at a discount.

While a few items will be overstocked clothing from the retailer, a huge majority will have been manufactured with the purpose of being sold at an outlet mall. That means less quality material and less quality construction. For example, wandering inside of the Bloomingdales Outlet, I found a dress that looked very similar to one I had seen  online.

However, the integrity of this particular Calvin Klein ombre animal print dress was swiftly put into question. While on paper, the description of these dresses sound identical, the craftsmanship of this version was definitely lacking compared to the original.

2. All of the stores are outlets.

This may seem like a no brainer, but you should make sure the store you’re entering is actually an outlet. Though every store you encounter in the mall will boast multiple displays advertising “discounted” prices, there’s probably a 50/50 chance that the store isn’t actually an outlet or factory. In the US, there are no legal guidelines for what can and can’t be advertised as an outlet mall, but it generally describes a shopping center where at least half of the stores sell discounted items.

Walking around Sawgrass, it seemed unlikely that it had even reached that quota. While there were outlets, each one was strategically spread out from the rest, requiring you to walk about a mile (literally) in order to reach all of them. It would be all too easy to  wander into a store advertising up to 50% off prices (on select products, of course) thinking that you’ll save money within the entire store.

3. You’re saving money.

Oh, MSRP. How you misguide us.  While in Saks off 5th, I found myself impressed by the low prices, especially on handbags. A Rebecca Minkoff tote worth $375 for only $190? That was nearly a 50% price reduction, and well worth the money…. Or so I thought, before I did a quick Google search.

The same bag in black was on sale on the website for $130. What’s worst? The original price was $195! Had I bought it, I would’ve only saved five dollars and would’ve paid $60 more than the purse was currently worth. The thing about MSRP(manufacture’s suggested retail price) is that it doesn’t actually mean anything. A manufacturer could technically suggest that a pack of toothpicks is worth $1,000,000, but you’re getting it for a bargain at $1.50.

If you don’t make the effort to check the prices before your buy, you could essentially be paying full retail price at these “bargain” locations.