Tag Archives: Future Shop

More Retailers Go Bankrupt and You Still Want To Own Gift Cards?

Last Saturday, without notice, Future Shop ceased to exist. Best Buy, the parent company, closed 66 or so stores immediately, and about the same number will be closed for a week, then reopen as Best Buy. Two days earlier, the parent company of Ricki’s, Cleo and Bootlegger filed for bankruptcy. The week before, XS Cargo went under, and Mexx, as well as Jacob’s closed operations in Canada, in addition to the bankruptcy of Target Canada.

These companies going under isn’t something they are going to advertise in advance. So, once again, I’ll ask: Why on earth do you want to own or give any gift cards? You’ve given them your cash which never goes bad, in the hope that store will still be around when you or the recipient of that gift wants to use it? How many more scares do you need to realize gift cards are not your friend. You’re turning cash that can be used anywhere and anytime into an IOU for one specific store, and it’ll be wiped out when those businesses go under.

If you have Target gift cards, you may want to try using them online with Target US. With XS Cargo, Jacob’s, Mexx, Ricki’s, Cleo and Bootlegger you’re out of luck. Since Best Buy didn’t go under yet, the Future Shop gift cards can be used in their stores, so you dodged a big bullet for now. Make this a big heads up to gift cash that doesn’t expire, has no fees or restrictions and doesn’t go bad. Don’t stick someone you’re gifting with something that may be worthless when they want to use it! If you absolutely have to gift a piece of plastic, make it a prepaid Visa or Mastercard. It’ll have an upfront fee of $2 or $3 but that’s buying peace of mind it’ll be good next week or next year!

One more quick thing:

Good bye Suze Orman. She won’t have her CNBC television show anymore. I’m not a fan, but that’s a personal opinion. I lost a lot of respect for her being spokesperson for one of the fastest depreciating vehicle lines in North America. Plus, telling callers to diversify their investments, buy mutual funds, etc. when personally she only has Municipal Bonds as investments. There’s a great Slate Magazine expose on Orman from a few years ago.

When Is A Sale A Deal?

I was wondering the other day when a great deal is really a deal? Is it only when it’s on sale, or when it’s priced right, even without a so-called sale? How conditioned are we that it’s only a deal if it’s advertised at 25, 30 or 40% off?

What got me thinking was trying to buy a TV for my brother at Future Shop. Tuesday two weeks ago, the one I wanted was $319 – I just didn’t have the room in my car. Two days later, when I was a buyer, it was in the flyer and $20 higher! It was now an advertised deal, but at a higher price. When I asked the salesman what the story was, the response he gave me was that “that happens all the time.” There was more to his explanation, but I had already stopped listening.

Chevy in the U.S. has now started something called Total Confidence Pricing. It’s another attempt to get away from rebates and temporary sales such as employee pricing, clearance, or the likes. In Canada GM has tried that two or three times in the last decade or so. How successful will they be this time around when other manufacturers advertise so-called sales? Saturn was based on that concept and never did get much market share with their one price and no haggling and…well, they’re gone.

The giant retailer JC Penny, roughly equivalent to our Bay, last year went to something called everyday value pricing. No more screaming deals for the day or the weekend. They are trying to emulate WalMart-type pricing. As of now, it’s a total failure. Sales were down 19% in the last year and another 21% in the last quarter which just ended. For a retail giant, that’s staggering and frightening. Honest and fair pricing all week and all month isn’t working. Their new CEO is from Apple, but I’m not sure he can turn around a 102 year old company.

We’re not that interested in fair pricing it seems. While the deals at JC Penny, Saturn, and maybe Chevy were fair and good, we want the SALE sign screaming at us. We’re suckers for a sale. As long as it says 40% off, or has a $2,000 rebate, we’re all excited and pull out our credit card, or want to know where we can sign up for the financing. We don’t really know if that’s now a good deal or not, but that sign sure makes us buy.