Disgust discount

It is surely obvious, to most people who see me often, that I try to stick to a strict wardrobe budget – I have a lot of stuff in my closet, but by and large it’s inexpensive. Few of the individual items I wear to work cost more than $20. Maybe $25.

I have a couple of exceptions:

  • Shoes. I like name brand shoes that will last a while. I’m mostly in Merrells these days because they’re comfortable, not too flashy, fairly sturdy, and a Michigan company. I strive to find specials on them and routinely haunt the clearance section at Von Maur.
  • Adidas Michigan logo gear. I am fortunate to have a job where I can wear this stuff frequently. I particularly like to wear the Originals line and the Sideline polos to conferences, where I act as a beacon for other UM personnel who also happened to sign up for the conference but don’t know anyone else who is there.

Just wanted to share some observances about one of my frequently-visited stores, JCPenney.

I got my first Sideline polo, the Scorch series (Rich-Rod era) at JCP in 2010. It started off at $50. I was very happy to get a $10 off $10 or more coupon in the mail, which I stacked with a 20%-off-all-NCAA special to get me to about $35. I skipped the plain first sideline polo of the Brady era, although I priced it. It was $55.

In 2011, Ron Johnson left Apple to make over JCPenney. One of the central planks was the pricing system, in which prices would be lowered so much customers wouldn’t need coupons.However, the pricing on my polos didn’t budge. Penney priced and sold the Adidas Michigan items same as before, $55, though there were no sales or coupons to get a chance to reduce this.

I enjoyed seeing the changes made to our Penney store — the kids got haircuts there, I continued to buy some items at the everyday lower prices. I was disappointed when they rehired previous management and reverted to the old sales and coupon tricks — but maybe it would save me a few bucks on this year’s polo? I have Educause coming up and it would be nice to update.

I got the $10 coupon for this weekend and skipped into the store to find… this year’s ClimaLite polo is $65 now. With this coupon, I would be right back where I was last year.

Good luck, JCP. I think I’ll be haunting the Salvation Army more and more – I hear a lot of the athletic department’s castoffs end up there.