Do You Have “Bargains on the Brain”?


by David D. Holland



The holidays are officially upon us! As the Season of Giving nears, let’s take a moment to think about the ways consumers will react to the retail marketing bombardment that will take place over the next few weeks.


Holland FinancialWhat a Buy! It’s easy to be caught up in the frenzy. Lured by discount fliers, giant sale signs, and surrounded by other anxious shoppers, you might find yourself more entranced by the bargain than by the product itself! Many retailers raise their prices high enough to make up for discounts . . . and still make plenty of profits! And, this doesn’t just apply to clothing, electronics and housewares. I often give the example of a supermarket buy-one-get-one-free offer. Did you ever see one of those gigantic 10 gallon jars of mayonnaise? Well, hurry on in; this week they are buy-one-get-one free! Tell me, who on earth needs THAT much mayonnaise? Never-the-less, some people will buy it for “the good deal.”


Before Buying, Try This . . . : Asking yourself a few questions before you buy an item can stall you long enough to normalize the euphoric reaction to – what appears to be – a fantastic bargain. Is the item you are about to purchase superior to what you already have? Could the money be spent for something you really need, or maybe saved towards a nice vacation? (How much do you really like mayonnaise?!) Waiting several minutes can make a big difference in whether you put that item in your shopping cart! Truth be told, the items that are greatly reduced generally aren’t products that bring people significant happiness after the purchase. (Think about dresses/shirts that hang idly in the clothes closet with their original price tags still intact.)


On-line Extravaganza: And what happens when you turn on your computer and have a world of merchandise to choose from? There are too many choices! Research shows people can easily suffer from a form of fatigue from comparing all the options. The more you shop, the more you spend! Ask yourself the same questions (above) before pushing the “buy now” button.


Shop Wiser: And here’s another tip. Limit your choices. Then find the thing you want, and buy it! When you know exactly what you need, it’s not so bad to make a snap decision. Always weigh the value of your time. Some people get a lot of joy from shopping – but there is a difference between shopping and buying! Know the difference, and you can “shop smart” this holiday season!



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