Are Outlet Malls For Suckers?

2:13 PM

Factory stores' price markdowns are alluring, but those 'deals' are often less than they seem. Getting your money's worth takes a little legwork. Americans have a long-standing love affair with bargains. Look no further than the warehouse clubs, discount stores and outlet malls that carpet the country.
But in a persuasive new book, "Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture," Ellen Ruppel Shell, a correspondent for The Atlantic, describes the web of marketing and manipulation that discount retailers use to drain cash from your wallet.
Outlet malls are among the worst offenders, Shell says, with their glittering promises of "the very best quality, at the very lowest prices."
Ironically, she asserts, they offer neither: Outlet malls are like fun houses that play on shoppers' distorted perceptions of luxury, value and price.
"People are not questioning the quality at these designer outlets; they're not questioning the 'low prices,' so it's a bonanza for retailers," Shell said in a recent interview.
To truly get your money's worth, it pays to learn more about the outlet game.
20% off? I'll take it! You don't have to tell me about the perils of outlet malls. I live about an hour and a half from one of the biggest: the famed Woodbury Common, home to 220 "premium" outlet stores.
On my first trip there, about 10 years ago, I was single and shopping under the influence of the "Sex and the City" culture. I loved it.

Read More at MSN.COM. Article by MP Dunleavey

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