Expert cracks retail price tag codes to save others money - KCTV5

Expert cracks retail price tag codes to save others money

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Kyle James has worked with other code-crackers and former employees at some of big-named retail and department stores to compile a master list on his website, ratherbeshopping.com. Kyle James has worked with other code-crackers and former employees at some of big-named retail and department stores to compile a master list on his website, ratherbeshopping.com.
FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

For some, shopping is just a matter of necessity, others live for it.

Many simply detest paying full price. However, thanks to one money-minded man, the love of finding a good bargain can be taken to a whole new level.

Kyle James has studied some popular retail and department stores to crack their pricing codes. He found that if the price tag ends in a .99, .98, .94. or .97 tells a whole lot.

"You can tell if you're getting something full price, markdown price or it might go even cheaper," James said.

The 40-year-old from California man has worked with other code-crackers and former employees at some of big-named retail and department stores to compile a master list on his website, ratherbeshopping.com.

At Costco, James says, if the price ends in .99, it is full price.

"If it ends in .97, that is a clearance, well discounted price, not necessarily a clearance. But, if you see an astericks in the upper right corner, that is a clearance item. Once it is gone, it is gone," James said. 

At Home Depot, James said final markdowns end in 6s and closeout tags are green.

At Target, "4" is a magic markdown number. And here's another hint, on the clearance tags, look in the upper right corner. A tiny little number will tell shoppers the percentage of the markdown.

"So if you're shopping at Target, and they have a bunch of items that just went on clearance at 15 percent off, wait and come back," James said. "There is a chance it will get marked down to 30 percent and then to 50 percent off. A lot of time, I've seen stuff marked down to 75 percent."

James' tricks work. KCTV5's Carolyn Long put his cheat sheet to the test at J.C. Penney, Kohl's and Sam's Club.

"It if ends in a "1," it is a clearance or marked down price, a sale price. They also have these shelf tag letters, and the one you want to look for is a "C" for cancel," he said.

If it is a canceled item, shoppers can really save, James said.

"I think the average shopper would use it more for availability. Is this item going to be there next week, or do I need to pounce on it now?" said Maureen Welsh, the smart consumer behind mystrategicshopping.com.

Welsh thinks James' tips will be a deal-seeker at Target.

"But at Sam's and Costco, I'll just take my chances," she said.

There are a few popular retailers clearly missing from James' savings chart, namely, Walmart.

"They don't have a real pricing model. I haven't been able to crack those stores yet, but I'm working on it," he said.

KCTV5 News contacted various retailers to see if James' codes hold true. They don't confirm or deny, but in every case tested, they are right on.

If you'd like to print James' retailer cheat sheet, click here.

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