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It may come as a surprise that, in buying a seasonal pie ingredient, you might be participating in a carefully designed social-science experiment. But this is what online comparison shopping hath wrought. Simply put: Our ability to know the price of anything, anytime, anywhere, has given us, the consumers, so much power that retailers—in a desperate effort to regain the upper hand, or at least avoid extinction—are now staring back through the screen. They are comparison shopping us.

By the early 2000s, the amount of data collected on retailers’ internet servers had become so massive that it started exerting a gravitational pull. That’s what triggered the second development: the arrival, en masse, of the practitioners of the dismal science.

You might check the Orlando Sentinel newspaper for coupons. We shop Bloomingdales and Macy’s frequently and the they are always mailing us deals and coupons; some of them are in the newspaper also. My wife occasionally finds a blouse or something for 40-50% off on a rack, and then can apply a coupon for an additional 10-20% off, and sometimes a $5 coupon on top of that. So, a $100 item can be $35, and it is usually not last season’s merchandise.

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The growth of e-commerce has hit retailers hard. In Elmira, N.Y., the local mall is struggling to find new tenants and attract shoppers. Video: Jeff Bush/WSJ. Photo: Mike Bradley for The Wall Street Journal

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Online stores must describe products for sale with text, photos, and multimedia files, whereas in a physical retail store, the actual product and the manufacturer’s packaging will be available for direct inspection (which might involve a test drive, fitting, or other experimentation). Some online stores provide or link to supplemental product information, such as instructions, safety procedures, demonstrations, or manufacturer specifications. Some provide background information, advice, or how-to guides designed to help consumers decide which product to buy. Some stores even allow customers to comment or rate their items. There are also dedicated review sites that host user reviews for different products. Reviews and even some blogs give customers the option of shopping for cheaper purchases from all over the world without having to depend on local retailers. In a conventional retail store, clerks are generally available to answer questions. Some online stores have real-time chat features, but most rely on e-mails or phone calls to handle customer questions. Even if an online store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the customer service team may only be available during regular business hours.

Your California Privacy Rights. Forever 21 collects information that you provide to us or that we learn about you from your use of our Websites or shopping at our stores, as described in this Privacy Policy. Under California law, once a year, Forever 21 customers who are California residents may request certain information about our disclosure of your personal information to unaffiliated third parties for direct marketing purposes. Forever 21 does not disclose any personal information to unaffiliated third parties for these purposes.

Aside from The Street and Seaport, classes also are offered at numerous other WS Development properties in Massachusetts; among them are Legacy Place in Dedham, Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham and MarketStreet in Lynnfield. WS Development properties in Florida have their own offerings; consider “Bend & Brew” with Lululemon at Hyde Park Village in Tampa and Highland Village in Jackson, Miss., combining yoga with craft beer samples.

I’m a first time buyer and will definitely use TigerDirect again. I did not ask for next service but that’s what I got. I ordered on Wednesday and it arrived on Thursday! The packaging was very secure. I bought the computer as a travel computer – sort a cheap alternative to my main work laptop. The reconditioned computer from TIGERDIRECT exceeded my expectations.

You choose your product, order it online, and we deliver it right at your doorstep anywhere in India. You just need to pay for the product, while we ensure free shipping* all the time on almost everything with no strings attached. For any second thoughts after purchase, we have in place a no questions asked return policy as well. To offer you a safe and risk-free online shopping experience, we offer COD facility. Buy gifts for your loved ones and avail our special gift-wrap facility at a nominal cost! Could you have asked for more?

By that small claims court’s rules, and as long as such matter is only pending in that court. You may bring claims only on your own behalf. Neither you nor Forever 21 will participate in a class action or class-wide arbitration for any claims covered by this agreement. You also agree not to participate in claims brought in a private attorney general or representative capacity, or consolidated claims involving another person’s account, if Forever 21 is a party to the proceeding. This dispute resolution provision will be governed by the Federal Arbitration Act. In the event the American Arbitration Association is unwilling or unable to set a hearing date within one hundred and sixty (160) days of filing the case, then either Forever 21 or you can elect to have the arbitration administered instead by the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services. Judgment on the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having competent jurisdiction. Any provision of applicable law notwithstanding, the arbitrator will not have authority to award damages, remedies or awards that conflict with these Terms of Use.

Our favorite is DealNews.com, which has a team of deal hunters who keep their eyes on a million products at more than 2,000 reputable online retailers and update the site with new deals at least 200 times a day. Plus, it works with merchants to offer exclusive deals you won’t find elsewhere. There’s a picture of each product and ample information, including the original price, sale price and whether it’s the lowest price DealNews has found for the product. You can sign up for e-mail alerts for products or stores you’re interested in and get shopping advice from the site’s buying guides.

Rue 21 offers amazing clothes for both men and women. You can find awesome graphic tees, dresses, skirts, accessories, fragrances and much more. Rue 21 always has sales going on. This is one of my favorite stores because it has trendy clothes that cost little money.

Secondly – I lived in South America for a little while years ago, and it was a huge eye opener. We really don’t need 6 pairs of black pumps ( + black loafers, black sandals…) After going through a period of about 5 years where I had no clothes budget at all (other than for socks and underwear and to replace dire necessities like my only pair of work pants), I find myself not much interested in shopping as a hobby. I like nice new clothes as much as the next person, but find myself spending less and less on clothes and household decor items. I don’t think I look like a bag lady, and my house is decorated currently. I just tend not to replace items just for the sake of replacing them. I enjoy TJ Maxx, Marshalls, consignment stores, etc, but don’t even frequent them very often. Food for thought, I hope.

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To ensure proper processing, please select the appropriate Return Reason Code listed on your return form. In addition, please specify the damage, defect, or wrong item(s) on the return form. Upon receipt of your return, our Online Returns Department will inspect your merchandise to confirm that the item is damaged, defective and/or the wrong item. If you would like a replacement of the item(s), please write Exchange on the return form in the notes section. We will gladly send out a replacement of the original item(s) purchased, at no cost, as long as the merchandise is available. If the merchandise is not available for an exchange, you will receive a refund to the original form of payment used to make your online purchase.

Will you pay more for those shoes before 7 p.m.? Would the price tag be different if you lived in the suburbs? Standard prices and simple discounts are giving way to far more exotic strategies, designed to extract every last dollar from the consumer.

We have all planned our trips to the clothing store in advance, vividly dreaming about what we would buy once there. Some of us even have sales assistants for friends and have often asked them for a favour or two during peak shopping season (read: festivals and sales). But what we can all admit to is that we have always wished it was easier than to go down to the store in dense traffic, navigating through throngs of fashionistas, all vying for the same trendy clothing items, waiting in line to try on our top picks in the trial rooms, etc.

Companies like General Motors found an up-front way of recovering some of the lost profit. In the 1920s, GM aligned its various car brands into a finely graduated price hierarchy: “Chevrolet for the hoi polloi,” Fortune magazine put it, “Pontiac … for the poor but proud, Oldsmobile for the comfortable but discreet, Buick for the striving, Cadillac for the rich.” The policy—“a car for every purse and purpose,” GM called it—was a means of customer sorting, but the customers did the sorting themselves. It kept the truce.

“We’re all here to support each other,” Bikofsky says. “It’s always fun to team up with others on the property and collaborate for different events and holidays. It helps to foster that sense of community.”

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