A Savvy Shopper Discovered a Price Tag "Scam" While Shopping at Kohl's on Black Friday

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Nov. 27 2023, Published 1:12 p.m. ET

In November 2023, horror film writer and director Eli Roth dropped a movie that was over 15 years in the making. Back in 2007, he released a Grindhouse trailer for a Thanksgiving-themed scary movie that was never meant to go beyond the brief parody. His fans wouldn't give up on the idea, which is how we got a full-length feature film aptly titled Thanksgiving. I know you were probably thinking Shanksgiving but that's a little too on the nose.

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The movie opens on a retail store that is similar to Walmart. A horde of customers are already waiting outside for the establishment to open its doors so they can snag all of the Black Friday deals. Without giving too much away, this event ends in tragedy several times over. In the real world, numerous Black Friday–related deaths have occurred, which makes this money-saving event somewhat dangerous. Sometimes the danger is innocuous, like when one woman discovered what appeared to be a Kohl's Black Friday price scam.

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Say it ain't so, Kohl's!

Ambs/Franki, who goes by @blotterdaughter on TikTok, was sorting through a rack of jean coats at a Kohl's retail store when she decided to check on a hunch. The price tags were so new they barely had time to get a vice-like grip on the clothing item's actual tag. Surely that's not strange as Black Friday is all about lower prices.

As a naturally curious person who also can't help but pick at corners of things, I understand what Amb/Franki did next. With the precision of a trained super spy, she carefully pulled off the the bright and shiny price tag to reveal its previous cost.

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If you're unfamiliar with how most Black Friday deals work, here's how it usually goes. The stores will take a percentage off an item's original price, which is often laid out on a sign. For example, the cost of the coat based on the most recent price tag is $108. In order to figure out its Black Friday cost, Ambs/Franki has to check with the accompanying sign.

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Is she had never peeled the top price tag sticker off, Ambs/Franki would have gotten 40 percent off which comes to $64.80. You know what, that's an amazing deal. One really feels like they have gotten away with something when the sticker price drops by nearly half. But here's the thing: The older price tag tells an even cheaper story.

Upon removing the $108.00 price tag, Ambs/Franki sees that prior to Black Friday, the coat cost $48.60. Not only is that significantly less than the alleged Black Friday deal, but it would make the coat itself so much more affordable if the Black Friday sale was applied to its original price.

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If Kohl's had never covered up the old sticker, Ambs/Franki would have walked away with a coat that ran her $29.16. Honestly, she could have bought a whole other coat and still not have reached the Black Friday price for a $108 coat. I think Kohl's should consider changing their name to Coals.

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Are consumers being duped, or was this just a misunderstanding? A Kohl's employee popped into the comments of Ambs/Franki's TikTok to offer some clarification. "It's called a white ticket," said @kelso2004. Apparently the old price, which is on a yellow sticker, was a clearance sale price. When the item didn't sell, Kohl's put it back on the floor with its original price, possibly in the hopes of taking advantage of the Black Friday bonanza.

Another former Kohl's employee jumped into the comments to confirm what @kelso2004 said. So, it looks like this particular mystery is solved. In the meantime, there are ways shoppers can track price fluctuations so they don't feel as if a store is pulling the literal wool over their eyes and wallets.

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Screenshot of comment under Kohl's Black Friday price scam TikTok
Source: TikTok/@blotterdaughter (screenshot)

Bring back the clearance price!

The Verge put together a nice little list of apps that can help costumers find the best most honest Black Friday deals, but these can be used year-round. Unfortunately this is when my personal hatred of technology has to be put on the back burner, she typed on her laptop while checking her phone to see what time it is.

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If you're like most people on the planet, Amazon is your go-to website for anything and everything. We have made a deal with this devil and now we must keep it, but that doesn't mean we can't find actual deals. The CamelCamelCamel app "tracks the price of every product sold on Amazon and can send you alerts when an item falls to a certain threshold," The Verge explains. Once the price gets to your desired amount, you get an email from the app.

If you're interested in a broader search, then look no further than Paypal Honey (formerly just Honey). This handy dandy app scours every site you've visited for "offer codes that can be applied to your checkout total to save you even more money," per The Verge. On the one hand this is frightening, but on the other, who doesn't love to save! The lesson to be learned here is, take your time. It's OK to not panic purchase at the first sign of a sale. Think of yourself as an Indiana Jones type hunting for deals.

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