Why “Buy one, get one free” isn’t a great deal


This is a coupon for Burger King’s Croissan’wich,
and it’s promoting a buy one get one deal. Buy one breakfast sandwich at full price get
a second. But one customer found that something was off about the deal:
when she was charged two different prices for the sandwich. When she ordered a single
sandwich, the price was $2.16. But when she ordered two sandwiches and used
the BOGO coupon the price of each sandwich was $3.19, more than a
dollar more. This went on for years before Burger King
was sued for overcharging customers. BOGO is so appealing that it’s hard for consumers
to see it for what it is. Buy one, get one. It’s a thinly veiled attempt to convince a
customer to buy more than one item at a time. For a thrifty shopper, BOGO can sound like the best way to get more
bang for their buck, but often it’s simply not as good a deal as it appears. Consumers perceive the quality of a bargain
based on the price they pay compared to the original list price. Take this food processor on Amazon for example. The price on sale is $35, an amazing 52%
off the $75 dollar list price. The problem is that Cuisinart doesn’t list
the item for Amazon’s regular price and based on an analysis of tracked prices over time,
Amazon has never sold it for more than $40 in the past 10 years. The cheating that goes on is rampant. Retailers are guilty, often, of distorting the
regular price, raising the regular price. And several companies have been caught distorting
prices in conjunction with BOGO offers. The suit accuses Visionworks of inflating
the price of the first pair of glasses to partly cover the costs of the second, supposedly
free pair, making it not actually free. It can be hard for consumers to tell whether
BOGO is fair or deceptive and often their judgment is clouded by one four letter word: Free. I mean, free is a tremendous motivational trigger
and they like the opportunity to expand the deal by buying more than one of an item. Very often consumers don’t do the math. Buying more than one item means consumers spend more money than they intended. Not less. For example, say you want to buy a sweater
that’s normally $80. Sweater A is listed at a 20% discount. Sweater B is listed
at full price, but has a buy one, get one free deal. While the second option may get you two
sweaters, you’ve just spent more in total than if you
just focused on the 20% discount. Let’s say those sweaters are on a buy one
get one 50% off deal. Option one you buy one sweater for $80 dollars. Option
two, the first sweater would be $80 dollars and the second would be half off. Translated
into a straight discount, the total saved from the BOGO deal would be
the same as a 25% off deal, but the amount of money you spend in store has grown,
because you bought two items. Some BOGO deals only apply to items with lesser value. For example if you buy that same sweater and
a $10 dollar pair of socks you still pay $80 for your total purchase. If you decide to get a sweater and $150
coat, the sweater would be counted as the free item and you’d still be shelling out $150. For most deals, you’re better off waiting for the one item
you wanted to go on sale rather than purchasing it through a BOGO deal. Customers… I won’t say “fall for it,” but they go
for it nonetheless. BOGO disguises the fact that, unless you already
intended to buy two items, it really isn’t all that big of a discount. So BOGO deals can be fantastic if you’re a
shopper looking to buy in bulk and stretch your dollar. But for most of us, free isn’t always the best
option. Well, just do the math. If it looks too good to be true it’s too good
to be true.

100 comments on “Why “Buy one, get one free” isn’t a great deal

  1. Ity`s funny that these practises are only possible in the US, here in the EU not only companies don`t even think about doing it, but if they ever did that, they would be caught right away.

  2. I only fall for bogo deals if I know I use the product regularly or i know I need more than one. But they're right its running up my bill and I should be buying less items. period.

  3. Don't customers become smarter over time ? Since BOGO has been going on for so long, we should have become smarter by now.

  4. I use to work at Payless and we had the BOGO deal buy a pair of shoes and getting the second ones (of less price) half off. THE THING IS…..the prices during BOGO would go up and sometimes up to regular price …..so honestly the worst time to buy shoes was during BOGO : /

  5. No bargain is ever a bargain unless you need the item(s).
    Two for one also leads to consumers spending more time shopping (esp clothing items) which can & probably leads to other purchases (distractions). It is smart & effective marketing for the gullibly impulsive shopper. No retailer is out to do any consumer any favors, business is business.

  6. That amazon cuisinart appliance deal really wouldn’t affect me cause I never look at list prices lol. I’d just think “hmm I can spend $35 on that, seems reasonable enough for what it is”

  7. Retailers cheating the public?!? 😳🙄🤦🏻‍♀️ NOTHING IS FOR FREE! NEVER EVER!!! Amazon is never cheaper, it’s merely more convenient especially if you’re a Prime Member. (You also get to use their App for some pretty cool TV series and movies.)

  8. Another great trade trick I observed is when we tend to buy a 1liter pack instead of 500ml just because the 500ml pack is more than half the price of 1000ml pack, thinking that we are profiteering from this deal. But in reality it's actually the company who profits in the end as the 500ml pack was priced high and intentionally shelved beside the 1L pack so that increase it's sale and revenue for the company. 😅
    But look let's be honest here, we know that a company is targeting profit from each deal in order to make it's business sustainable. It's not a charity. That's open truth out there. So it's our (customers) imperative to compare and evaluate the price of each product at different market and basing on our analysis proceed for the most cost-effective but reliable product.
    👍

  9. Bro what i remember thinking about how bogo isn’t a really good deal unless you intend to buy two items and we have a expert explaining this😭I was 6 btw

  10. I was at starbucks, and every day theres a happy hour where whatever drink you buy you get the same one for free! I bought a frappuccino and I got the second one for free! Which I then unfortunately spilled! So I'm glad I chose to have 2 instead of 1

  11. it would be a good deal for a product you can resell at a slightly lower price, using the second free half to make up the loss and a profit in bulk.

  12. that's why chinese outsold these western capitalists money hungers. if they keep doing that I'm sure people would buy more alternatives instead leading to their bankruptcy 🙄

  13. I like BOGO deals when I'm shopping with friends. For example Michael's Arts and Crafts does these BOGO deals a lot with their frames. Lets say it's Buy one Get one half off, so if my friend and I buy 2 $10 frames with this deal the total comes out to $15 then we each pay only 7.50 for our $10 frames. Or if it's a BOGO Free deal then we each get a $10 frame for $5.
    In general I am too poor to not do the math when shopping.

  14. my grocery has such obscure deals

    "buy one get one 25% off, buy two get one 50% off, buy three get one 75% off, or buy four get one free"

    "buy ten bottle for $1 each or buy individual for $1.18"

    "if you buy THIRTY notebooks then they'll be 50%off"

  15. Honestly just want one item but then realizes that another one is free……. Only sees one item.

    Let the clerk know and then you stand there for 10 minutes and everyone in line stares at you while they also avoid eye contact. Those that do find out about BOGO and see that I have the last one go on to start avoiding you while the store decides whether they will charge you another 2 bucks.

    Then walks out the store saying, "Was just gonna buy one………"

  16. Only time I gave in to the Amazon trick was for a pre-seasoned castiron dutch oven that has a skillet as the lid. I was just about to run out of my Prime trial, so I knew I could A- get the dutch oven for the same cost as most stores. B- get a pot AND a pan out of the same purchase. and C- free shipping.

    Figured that for $25 , that wasn't so bad.

  17. Did no one watch the video? Everyone is like "Well ACTUALLY if you were already planning on getting a second item then it is a good deal." Like yeah. They said that. That was a big point of the video. Like most of the video was them saying 'yeah if u wanted to get 2 then get 2 for bogo. But if you never intended on getting the second then just wait for it to come on sale'
    People really be reading the title and commenting without watching the video

  18. If you pay attention to retail pricing or it's an item you buy consistently and know the regular price, it's ALWAYS a good idea.

    Albertson's grocery story is a perfect example of when NOT to do it. They often put different meats on "sale" as buy one get TWO free.. Normally their price on the chicken I buy is $2.99 per pound. The first time I went to take advantage of the deal, I saw that the chicken was actually 6.99 per pound now. Which, while still a better deal if you want to buy bulk, clearly they just upped the price to get you to buy more.

    Soda on the other hand, as a BOGO, I know that most 12 packs are 3.99. If I go to the store on this deal it's ALWAYS still 3.99.

    TL:DR just pay attention to pricing. You're probably buying a lot of the same foods in particular, so you should have a general idea of what those items cost. If you're buying bigger ticket items you should have already done your research and KNOW what the regular retail price is, and know if the deal you're looking for (maybe phones?) is worth it.

  19. But you fail to see that someone will yes spend more, but they also get more for their money. If they didn’t have the coupon they wouldnt get as much but wouldn’t spend as much.

  20. If the second item is free, and theres been no shady price rises, then it's always beneficial to get the second item free, as long as you wanted the item in the first place.

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