By now your email inbox, your Facebook and Twitter feeds and even your postbox will have been filled by wonderful offers in the Black Friday sales.
Of particular note are the 50 per cent-plus offers at that well known shop at the corner of the universe, Amazon.
Ever wondered how Jeff Bezos managed to amass a fortune of £100 billion? Simple – Amazon has Black Friday sales that aren’t quite the sales he claims they are.
Now, Black Friday is traditionally the day after the American Thanksgiving celebration, where no one goes back to work and they have a day to go round the shops looking for bargains.
Think of them as an early, traditional, Boxing Day sale where Fishers of Keswick offered genuine savings on a range of outdoor clothing or you could get a grand piano in Harrods for half the normal price.
These are genuine sales – Fishers want to clear out last season’s products to make room for the spring and summer stuff they hope to sell in the months to come and Harrods need to shift that great lump of a Steinway to make room for a display of Gucci handbags or Rolex watches.
But, particularly with the rapid rise in online sales, understanding what is and what isn’t a genuine price reduction, is very unclear.
Let’s take, as an example, DFS. Every time I pass their showroom, they seem to be having a sale. If I were a retailer and I had some stock I wanted to move or I wanted space to bring in the next season’s stock, I would cut the price to get rid. In DFS’ world, it seems no one pays the full price and no one seems to know what the proper price should be as it seems to change by range on an almost rotating basis.
And, at least for me, the killer is they don’t actually have a warehouse full of stock. No, everything is made to order. They haven’t paid a supplier up front and can decide on a whim what they will quote as the original price, or more likely these days, the ‘after event price’. Key, here, is the Recommended Retail Price (RRP).
But back to Black Friday. I looked at an Amazon product, the Echo Show 8 which has a RRP of £119.99 with a Black Friday price of £69.99 – a saving of £50 or around 42 per cent.
Two things: firstly, what is the RRP? It is the price the manufacturer or wholesaler recommends the price should be. But in this case, Amazon is the manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer. In effect, it can say any price they want!
Secondly, is the £119.99 the genuine pre-sale price? Since May 2021, the price of this product has fluctuated from the £119.99 down to £69.99 at the end of September. The average price it has been offered at over the past 18 months has been £104.31.
The same applies to the similar, older, model, the Echo Show 5, which as a RRP of £74.99 and is currently offered at £34.99 with a claimed 53 per cent saving. Its average price since May 2021 has been £60.17 which means the saving is really way less than the 53 per cent claimed.
By the way, there is a way you can check previous prices of anything from the Amazon store – just search ‘compare Amazon prices history’ from your favourite search engine and look for an animal that gives you the hump… three times.
What the retailers who practice this ‘smoke and mirrors’ pricing are doing is based on the psychology of the consumer. Give us a high price which may or may not be real, and then gives us a sales price and show some fantastic percentage discount and we fill our boots.
So, rather than fall for the perfectly legal psychological tactics employed by stores who show wonderful savings, do your homework before you give them your hard earned cash and add to the Bezos billions.
About Cumbria Cat
Born in Cumberland and, from 2023, will be back living in Cumberland, having spent most of the past 50 years in some place called Cumbria, this cat has used up all nine lives as well as a few others.
Always happy to curl up on a friendly lap, the preference is for a local lap and not a lap that wants to descend on the county to change it into something it isn’t. After all, you might think Cumbria/Cumberland/Westmorland is a land forged by nature – the glaciers, the rivers, breaking down the volcanic rocks or the sedimentary layers – but, in reality, the Cumbria we know today was forged by generations of local people, farmers, miners, quarriers, and foresters.
This cat is a local moggy, not a Burmese, Ocicat or Persian, and although I have been around the block a few times, whenever I jump, I end up on my feet back in my home county. I am passionate about the area, its people, past, present and future, and those who come to admire what we hold dear, be it lakes and mountains, wild sea shores, vibrant communities or the history as rich and diverse as anywhere in the world.