I'm a sucker for a sale. But in retail, especially with clothing, it's so hard to know when a deal is a deal.

The United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, is hearing a case alleging that Kohl's advertises clothing at half price, even though there never was a full price to begin with. It's entirely possible a class action may result from this.

This is not a pick on Kohl's moment for me. I'll readily tell you the retailer does a wonderful job of merchandising and has great store layouts.

But people get mesmerized by the word 'sale' at retailers of all different kinds. The question becomes, is a 'sale' really a deal or not?

A lot of merchandise sold in the gift departments of stores is brought in specifically to be sale merchandise. It's not normally stocked by the retailer. It's brought in with a price marked on it that is then marked off 60 or 70 percent.

That's not a real sale. You have to know the quality and even the brand of what you're buying before you get suckered in.