Shopping at thrift stores like Value Village can be a fun treasure hunt, but the myriad of colored tags on each item can also be confusing. What do those colored dots, stars, tags and labels mean? Here’s a breakdown of the Value Village color coding system and how to decode it.
Overview of the Tag Colors
Value Village uses a color tag system to indicate different discount levels on merchandise. Each color represents a certain percentage off the original suggested retail price of an item. The tag colors are as follows:
- Red = 50% off
- Blue = 75% off
- Green = 50% off
- Yellow = 30% off
- Orange = 20% off
- Purple = 10% off
- White = original price
In general, red, blue and green tags signify the biggest discounts. Items with purple, orange, yellow and white tags have the lowest markdowns. But it depends on the original retail price. A purple tag with 10% off could represent a better deal on a pricey item than a red tag at 50% off on something cheap.
More Details on Each Color Tag
Let’s take a closer look at what each colored tag means at Value Village:
Red Tags – 50% Off
The red tag indicates the item is 50% off the original retail price. Red tag days are the biggest discount days at Value Village. Popular red tag sales happen on holidays like Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. The red tag means potential huge savings off standard prices.
Blue Tags – 75% Off
A rare and coveted discount, the blue tag means the item is 75% off the original price. Only the best deals will merit the blue tag. If you find something with a blue tag, chances are it’s a hot ticket item at an unbeatable price.
Green Tags – 50% Off
The green tag also signifies 50% off the original retail price. Green tag discounts are similar to red tags, offering customers deep savings off standard pricing. Check out the green tag merchandise for half-priced goods.
Yellow Tags – 30% Off
The yellow tag indicates a 30% discount off the original price. Yellow tag days happen periodically at Value Village. Be on the lookout for yellow tag events for decent deals on select items.
Orange Tags – 20% Off
Orange tagged items are 20% off the original retail price. The orange tag represents a modest discount. Holidays like President’s Day and Halloween may feature orange tag sales.
Purple Tags – 10% Off
The purple tag means an item is 10% off the original price. The purple tag discount is on the lower end. While 10% off isn’t much, a purple tag on an expensive designer item could add up to good savings.
White Tags – Original Price
A white tag means the item is for sale at its original Value Village ticketed price with no discount. The white tag signifies a standard price. However, even full-price items at thrift stores generally represent good value compared to major retailers.
Other Color Coded Tags and Labels
In addition to the colored discount tags, Value Village utilizes other types of tags and labels:
- Clearance Tags – Bright yellow clearance tags indicate temporary price drops. These tags denote extra savings on top of any existing colored discount tag.
- Holiday Tags – Red and green holiday tags are used leading up to Christmas. They look festive but don’t necessarily indicate a discount.
- Blue Star Labels – A blue star label means the item is new with the original store tags still attached.
- “As Is” Tags – White “as is” tags let shoppers know an item may have defects or flaws.
Identifying Thrift Store Pricing Codes
How does Value Village assign those colored tag prices in the first place? Here is a look behind the scenes:
Value Village sets price points for categories of merchandise. For example, all t-shirts may get orange 20% off tags, while all shoes are designated 50% off red tags. Pricing whole categories in this way allows for fast tagging.
Brand name items like Coach purses or North Face jackets will likely get greater discounts – blue 75% or red 50% tags. Lesser known brands may get purple or orange tags. Brand cachet is a factor in pricing.
Tag colors also reflect an item’s used condition. A mint condition Dyson vacuum may get a red tag, while a working but well-worn model may get a lesser discount. Condition influences pricing.
Original Retail Price
To determine the color coded discount tags, Value Village starts with an item’s original retail price tag if available. Higher original prices mean greater dollar discounts. A $100 dress vs. a $15 top will typically get different colored tags.
Supply and Demand
Hot ticket items in short supply but high demand will likely have lesser discounts to reflect their sought after status. Tags are strategically color coded to optimize prices for profitability.
Negotiating Thrift Store Prices
As a thrifty shopper, check for defects, flaws or missing pieces that may not be evident. Politely point them out and ask if the price is flexible due to the issues. Also keep an eye out for uncolored tags. These dresses may not have been priced yet and you can request a discount. With patience, persistence and courtesy, negotiation is possible at some thrift stores.
Getting the Best Deals on Discount Days
To maximize savings, time your shopping trips for the biggest coloring tag sales. Red tag 50% off days are prime time to grab the best bargains. Some tips for shopping red tag events:
- Check store flyers and websites ahead of time for advertised red tag days.
- Arrive early – other savvy savers will be there right when doors open.
- Be willing to invest time thoroughly sorting through the racks and bins.
- Scan the newly placed red tag merchandise first for buried treasures.
- Re-check the floor later for newly restocked red tag items.
- Head to departments like shoes and housewares where you can potentially save more dollars.
With some preparation and strategy, red tag days are the ideal time to save big bucks at Value Village and other discount stores.
Decoding Other Thrift Store Color Coding Systems
Each thrift store chain has their own unique color tag pricing system. Here is a brief overview of some other popular color tag discount policies:
While each thrift store has their own unique spin, red tends to universally signify the top discounted items. Check your local thrift retailer’s website or ask in store for details on their specific color coding system.
Get Savvy About Color Tag Pricing
Now that you know what the colors mean, get ready to rummage through the racks and find some great bargains. Consulting the tags can help guide you to the best deals. Just keep in mind that higher priced items with lesser discounts may still represent a good value. Happy treasure hunting at Value Village and other thrift giants!