Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sales in Japan

One of the interesting things about sales in Japan is that occasionally you will find things "on sale" for the same price as before the sale. Often this is after a 30% discount.

One example is a bike store I usually shop at. This store always discounts most bikes and parts. The discount price is exactly the same as other discount bike shops. A few weeks ago, the one in Akasaka-mitsuke, Tokyo (Y's Bike Academy) had such a "sale." Most of the discounted prices were the same as before, but I noticed that they had raised the "regular" price, thus giving the 30% discount that they advertised. I told some Japanese friends about this and they said it is common.

Another thing you have to watch for is at department stores during year-end sales. They will bring in merchandise from somewhere else and put a nice red discount price on it. There may be no mention of a regular price. In my experience, this stuff is usually some cheap junk not even worth the sale price. I suspect that if they stocked it regularly at that price they could never sale any.

All of this is apparently legal in Japan. Even if it isn't, like most things in Japan, you can openly violate the law unless you piss off the wrong person (the wrong person isn't likely the average citizen) and then they will come after you. But they will only come after one violator. It is rare that they would try to clean up a whole industry even if the violations were widespread.

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