I’ve always disliked the phrase ‘selected items’, as in 10% off selected items. Because the word ‘selected’ implies restrictions, it sounds very negative.
The persuasive power of nuance
It’s even worse when people add ‘only’ to the equation; 10% off selected items only sounds horribly negative and tight fisted. Tight as a gnat’s chuff, if you’ll pardon my French.
Here’s how I’d open the phrase up and make the offer sound generous. I’d say 10% off specially selected items. So it sounds like you’ve made an effort choosing special items to put on offer. Subtle… but better? I think so. It’s amazing how much difference a word can make – nuance is powerful stuff.