Canadian Quick Question: What Do You Think Is An Acceptable “Deal Limit”?

My previous Canadian Quick Question addressed the rights retailers have to cancel exceptionally good deals before their expiration date.  In that article I mentioned that “There are a slew of reasons why a retailer cancels promotions before they are over.  They run out of stock, the deal was an error (printed incorrectly in a flyer or on a coupon) or consumers abuse the deal by purchasing an excess of a product and ultimately clear store shelves.”  This statement caught the attention of many of our readers who wondered if deals could be “abused” at all.  A number of you felt that a good deal should be taken advantage of and others felt that some people needed to focus on their needs rather than their wants.

What do you think is an acceptable deal limit?  Do you think people should be able to purchase as much as they want?  Do you think that people should only purchase what they need?  Do you think people can purchase more if they plan on donating it to charity?  Let us know!

34 responses to “Canadian Quick Question: What Do You Think Is An Acceptable “Deal Limit”?”

  1. Kary says:

    I think that people should be able to purchase as much as they want. Whether they “need” it or not is up to them! I mean ultimately if they buy something and don’t end up using it it’s their loss anyway. As long as they’re not stealing I think it’s totally acceptable. Some may argue that it’s courtesy to leave some of it for other customers, but if you want it that badly you should expect to wake up a little earlier to go buy it 😛

  2. Lauren says:

    I think while donating to charity is very nice, I think it’s also slightly selfish to clear a self knowing you couldn’t possibly ever use that much product. Then all those behind you who may be buying what they need will have to readjust their budget or have to pay full price when they run out of it and there are no deals.

    I think the exception is the last day of the sale, go crazy. But to go on the first day of the sale and buy everything is not very neighborly.

  3. Leslie says:

    Seriously, folks, don’t you see what the merchants are doing here? They offer a super deal, people buy TONS, the stores make money, then the merchant reneges on the initial deal offered. The merchant wins, and cries “poor us”, “bad consumers”. Not. Don’t be sucked in, especially by SDM deals. If it seems too good to be true, it is. The only one winning here is the merchant. Just think of the bucks they pulled in for the Cadbury deal. What a hoax. The Government should have been on to them for that one.

  4. Obviously it’s in the company’s hands and they can judge what they can “afford” in regards to points offers and such. But when you’re talking about regular sales, I dont think there should be a set limit, everyone has different needs.
    I do believe that it is up to the consumer to only purchase within reason what they can use so that everyone can fulfill their needs, but I think if stores step in and impose those limits, it often ends up impeding on the few that maybe do NEED more than what they are allowing.

  5. breylormom says:

    Tough question. I don’t think deal limits should be set. Every person/family situation is different. We have a family of 4, and I think, depending on the product, a deal limit of 6 would be fine for us, for most things. 6 seems to be the magic number when it comes to asking for rainchecks. But this isn’t adequate for my friend, who has 6 kids. They have a family of 8, and 6 items doesn’t get them very far. That said, what about single person homes? Six may be considered excessive, in that case, depending on the item. So, who am I to suggest a deal limit? It is the companies right to set a limit. Some do, some don’t. Whatever they set, I abide by it. If they don’t set a limit, I just buy what I reasonably need. I am fine with the way this is all currently working in my hometown.

  6. Donna Williams says:

    Deals are just that, that company or store gets the deal from the manufacturer and shares that deal with its customers. There is a limit in the amount they have purchased so there should be a limit for the amount a customer should get.

    By setting limits it gives more people a chance to get the deal the store has arranged for their customers. If one person buys twenty of them then where does that leave the rest of us????

  7. just me says:

    i have no problems with limits,, may it be 4 or 24 per sale,,, but the company should state the facts up front,,

  8. bambinoitaliano says:

    Do you know many purchase huge quantity to send back to their home countries? How on earth do you think the retail stores here can supply to other countries consumers? Would it be fair the deals offer to local residences were bought up and redistributed to other countries? What about independent merchants who snag up large quantities to resell to their customers? Other than controlling the quantity of their goods on sale, how else do retailers target their sales towards genuine
    customers? It’s not a bottomless pits you know.

  9. Ann says:

    A good promo should be enjoyed by many; not just one or a select few. While I don’t like limits, fellow shoppers should be considerate and keep it within reason. The Cadbury promotion is a good example here. I was not able to find a single Cadbury bar in Calgary & surrounding areas – went to at least 12 different stores throughout the city within the first few days of the promo & the staff all described a single lady that cleared the stock (literally hundreds of bars from each store; same description). I was actually greatful when the limit was implemented because I finally found a few bars & was able to enjoy the deal. If u want to buy 50, fine; if u want to buy 100, go nuts… But don’t go store to store and clear out every last bar in the area! That’s just rude. The icing on the cake were the number of people across canada then selling cases of Cadbury bars on kijiji… No charity donations here/just pure greed.

  10. Huh? says:

    I’m tired of the “you snooze, you lose” attitude shown by many SC members. Some of us work shifts and just can’t be there the second the store opens.

    Six is a perfectly reasonable number. Most store cards don’t record if you have purchased the maximum. The registers will tell you when you have reached the limit but they can’t stop you coming back for a separate transaction.\

    Just because I work shift in the public service doesn’t mean my coworkers and myself aren’t less deserving of sale items!

  11. Rachel says:

    I think 6 of anything is fine. There’s no rule that says you can’t come back later on in the day or week and get more if you need them.

    As for getting there earlier, how many people are able to be at the store within an hour of it opening on the first day of the sale? Most of us have jobs, families and other commitments. Getting up an hour earlier won’t make a difference if you’re spending your Friday/Saturday at work.

  12. Katherine says:

    I think it depends what they’re using it for. If they actually plan on using what they’re buying and not wasting it (or if they’re buying it to give to salvation army or something) I don’t have a problem with it. But sometimes people buy a large amount of product that’s on sale just to resell it later. For example when I worked at a grocery store there was a couple who would always come in and buy 12+ cases of canned pop whenever they went on sale (even though the limit was clearly 4, they just left and came back through a different till). Then they would resell the pop at their restaurant and make a ton of money. I don’t think that’s fair at all and the store owner found out he actually told us we were not allowed to sell them any more pop if they’d already purchased their limit at another till.

  13. soapbox says:

    Stores put an item on sale to draw customers into the store, not to be sweet to the public. They make less profit on that item, but they hope all the extra customers will make additional purchases while they are there. Putting a limit on the quantity one customer can buy makes sense. It ensures that the sale item is still available for the next customer, to draw more people into the store. Everybody wins then. Quantity limits should be based on whatever the store feels it has the stock for.
    People clear shelves out of greed. Some hoard the stash and some sell it for a profit at fea markets. All those people using the ‘charity’ excuse are certainly NOT doating to charity, because if all those shelf clearers were donaters, there would be nothiing but full shelves at food banks and shelters! Please stop using charity as an excuse for greed!

  14. Melissa says:

    I’ve observed owners of convenience stores buying up deals at a store then sell it for much higher. 2L bottles of pop come to mind. Sometimes they are on sale for $1 but the convenience store will sell them for $2.50. I think stores should have the right to limit quantities of product.

  15. Tammy says:

    Everybody loves a good deal so setting a reasonable limit of 2 or 4 items per customer allows more people share in the savings. It’s just good karma people, so stop being soooo greedy and rude to your fellow humans by wanting to take all the items off the shelf for yourself. If you get to purchase 2 or 4 items in a deal, you’ll still be happy and so will the next person who comes along and wants to buy one too.

  16. Erica says:

    I have no issues with limits – especially if the problem is that one company purchases the entire stock just to resell it for profit.

    One idea is what I’ve found Staples has done in the past. At the start of the school year they place a limit on some items (like 20 cent notebooks) but I’ve found that the cashiers ignore the limit so long as it is obvious you are purchasing 10 for yourself or kids, not an entire box.

  17. C says:

    I agree with several posters- it’s up to the store to impose the limit. I have no problems with a limit so long as it is spelled out clearly upfront (unlike the Huggies wipes fiasco!). And ditto whoever called out the “charity” BS that we all know goes on- I can tell you right now that in the GTA the shelves are bare at many, MANY of the food banks and they certainly aren’t over run with thousands of Cadbury products!

  18. nicolthepickle says:

    If it’s for sale people should be able to buy it. As many as they want.

  19. Tracey H says:

    Stores often sell loss leaders (they actually lose money on selling the item, hoping to draw you into the store). These items are often limited by quantity (and this has been the practice for the many decades I’ve been shopping). I don’t see the difference between that (loss leaders) and SDM bonus point offers (e.g. Cadbury). They want to get many customers in, not just 1 person buying 100s of the item. They should state the limit up front, but I can see a store not realizing that someone would empty all of their shelves (perhaps because 1 person got hundreds of identical coupons and apply it to a sale item). Stores set their prices and their limits. I don’t see anything unethical about that (while I find stripping shelves unethical).

  20. Debbie says:

    I have to agree that I am fine with limits. If I really need more of something I will do two separate transactions and because I never buy an unreasonable amount of product, I have never had a cashier give me an issue about two transactions.

    The reason companies have to do a limit is because some people are completely inconsiderate. There’s nothing worse than going to a specific store because of their special on the first day of a sale only to find out the shelves have been cleared. It leaves the rest of us consumers pissed off that we wasted a trip to the store.

    I equate shelf clearers with horders. It’s selfish to clean a store out of something you won’t even reasonably use just because you “can”.

  21. savingpreferred says:

    If there isn’t a limit clearly placed then you should purchase what you wish to/need to/want to. This isn’t greedy or selfish or some of the other words used in this post… it is just shopping.

  22. Joanne says:

    Deals could be offered “If you spend $20 on regular priced items, then deal “X” is available to you.” I think Cdn Tire does that sometimes. Spend $20 and then item X is available to you at a special price.

  23. Amanda123 says:

    They should have limits on sale items! Shelf cleaners are so annoying and selfish. They should clearly state the limits though so there’s no confusion.

  24. worldgirl says:

    Yes, shelf cleaners are annoying. But seriously, haven’t the retailers learned anything? PUT A LIMIT ON IT! And do it AT THE BEGINNING! You can’t fault people who want to take advantage of a great deal. Retailers have had plenty of time to realize this. SDM in particular really needs to get their act together.

  25. Minou says:

    I think four is usually fine. The only time I shelf-clear is on clearance items, as they’re not usually advertised anyway, and there are usually very limited numbers available. When they’re gone, they’re gone. For example, if there were five boxes of diapers on clearance in a size I needed, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy all five.

  26. debra says:

    I think that people should be able to purchase as much as they want. Whether they “need” it or not is up to them! I mean ultimately if they buy something and don’t end up using it it’s their loss anyway. As long as they’re not stealing I think it’s totally acceptable. This is no different than any stores that sell items. If someone wants 100 televisions and the prices are so good they go in and buy them all and there are no limits, you think the store is going to hope to sell them all? Not likely, the store wins, and the customer wins. The early bird gets the worm. I hope you post this thread on SDM and they read it. Any company that wants a limit puts one on it. For instance Air Miles puts a limit per day per item. Each limit is different, but it is on the back of the flyers.

  27. Natalka says:

    For us, four is fine, but six would be too as I see from the above posters.
    Safeway is the only one I know about that places a limit when they have a sale advertising ‘household’ limit, because then you can only buy that specified number for that week.

  28. Benji says:

    I think there should be a limit. Those that support “no limit” are clearly the selfish greedy ones who have no sense of community.

  29. LouLou says:

    Shopping and shelf-cleaning are two totally different things. I have no problem purchasing 4 boxes of cereal when they are on sale – its an amount that I can use without having any waste until the next time the item goes on sale again, and you know it will go on sale again. Shelf-clearing is disrespectful and wasteful. I understand the argument that “if I don’t use it, it’s my money that’s lost”, but it also means that other people, particularly those who can’t afford to pay full price for things have to go without. Seriously, who needs most of the “stuff” that we purchase anyway? Let’s remember to share the wealth and limit ourselves.

  30. tobiwobi says:

    I think the limit should be six.

    If anyone wants more, they can just go through multiple times.

    On one hand, I don’t personally have a problem with people buying as much as they want. On the other, I can see how it is not fair to stores to stock up, one person buys everything, and then all other subsequent customers are angry because the stores ‘didn’t stock up adequately for a good sale’, etc.

  31. Sandra5 says:

    I agree 6 is the perfect limit. But whatever the limit, it should be stated in the flyer and prominently on the product or nearby on the shelf.
    Need more? Walk around the store and go back the the register with 6 more.

  32. Lou says:

    The idea that the early bird should get the worm is unjust and I’m sure those who are saying that would not be if they were in that very same position. Instead they would be the first ones harping to their friends and online deal forums about how terrible all these shelf clearers were and that if there had been a limit implemented they too could have shared in the savings. We’re all impulse purchasers, we all want to claim the throne when stores have unbelievable sales and savings. However, in my case, as well as the majority of the population, we work and cannot re-arrange our schedules to be first in line when a big box retailer opens Friday morning. I struggle to find time as it is to shop for groceries, let alone manage to be first in line for a blue light special.
    I miss out on so many deals I hope to purchase because by the time I can find the time, the store is either closed or out of stock. I agree wholeheartedly there should be a limit in place (with room for consideration) on sales or promotions that will go viral quickly, both online and in store. I’m sure many of you remember the Facebook promotion with Timothy Coffee & their Pumpkin K-Cups. The number of boxes I saw floating across Kijiji asking just shy of full pop for boxes obtained freely was nauseating. I actually own a Keurig and desperately wanted a box. Could I get one? You bet I couldn’t!
    Why? Because greedy mongers were snapping them up because they couldn’t resist the word FREE, whether or not they owned a compatible brewing system.
    Logic says; only take what you CAN and WILL use. Learn to share & be considerate of others. What goes around comes around.

  33. K Fox says:

    Shopping and shelf-cleaning totally different things and then buying 4 of one thing . I have no problem purchasing 4 boxes of cereal when they are on sale – its an amount that I can use without having any waste until the next time the item goes on sale again, and we all know it will go on sale again. Shelf-clearing is disrespectful, but it also means that other people, particularly those who can’t afford to pay full price for things have to go without. All because some thought it would great to clear the shelf . Seriously those who Shelf-clearing have no clue what like living on lower-income because if they did they would not do it ,partly because they would not have the money to do it who needs 20 to 40 boxes of the same thing anyway? Let’s remember to share the wealth and limit ourselves.

  34. Sister Betty says:

    People should be able to purchase as much as they want. Sorry, I pay money for the item and nobody else can tell me how much to purchase…


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