Virgin Megastore clearance sales: Deals you can ignore

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We warned you a few months ago that the big Circuit City clearance sales were nothing to bother with. The trend of worthless fire sales continues with the mass closing of the Virgin Megastores. The deals, I'm afraid, just aren't good. Even with the imminent shuttering of every Virgin Megastore in the country, you can do better online.

The famous Times Square flagship (pictured) is already bolted shut, but many other Virgin locations straggle on, trying to clear their stock. They won't move too much with lame discounts like 20% off CDs and DVDs and 10% off clothes, which is what the location in New York's Union Square is offering despite a final day that's just a few weeks off. At the Virgin in Orlando, which closes May 31, the deals are similarly simpering.

Shoppers across the country have noticed the pathetic deals. In San Francisco, the discounts escalated to half-off in the store's final days (it just closed), but even that wasn't competitive. Says one Yelp user in San Francisco, "Sure, the CDs were half-price, but they were reduced from their ridiculously high retail price (most were $18.99)... you could purchase most of these titles on eBay for less than a Virgin CD at half-price."

I couldn't have said it better myself. Many corporate merchandise sellers advertise big discounts, but they simply mark up the prices before marking them down again, thereby saving you nearly nothing. But Virgin didn't even have to pull that trick. The prices were scandalous to begin with.

Knock 20% off that, and you're still paying about $15, which is usually more than the everyday price on Amazon.com, iTunes, or at Wal-Mart.

Does that mean the CDs aren't a good buy at all? Not absolutely. As I wrote about recently, we're currently in a sweet spot for buying music and the price of a CD, when it's truly on sale, is often better than the price of downloading the same album. It just means that when it comes to giving us everything-must-go bargains, Virgin simply isn't putting out.
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