This year there are a lot of stores shutting down. That means lots of liquidation sales and great bargains, right?

Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

My mother called me the other evening about a story she’d seen on the news on the liquidation sale at one company going out of business. It seems that they just put higher prices on over the usual prices, so the discount really wasn’t as good as it seemed. The people from the news station easily peeled back the new tags to see the old prices.

In some ways this doesn’t surprise me. I worked for a company once when it was going through a liquidation. I can’t recall offhand if they changed the price tags, perhaps they did. They would have been more subtle about it, as it was as jewelry store and the tags were small. To change the prices they would have had to recall each piece back to the main office and retag. Can’t recall now if that happened or no.

But there’s another common thing that happens, and this I do remember well. More merchandise than the store usually carries is brought in. The liquidators do this because they buy up the inventories of the stores they are liquidating. Anything that doesn’t sell in one liquidation sale can be sent to another.

Obviously, this stuff is easy to mark up.

The best thing you can do before going to a liquidation sale is to check out the prices for the same items as seen online or in other local stores. This can quickly give you a feel for if the price has been raised to make it look like you’re getting a great discount.

Sometimes you are, sometimes you aren’t.

As with any other kind of bargain hunting, it’s up to you to know exactly what is and is not a good deal for you. Don’t get sucked in by the need to shop while there’s still a decent selection. You need to be saving enough to make shopping at a store that won’t be there if there’s a problem with the merchandise worthwhile.