To buy, or not to buy. That is the question that faces consumers everyday. That is the question whose answer retailers would pay fortunes to divine. To buy or not to buy. How do you choose the answer to so important a question? How do you answer the question that forms nations, that everyday changes the entire world? Everyone answers that question differently, and their behavior is impossible to predict. However, that said, I like to divide shoppers up into four basic categories.
The first division of shoppers is between those that shop for fun and those that shop because they have to. Each of these divisions is further divided into two groups: those that save money when they can, and those that don’t.
Coupons, discount codes, and all other related marketing phenomenon are aimed at and created for those that shop for fun and save money if they can. These people are wowed by the big bucks they are “saving” and pour their money into the retailer’s hands, regardless of whether or not they needed the item or would otherwise care about it at all. This source of loyal buyers waiting to rush forward at the first beckoning of a discount is a very useful tool for stores.
You see, normally stores need to choose a price low enough that people actually come buy the product. If the price is too high they’ll lose money on unbought goods. When this army of pleasure shoppers that care about price is waiting to flock to the company’s coupons, however, the store may raise the price with impunity. They may milk all that do not care about price for every last dime. When the time comes for them to pay for their theft with unsold goods all the stores need to do is release a discount coupon and swarms of price restricted pleasure shoppers will lick up the goods for at or near their actual value.
This bad, oppressive system isn’t actually that bad or oppressive. Those that don’t care about price by definition don’t care about price and so… don’t care. Those that love shopping and do care about price get loads of relatively cheap goods which they don’t need, in other words exactly what they want. There is however one final group and this is the group that suffers, the victims sacrificed for the profits of the store and the pleasure of the discount shoppers, and that is the group that I belong to.
We who shop for only what we need and do care about the price are the sacrifice. You see we, like everyone else, are charged the same exorbitant prices as the rich, prices which stores can only set because of discount coupons. “But can’t you use the coupons?” you ask. Ahh, I see you’re a sheltered discount shopper unknowledgeable of the misery of a world without things you don’t need. We can use the coupons, yes we can. But whenever we need something there are no coupons for it! It is as simple as that. What we need is never discounted when we need it. In addition to that monumental roadblock you have the difficulty and complexity of the discount coupon system weighing down on us. And so we pay like the rich and live like the poor, the victims of everyone else’s happiness. There is however one glimmer of hope, organized coupon distribution.
Companies like “I’m In” provide easy listings and access to coupons allowing scrooges like me to benefit more consistently from the discount system. Unless these coupon distribution systems continue to increase the simplicity and availability of coupons, that fourth group to which I belong will continue to be oppressed and crushed beneath the heels of others. Unless they continue, the coupon system will continue to be an oppressive and merciless monster. Unless they continue… well. Just kinda everybody benefits if they continue.