Shopping is a Game Most Shoppers Love

This is how I shop:

I’m at the office, or at home, or running in the park when I remember that I need to buy a thing—a new dress shirt, or pens (I only like to write with a Pilot Precise V5 Rollerball pen, Extra Fine), a housewarming gift—basically anything outside of my normal weekly spending.

I go online to figure what I should buy, and where I should buy it, because I like knowing in advance how much something should cost. If the item is at a brick and mortar store I can go to, I go and buy it there rather than ordering it online because I like seeing things with my own eyes. I pay for the item and go home. 

I should probably mention that I don’t like shopping. I do not like to window shop. I do not like to stand in lines for Black Friday deals, or figuring out how to get an extra 15 percent off something buy using a coupon combined with a store credit card. I am probably the shopper stores want to convince to spend more money, but I like to know that a thing will cost a certain amount, buy it, and go home.

We’ve learned to live in a world where shopping has become a game where savings can be found only if you know where and how to use the right Groupons or coupons or rebates or days when things are marked down for a certain period of time. Prices for everything have become shrouded, and it turns out that we like it that way.

JC Penney saw a 20 percent drop in revenue in the first quarter of this year after it launched it’s clear pricing campaign:

No more coupons or confusing multiple markdowns. No more 600 sales a year. No more deceptive circulars full of sneaky fine print. Heck, the store even did away with the 99 cents on the end of most price tags. Just honest, clear prices.

Sounds like a sales pitch aimed at consumer advocates and collectors of fine print frustration, like me. As it turned out, it was a sales pitch that only a consumer advocate could love.

Shoppers hated it.

People who shop love deals, markdowns and knowing that there will be a sale on Memorial Day. Shrouded pricing is here to stay.


Photo: Idovermani/Flickr



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