Are Black Friday sales really good deals?

Reports raise new questions


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 29, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHARLES PAYNE, GUEST HOST: So, here's the question, guys. Is what you see really what you get?

One report labeling holiday sales as -- quote -- "dirty lies," but another claiming those Black Friday discounts, they're concocted.

Kristin Bentz says, you know, it really doesn't matter if they are. But Lyss Stern disagrees.

I want to start with you, Kristin. Why do you say it doesn't matter? I mean, a lot of people see the signs for sale, they go out there, they brave all the madness, if you will, to get those would-be discounts.

KRISTIN BENTZ, PRESIDENT, TALENTED BLONDE, LLC: Well, you know, it just goes back to caveat emptor, buyer beware. A suggested retail price, the SRP, when you are buying something online or in a store, that's what it is. It's suggested. So, companies and retailers can basically do whatever they want to suggest a price that they think you should pay for an item. That's their prerogative.

PAYNE: I don't know.

Lyss, it's kind of like the old bait and switch kind of thing, though, no?


I actually think that if you're going to go into one of these stores and you think that you're going to be getting a deal, a really good deal, you should know ahead of time what you're doing and do your research, because a lot of times -- for instance, my husband went into one of the big stores last night to go buy a big ticket item. And it really wasn't discounted as much as it should have been.

I said to him, no, you should have done your research online ahead of time, because you think you're going to go into these stores, you think you're going to find all these amazing discounts and big ticket prices because it's Black Friday. However, you need to know ahead of time what you're getting yourself into.

PAYNE: So, essentially, though, you are agreeing with Kristin then. It's on the shopper to do their work?

STERN: The shopper has to do their research.

And I also though believe that the store has to be up front with what they're going to be discounting. They have to tell you ahead of time what they're discounting.

PAYNE: But, Kristin, are they really lying out there? I mean, when I think -- I hear a lot is that they will say, we have got X, Y, Z on sale, but they will have five in stock. Once they're sold out, and you're in the store, hey, you're there, you might as well buy something else.

BENTZ: Exactly. We want you to come into the store. We're going to entice you with what we call loss leaders, OK, something that is heavily discounted, and we want you to buy price. We want you to get in there and get emotional, and smell the cinnamon and the Cinnabon rolls cooking, and we want you to buy the entire store at full price.

So, you know, actually, the thing is, you can't tell, Joe consumer, what retailers have hiked their prices up the week before a holiday sale to afford those 25 percent, 50 percent off and 65 percent discounts. You don't know that as a consumer. And that's what we do. We want to make sure that we protect our margins, Mr. Retail Store.

So, I mean, whatever they're offering at a percentage off is exactly that. You just don't know what the original selling price was. And you will probably never know that.

PAYNE: Here's the thing, though, Lyss.


PAYNE: There's a lot of information out there, more so than ever before.

STERN: Correct.

PAYNE: And there's a lot of websites dedicated to stuff like this. It is shame on you if you don't know.


And it -- not only that, you also have to do your research, you have to know what's going on. And there are all these -- I can't even tell you how many -- I got -- I received 100 e-mails before the time I even woke up yesterday morning of all these sales that were going on.

Half of them weren't even legit. Half of them aren't even real sales. So, we as the consumer need to know and we...


PAYNE: You said they're not real sales.


PAYNE: And Kristin was saying they bump up the price where from where it was maybe a month ago, and then they discount it from this new much higher price level.

STERN: I had several of those. And I also I had several spam e- mails, where they were literally -- they weren't even real stores. They were fake stores, what they talked about before, a fake Wal-Mart that was coming -- emailing, somehow got I guess hundreds of thousands of our emails, and was sending us emails about these sales.

PAYNE: Right.


STERN: This wasn't even a real store.

PAYNE: Well...


STERN: So, we have to -- we as the consumer really need to be conscious about what emails we're opening, doing our research, doing our due diligence before we go shopping.

PAYNE: This shopping thing is a lot of work.


PAYNE: I got to tell you.

You know, the retailers of the world would be happy with a guy like me, because I'm out on Christmas Eve, 6 o'clock, and I'm overpaying for everything.


PAYNE: All right, Lyss, thank you very much.

The Talented Blonde, see you again real soon.

BENTZ: See you soon.

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