Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World by Mark Ellwood

By Mark Ellwood

Discounts aren't any longer the exception, they’re the norm. yet is that bargain really a bargain?

Paying complete expense is so passé. 1 / 4 of the population will purely open their wallets if whatever is on sale. all people desires a deal, a thieve, a hookup with a coupon or the way to lower charges. humans don’t only need a deep undefined, they anticipate it and won’t accept whatever less.

They’re fortunate, then, that nearly half everything sold in the US is indexed at a few type of promotional price. It’s a seismic shift that has made shoppers more savvy than ever, producing phenomena like extreme couponing, flash revenues, and Groupon. 

So there’s by no means been a greater time to be a buyer, right? maybe. dealers have constructed their own tricks to guard revenue margins amid such markdown mania—ones that come with mystery revenues, shifting prices, and shredding completely solid clothes.

during this playful, deeply researched booklet, journalist Mark Ellwood takes a visit into this new landscape. He indicates how a few individuals are, particularly literally, born to be discount junkies because of a quirk of their DNA, and uncovers the sales-driven sleights of hand that dealers hire to hoodwink unsuspecting buyers.

Ellwood takes us from the ground of upscale department store Bergdorf Goodman to the bustling aisles of a Turkish bazaar, from the opening Disney world of rural Pennsylvania to a city in Florida that can declare to be couponing’s non secular capital. We meet savvy dealers attempting to wring worth from every cent—stalking style editors’ tweets to learn about pattern revenues or camping in a single day for a cut-price computer.
Ellwood additionally uncovers the darkish part of discounting: how equipped crime steals coupons en masse and how definite boutiques restrict reductions to VIPs,
working mystery sticky label promotions from which the ordinary client is excluded.
Bargain Fever is a handbook for thriving during this new era, whilst deal looking has long past from being a sign of indigence to 1 of intelligence. There’s never been a greater time to be a buyer—at least if you understand how the sport works.

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Example text

Think back to that imaginary $1,000 trip to the mall. 99 lobster sandwich. That menu was value engineered using the reference point. Commentators snarked when the 1,400-franchise chain introduced this pricey sandwich in summer 2009 at the nadir of the Great Recession. But it was a masterstroke of menu writing. An absurdly expensive treat became an anchor price, throwing everything else on the list into bargain relief. ) An entire article in The New York Times was devoted to breathlessly charting the rise of the $40 entrée.

This is another reason, in addition to oversupply, that the past decade has seen an acceleration of discounts. It now takes deeper and more frequent markdowns to achieve the same retail high. If dopamine is triggered so reliably at the sight of a shopping steal, how does anyone manage to emerge from a store without snapping up every bargain on offer? Thankfully, there’s a trip wire in our brain that takes the form of a chemical tussle between three distinct regions. The nucleus accumbens, the insula, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (call it the DLPFC—all the experts do) all react to that tsunami of dopamine.

They’re more interested in the tally than the taille. America may have always celebrated conspicuous consumption, but something is different now. Choice has morphed into excess. Indeed, products are proliferating at Star Trek speed. Supermarkets after World War II stocked an average of 3,750 items; by the end of the twentieth century that number had increased more than tenfold, to 45,000. In 1994, the total of UPCs for consumer products—in other words, things that could be sold at a store by scanning them—was just over five hundred thousand.

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