Today, an author over at Brokelyn shared a retail anecdote from 2008, about the time that she went into Bloomingdale's and bought a cashmere sweater for a penny. The story goes that after several unsuccessful trips of trying to redeem a $40 gift card, she stumbled upon "a lovely gray v-neck lightweight cashmere sweater. Long, but with shape." She proceeded to the register, card in hand, and was told by a sales associate that it only cost a penny because it was "too old to be on the floor" and that "it must've been returned a long time ago. All merchandise that's on the floor but is too old to be in our system is a penny. It's policy."
Really? A quick call to customer service reveals that the odds of it happening are pretty slim. When an item at Bloomingdale's is deemed RTV (return to vendor) for any reason—too old, damaged, too ugly—it's marked a penny for the duration of the transfer process and, accordingly, isn't intended to be sold on the floor. Basically, Brokelyn got pretty damn lucky, and most likely, this will never happen to you—though we can think of worse ways to spend your time than hanging around the racks at Bloomingdale's, hoping for good fortune.—Tiffany Yannetta
· How I Got a Cashmere Sweater at Bloomingdale's for Only a Penny [Brokelyn]