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Is There Really a Secret Code Behind Target Clearance Items?


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If you’ve spent any time scrolling through Pinterest or searching popular couponing blogs, you’ve probably come across a theory that claims you can save more at Target stores by paying closer attention to the clearance tags on items. The idea claims that stock gets marked down on a regular schedule and in sequential percentages: 15 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent, and finally 90 percent. Those price drops would then all supposedly end in either 8, 6, or 4. For example, an item that was originally $9.99 would drop to $6.98 at 30 percent off. The theory suggests savvy shoppers should wait until they see the sale or clearance item reach a number that ends in 4, as that is the final mark down and lowest price the item will get. 

Unfortunately, according to a report from the fact-checkers at Snopes, this claim is simply not at all accurate. As nice as it would be to feel like we’ve all hacked the system and unlocked a secret code, employees and Target representatives told Snopes that those price drops are based on variables that basically can’t be boiled down to such a simple idea. Back when this rumor appears to have started in 2012, Business Insider spoke with Target spokesperson Jessica Deede, who made it crystal clear by saying, “Just because the price ends in four or eight doesn’t mean that’s an indication as to how many times or whether the item will be marked down again.”

So why does this “hack” keep making the rounds year after year? The obvious answer is that we’re all looking for ways to save a buck whenever we can, and goodness knows Target is a place many of us are guilty of spending more than we intended when we walked into the store. That said, we don’t blame you if you’ve fallen for this enticing rumor. To be honest, we were ready to believe it too, before digging into more reliable sources. Besides, the entire theory also relies on the idea that the item you want at a cheaper price won’t get snatched up by someone else while you wait. That shouldn’t stop you from looking for legit ways to save money, though, like getting more use out of everyday items you already have in your home! Just remember to double (and even triple) check claims like these that seem too good to be true — chances are, your instincts are right.

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