I don’t think I’m an unreasonable person. I just want things to be simple and uncomplicated. I want to save any thinking and planning for things that are, you know, actually important. And this filters down into daily activities that should be as drama-free and boring as shopping.
Why does shopping have to be so… annoying? I mean, it’s bad enough that I have to go out and brave the wilds of rude people, now I have to run the gauntlet of pricing, too?
Maybe it’s just me… it usually is, just ask The Wife Missy… but is it too much to ask that pricing be simple and straight forward? No games. No illusions. No fine print. Just sell me what I want, at the same price you sell it to everyone else, and let me be on my way. Is that really too much to ask?
I guess so, as evidenced by some of these offenders…
Local Regional Nursery (plants, not people)
At every sale they give special discount “bucks”. the more you spend the more you get.
The catch: They expire next month and you can only use it at their store.
Local Regional Grocery Store
Absurdly high prices… averaging 30% more, yes, I’ve done two of my own surveys/studies… coupons and special sales galore. Plan accordingly, or…
The catch: …be gouged.
Local Regional Home Improvement Big Box Store
Rebates. Awesome rebates! 11% rebates.
The catch: In the form of a gift certificate redeemable only at their store. So, it’s not really a rebate, it’s an in-store coupon.
All of these tactics are designed to get you to come back, of course… often. I’m sorry, but no. I’ve probably collected over $100 worth of nursery “bucks” over years, and never used a one. I go back when I need to go back. I only shop the regional grocery store when the stars align and they have a good sale AND I need what’s on sale. Otherwise, say what you will about the primary big box retail behemoth, at least they respect me enough to give consistently reasonable pricing day in and day out. And I virtually stopped shopping at that home improvement warehouse store solely because I didn’t like being played like that.
What other underhanded tactics can we see?
Coupons and Rebates in General
Manufacturers and retailers aren’t offering discounts and rebates because they’re swell guys. It’s a gimmick that most people, including me at times, fall for. They know full well that most people will never claim a rebate, especially if it requires effort, like putting a stamp on an envelope. They know full well that people who use a coupon will likely spend more on the higher priced items at the same time. They get to tout themselves as the good guy while not really risking anything. It’s a win-win… for them.
The World’s Pre-Eminent Online Retailer
Prices change daily, often hourly. See an item for $63 today? It might be $57 tomorrow, $68 the day after, and back to $63 the day after that. In other words, pay attention, keep coming back, and oh… buy some other stuff in the meantime.
Internet & Cell Phone
New customer? $50/mo for a year. Existing customer? Sorry, you pay your standard $90/mo out-of-contract price.
Next time you fly, do a survey of ten people sitting around you. Chances are you all paid different prices.
I shouldn’t have to worry about something as simple as pricing. At least pretend that you actually value me and my business. You want to impress me? You want to really impress me? Just sell me what I want and let me go on my way happily. I’ll come back. Honest.