First, read The Jacket I Left Behind. I STILL lust after it. I still regret it.
So there I am. A consignment shop owner, author, editor, and consultant, shopping in another consignment shop while on vacation.
I’m thrilled to find a shop, thrilled that DuH has a magazine that he can sit in the car and read, thrilled that I have time to really shop.
Sashay I into said shop. Nice place! Lookin’ good. Oops. There’s a poster right in the foyer with that blankety-blank “Color Tag System” You know the one. The sign that says Blue Tags 20% off, green tags 40% off, red tags 50% off, all buff, violet, ambergris tags 75% off
Okay. I am here to shop, not criticize. She wants to run her shop this way, who am I to complain. Muttering Blue Tags 20% off, green tags 40% off, red tags something or other and what the heck is ambergris? I proceed to happily browse. As I do, I notice the markdown lineup repeated here and there in the shop, but all her merchandise is so great, I would rather look at that!
Eventually, I make my selections happily. Ten things, great haul! I have passed up a few things that maybe weren’t as complete a bargain (translation: as my stepmother used to say when looking at price tags, They like it better than I do) as I would like and besides, I have reached my subconscious limit budget-wise and time-wise (Kenny must be getting to the end of his magazine by now.)
I trot with glee to the sales desk. She rings up my pile. Hmm! It’s $30 less than I had estimated in my head. Oh yeh, remember? The Color Tag System?
I had been so happily SHOPPING I had neglected to do the MATH.
Gee. I coulda bought more. I have $30 more to spend. But there’s the shopkeeper holding out her hand for my $70, another person or two in line behind me, and I’ll feel like an idiot if I say Oh wait let me go find that wonderful jacket since my total’s less than I thought and could I possibly scurry back and find that cute pair of shoes, wasn’t the tag a definite ambergris color so they were REALLY only $2.50 not $10 like the tag said… and anyway, my shopping time is up, judging by the fact that DuH has just come in to the shop with a scowl and a finger pointing to his watch.
I am on vacation (= more time to fun-shop, more inclination to spend money.)
I read the sign when I came in and made some attempt to remember it (more than you can say about most shoppers.)
I am aware that many shopkeepers think this system “works for them”, since I am (ahem) the World’s Leading Consignment and Resale Guru.
Heck, I can even do math with one hanger tied behind my back (after all, me and my red Pentel and my markdown chart have wandered many an hour through my shop’s racks and shelves. Go ahead, ask me 40% off any number you like.)
So if even I will consciously or subconsciously buy less because a shopkeeper doesn’t think doing markdowns right on the blasted price tag is “worth the bother”, do you think a “regular” customer would have the same problem? Will she pass up some great purchases because the price tag reads more than she wants to spend?
No? Are you willing to chance the success of your shop on that belief?
All of which is why I entitled this entry How to get browsers to buy less. And oh, how I dream of that blasted jacket.