Thursday, July 9, 2009

Living in a Discount Culture

This was an interesting segment about discount shopping on Marketplace. Ellen Ruppel Shell's latest book Cheap:the High Price of Discount Culture is her analysis of bargains in the U.S., which she says can end up costing consumers more than they think. For example, if instead of buying the boots you love you buy the most discounted pair which you never wear, did you save money? Personally, I find myself always repeating the question to myself "yes it's cheap, but will I use/wear it?" If not, I won't buy it. My argument is both about money and space. I can't afford space for stuff I won't use. I taught myself that lesson years ago, but it primarily stems from my Virgo nature. Practical, organized...boring ;-)

Another interesting comment was about "sales" and how prices are set:
"How many of us, for example, have ever paid full price for a mattress. There's an object, you know, it's always, quote, unquote, on sale. Well, it's really not on a sale. That's the real price of the mattress. The other mattresses in that department store have higher prices, but the merchant doesn't really expect to sell those mattresses. He rotates all his mattresses into the sale pile, and he expects to sell them at that sale price, which is actually the full price."
That information will forever change how I see sales. I'm tempted to buy the book, but like those never worn boots, will I ever get around to reading it?

Maybe if it's on sale ;-)