El Buen Fin or El Mal Fin?

by | Nov 21, 2017

It’s that time again! El Buen Fin – the Mexico sale equivalent to
Black Friday and Cyber Monday north of the border. The literal
translation of El Buen Fin is The Good Weekend. Starting this week, you
will see signs in pharmacies, retail stores, department stores, liquor
stores and newspapers promoting that their locations will have at least
some of their items on sale.

But buyer beware! Just because it is on sale does not mean it is a
good deal. To help make sure you have a buen fin and don’t get scammed
(after all, who wants a mal fin – a bad weekend?), here are some
important shopping tips:

  • An age-old retail trick is to inflate the original price of the item
    significantly higher, then promote the regular price as a sales price.
    The customer thinks they are getting a great deal when in fact they are
    really paying the market value. Always do your research ahead of time to
    make sure that the price you are paying has not been artificially
    inflated before the sale.
  • Another retail trick is to offer regular products and when there is a
    big sale, substitute it with items that are not as good quality and
    with fewer features. While the customer is thinking they are getting the
    version they have seen on the shelves, the one on sale is different.
    Make sure you know the model # and the features of the item that you
    want to purchase and compare it carefully against the item offered at
    the sale price.
  • Before buying any item, always do a thorough inspection. Sometimes
    we get overly excited and forget to inspect for any damage. Remember
    that once you pay for the item, it is yours and there is usually no
    regress when you find the crack, chip, or broken part. Ask the
    salesperson to see the written warranty – reputable stores will have no
    problem with this.
  • Furniture is a big-ticket item and even on sale, you want to invest
    in well-made items that will last you over the years. Check the
    materials used in the construction of the piece. If particle board,
    softwoods, the wrong grade of synthetic rattan or improperly coated
    metals, the climate here will wreak havoc. Particle boards and
    softwoods are a favourite of termites. Low grades of synthetic rattan
    will dry and crack in direct sunlight. Metals, if not coated properly
    will rust from the ocean air.
  • If you are looking for any item that is true leather, stick with a
    brand name leather manufacturer that is known and trusted. Avoid tacto
    piel. This is not true leather. Should your item crack and peel due to
    it being tacto piel, it will generally happen between 3 and 9 months.
    Ask to see the written warranty. Most companies have a minimum of 1-year
    warranty so that your purchase is protected.
  • Some items are still better brought from home. A great example is
    decorator pillows. Even marked down during sales, they are often more
    expensive and with limited options than what can be purchased north of
    the border.
  • Check reviews. Google the products. Get feedback from friends and
    neighbours. Finding out what their experience was, their long-term
    satisfaction with their purchase and whether they would recommend the
    store to others are great ways to find out what your experience is
    likely to be.

Best advice – Don’t get caught up in the sale hype!

The best advice on any purchase is to avoid being impulsive.
Remember that sales like El Buen Fin, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are
meant to benefit the retailers with increased revenue. They are not
meant to reward customers. There are good deals out there – just be
cautious, take your time and remember that if it is on sale today, it
will likely be on sale again next month!

(This post originally appeared in the Vallarta Tribune, November 21, 2017)

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