Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Right Price

I read an interesting article in The New York Times yesterday.  It reports that most consumers, when shopping, seem to know the right price for things.  To the surprise of many in the business world, consumers successfully resist efforts by retailers to get them to pay more than that price.

Most shoppers have an instinct for when an item is overpriced.  When we feel that way, we hold off on buying until the price is reduced by discounts, often steep ones.  This reality contradicts a sexist notion held by many businessmen that shoppers -- i.e., women -- are easily subject to commercial manipulation.  Apparently, we are not.

“The customer knows the right price,” said the chief executive of J.C.Penney, Ron Johnson. “We can raise the price all we want; she’s only going to pay the right price. And why is that? Because she’s an expert.”

My favorite line in the article is a quotation from one man who has studied this subject.  He begrudgingly gives credit to shoppers, saying “They’re like mathletes with credit cards.”

Do you have a sense of what something should cost?  Will you pay more?


  1. I would have to agree with this article 100% ... There is a perceived value to the product and very few will pay more than that.

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  2. My rule of thumb is to only buy things on sale. At times i'll splurge on footwear at full price mostly bc my size is so common that if I wait for the sale my size is out of stock.

  3. I totally agree. I'd fallen in like with an animal print dress from Forever 21's online site. I figured $13 was all right, but $9 for shipping seemed so strange for one item. I convinced myself to hold off until I could find it in store. I went in yesterday, and the dress was $27. How is it cheaper to buy AND SHIP online? Not to mention in the end, the dress was a bit big. At $13, delivered to my home, I would have not thought twice about pulling out my sewing machine, but at $27 (Ok, I realize that's not really a lot of money for some people, but I am unemployed:D), I put it back on the rack and grumbled my way out of the store (and home through rush hour traffic, and for the rest of the evening)

  4. Hmmmm!!! Interesting questions ~ as always. I think women are a bit more in tune with the price of things than most men ~ We certainly don't like to get ripped off.

  5. It depends on how much I want it, what I want it for, and how much money I do or do not have at the moment ... :-) but usually I'll wait until I feel like I'm getting a good deal.

  6. I agree with Kari on this. I also have a discount "ratio" that I seem to be happy with. Most of my shoes at this point retailed for 250-400USD.. however for the majority, I waited until I could combine sales, discount codes, clearance, etc. to get them all under $150, or in many cases much less.

    Clothing I'm even less likely to splurge on, but I do have a few things that had the magical combination of on sale enough and what I want. However I thrift most of my clothes.

    I also win because I have really tiny feet, usually show/sample size and fit into sample size clothing. These sizes are often what is left on websites or store racks during seasonal sales.

    Also I've had a post written on what can sway women to shop. Or not. I'd love your opinion, so I went ahead and posted it.

  7. I'm rarely willing (or able) to pay full retail price for anything. Dear Hubby does all our technology shopping, and I thrift, shop discount retailers, or wait until considerable (and expected) markdowns on items I'd like.

    I sort of like thinking of myself as a "mathlete" :D

  8. How interesting.
    For me it also depends on WHERE I am shopping at.
    For example if I go to my favorite local department store and say, pick up a shirt and it's in the range of 20 USD - it's cheap.
    However if I am at my favorite discount / outlet location - that same range for a shirt is EXPENSIVE.
    I look at brands, where it is made, the fabric... i often wonder how if i am so picky i manage to haul so much crap into my closet.

  9. Yes! I love this article. We are no dummies. And I am extremely frugal. I will not pay more than I have to - ever. Clothes, groceries, appliances. You name it, I am all about getting it for a bargain.

  10. Oh my gosh, I totally do. I am gaga for bargains. These days, I'm extremely picky. I'll buy something overpriced on occasion if it's something I will kick myself over and over again for not having, but other than that, I know where to find everything at a good price. I've stopped going to regular clothing stores and am shopping thrift instead. The thrill of never knowing when I'll find that item on my wish-list makes it all the more fun!

  11. I've put things back on the rack if I didn't agree with the price. But if I really love an item, I'll consider buying it at a higher price than risk it not being available in my size when it finally does go on sale.

  12. I think everybody has an 'anchor price' in their mind for everything they buy. And given the way information travels and is shared today, it is safe to assume that consumers know what is worth what! Sadly we still get ripped off sometimes for mass produced cheap stuff sold in swanky stores! Nice post...I have not read the article though! Hope you are having a wonderful day!
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  13. I have thrifted so long that I honestly do not know the price of most retail clothing. that's one reason I decided to do my window-shopping project this year, to reacquaint myself with the going prices.

  14. I absolutely agree with this. Of course, that is not taking the emotional side into account, which can sway you when you 'fall'. I have very exact cut offs of how much I'm prepared for to pay for shoes, boots, jackets etc. Its very seldom that I'll pay more than personally set limit for an item.

    Hope you doing grand sweet Ally :-)

  15. I agree! It's like an inner gadget - like when you know your mate is cheating or your girlfriend is lying, even when you don't have a proof!!

  16. I missed this post somehow - when you commented on my blog I'm like, what article? Anyway, you know my thoughts on JCPenney now, I think it is a good concept. I still love my deals though and I have price points for certain things - especially shoes and staple items like t-shirts and such. I think I'm even pickier when I'm thrifting - I don't ever want to overpay for something thrifted if that makes sense!