In a recent column, I shared some of my clearance-shopping tips and discussed a memorable sale where I purchased out-of-season clearance shirts for my sons for $2each. While some readers wrote to share their stories of support, another wrote to share her concerns about my shopping habits:

“Dear Jill,

Sometimes avid/rabid bargain seekers forget that businesses don’t exist for the benefit of people who want to feed and clothe their families at below-cost prices. Was it really any surprise to you that the store where you spent $24 to dress your sons for years into the future went out of business?

Retailers with brick and mortar stores with expensive overhead costs face continued falling profits as shoppers’ habits turn away from malls, and freestanding stores to do shopping of all kinds online. Any business has to make money to exist, and there do not seem to be any strategies that will stop the decline for many department stores. It looks like a well-known department store chain may be on the road to shutting down completely.

I have no connection at all to any retailer and like a good deal as much as the next person, but if everyone only made a purchase if the item was marked at cost or below cost price, there wouldn’t be any stores in existence, would there?

Somehow, your column today left a bad taste in my mouth.”

It’s never my intention for my shopping and money-saving advice to be distasteful. With regards to the sale I discussed in that previous column, I shopped at a department store outlet that was truly a clearance clearinghouse. There was no full-priced merchandise in the store. Everything in it, from clothing to…