In our book (arms crossed, toe tapping–have you read it yet?), we write about the attractive and addictive nature of ‘flash sale’ web retailers like Rue La La and Gilt Groupe. We offer the cautions: buy only a product you’ve seen and loved, and buy only a product you know the retail price so that you are certain that it is a bargain.

Do we always take our own sage advice? No.

We’re really, really busy working on our new book and exhibiting tremendous self-discipline not getting sucked into the daily shopaholic offerings, but  someone ruined our resolve today (we won’t name names) asking for our take on an item they were thinking about purchasing from Gilt Groupe.

While cruising we saw a ring that rocked. We don’t need a ring. We really didn’t want a ring. We had never seen the ring before nor had we ever heard of the designer. Before we knew it we had put it into our shopping basket. (Obviously we’re not ourselves, the pressure of this deadline is getting to us.)

Then a little switch went off and we thought we should check out the designer Eddera.  Although we couldn’t find the ring on their site, while cruising their page we saw a pair of earrings that were identical to ones that we had just seen on sale on the Gilt page. Guess what? The retail prices did not match up.

Eddera was selling their “Julie” earrings for $120.  Gilt had them on sale for $75  and posted a regular retail price of $155. We then double checked and found the same earrings retailing for $120 at Bottica. By putting a ‘retail’ price of $155 on these earrings Gilt inflated the size of the bargain they were offering.  That really pissed us off.  We’ve already written Gilt Groupe to see what they have to say and if we hear back we’ll let you know.

We just thought we would remind you to be a savvy, smart buyer before you press the buy button on your computer.

(Oh! Reason prevailed and we passed on the ring. It was really cute, though.)