Every week we get comments from readers who are confused about deals in their weekly store ads that advertise multi-order pricing, like the ones above.   How do you know if you actually have to purchase 10 items in the “10 for $10″ sale?  What about corn on sale 6 for $1.00?  What happens if you only want 2 ears of corn?  And to make things even more confusing, there are a plethora of variations 3 for $5.00, 4 for $10, 5 for $6.00, and on and on.  So, how can you tell?  When do you have to actually buy 10 items in the 10/$10 sale?

The answer:  You almost NEVER have to buy 10 items in the 10 for $10 sale.    The 3 for $5.00 sale single item price is $1.67, the 5 for $6.00 is $1.20, 10 for $10 is $1.00.

So, why do stores make their prices so confusing?  Because they would love if you purchase 10 of their $1.00 items in the 10 for $10 sale!  They are just trying to entice you to buy multiples and take advantage of this very concern of “but how much is it going to cost if I buy only one”?  The single item price for 98% or more of these types of deals is the same whether you buy one or a hundred.

Sometimes you DO have to buy multiples to get a promotional price.  But the store will make it abundantly clear when you need to do so.  The promo pictured above is this:

Buy 2 or more selected items, mix & match, for $9.99 each

If you purchase only one, the single item prices will be higher, about $11.99-$12.99 depending on the item.  The big secret to being able to tell when you need to buy multiples to get the sale price is all wrapped up in three little words:

MUST BUY 2 (or whatever the qualifying # happens to be)

When a shelf tag or a store ad contains the words “Must Buy X (number of products)”, this is when they mean it!  Without the words “Must Buy”, the pricing is just a gimmick. On KCL, you’ll see that we ALWAYS write the individual item price.  If the store ad says 3 for $5, we’ll always write $1.67.  We find that it clears up the murk and gives you the bottom line price more effectively.  So, have you got it?  It’s not too tricky; when in doubt, remember the likelihood is that you do NOT have to purchase multiples.   But watch out for the “must buy” verbiage.

Are there any other similar multi-purchase- type deals that I missed?