Are liquidation sales a joke? | The Frugalista

Are liquidation sales a joke?

by frugalista on March 10, 2009

The other day, a reader named Dan and I had a nice chat about liquidation sales. We talked about defunct electronics store Circuit City and whether there were any good buys there. He and I both decided: NOT! I know I'm a fan of a good deal, but just because you put a xx% off price tag on an item, it does not mean that it's a deal.

This is what Dan emailed me after going to Circuit City last month:

Most Blu-ray movies started at $22.99 while a 4GB SanDisk
Extreme III CompactFlash Card went for $45 (that same card costs $26.05
+ $7 s&h at

same applied to gaming. Activision's Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock
Bundle with Guitar for Xbox 360 sold for $55.99 at Circuit City. Online
we found it for $50 (at Toys "R" Us.)
Open box items were similarly overpriced. We found an open box Sony
Bravia 120Hz 46" 1080p LCD HDTV, model no. KDL-46XBR6, for $2,519.97.
Online we found a new model for $1,899.95 with free shipping (at B&H Photo-Video.)
It's worth noting that open box items purchased at Circuit City could
not be returned under any circumstances. Dozens of posters throughout
the store made this clear.

I ran across this article from my hometown paper The Chicago Sun Times about how liquidation sales rarely are bargains.

From the article:

The liquidator, not the company, is in charge now, and they want to make as much money as possible. They've guaranteed the creditors will get a certain amount, and they want to make some extra for themselves, too.

So the first thing they do is mark up the items to the manufacturer's suggested retail price, which usually is about 10 percent to 15 percent higher than what the store sold the stuff for pre-bankruptcy.

Yep! I've seen it first hand. I think you are better served just waiting for a holiday sale or even buying full price so that you can take a pricey-item back if it's faulty. It's not a deal when you pay for a good,  and it turns out to be poorly crafted and you are stuck with it because the store went out of business.

Do you shop at liquidation sales? Do you get good deals there? Did you check out Circuit City's sales? What about Linens N' Things? Did you know they were opening again?

Sign Up for The Frugalista News!
Receive instant updates about new content and to receive the newsletter!

Your privacy will never be compromised

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: