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What Does It Mean If Something Is "a Steal"?

By Troy Holmes
Updated May 23, 2024
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When something is purchased for a steeply discounted price, it is often referred to as "a steal." This idiomatic expression is generally used when a consumer buys something at a price significantly less than retail. Often, it's used to describe big-ticket items. Some examples include automobiles, homes, televisions, or electronic equipment.

Many idioms are used in the English language. The term “a steal” is a good way to describe something that is bought at such a discount that the purchaser seems to have stole it. It's commonly used to describe great deals on big purchases because discounts on these items can amount to a large amount of money.

Furniture can be purchased in large wholesale stores at a steal of a deal. To attract customers looking for such a good bargain, furniture stores often advertise their merchandise by promising their inventory can be had for a steal. Auction companies are another place to buy merchandise for a steal. These companies buy and sell products from wholesalers, which allows them to be sell items at discount prices. Many auctions are only available to commercial businesses.

Many times, people claim to buy new cars for a steal. This happens when the customer believes he received an exceptional deal on the price and features of the new vehicle. Most new car sticker prices are significantly higher than the invoice price, which allows the car to be discounted by the dealership without impacting overall profits.

Pawn shops and consortium shops are a great place to buy merchandise at a steal. These stores buy used goods and products from people who need money fast. They can later sell these products at a discounted price, which makes them affordable.

Homes that are purchased through foreclosures are another example of buying a big ticket item for a steal. When mortgage companies forecloses on homes, they are more willing to sell these homes at discounted prices. This make the home available at a deal that is typically far below the market value.

Yard sales are another good place to buy used goods and merchandise for a steal. This type of sale happens when an individual is selling his used products to the general public. A yard sale is a good way to find toys and children's accessories at significant discounts because these products become unnecessary as a child grows up.

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Discussion Comments
By Phaedrus — On Apr 11, 2014

I think my best steals have been at flea markets and garage sales. The sellers usually don't have any idea what some of their items are actually worth, so they're willing to haggle just to get the merchandise off their property.

By Inaventu — On Apr 11, 2014

There's a store in my town that offers incredible steals on everything from clothes to books to hardware. The owners go to various receiving centers and bid on refused or damaged shipments. Most of the time, only a few items were actually damaged, but the manufacturer is better off declaring the entire load a loss. The store's owners can buy these shipments for pennies on the dollar, remove the damaged items, and sell the rest to the public at deep discounts.

The store itself is not much more than a warehouse with stacks of merchandise, but it worth going through the pile to find a steal of a deal.

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