What’s in a Price?
It never seems to fail, a man must have invented the .95 or .99 suffix tactic because it seemed each and every man falls for it. This was reminded to me this week as my Husband and I wandered the flashing labyrinth of televisions that alway seems to suck him in and entrap us each trip to Costco. He took a picture of a certain large screen and its price to show to one of his best friends, the price on the sticker was something like $3,894.99. “I can’t believe it he cried as he excitedly completed his text, what a great deal.”
I began to have a heart attack at the price tag and my voice managed, “a great deal?!”
“Yes, It’s only Three Thousand,” he went onto explain.
“No, honey that is Four Thousand.”
It happened more often than not when I worked the sales floor, a man would bring an item that was tagged $12.99 and repeat the price aloud, “Twelve dollars.” Followed by a woman who would bring an item brought to me labeled $8.95 and call it “Nine Dollars”.
Men See A Bargain, While Women Seek a Bargain
The study by Wharton’s Jay H. Baker Retail Initiative, “Men Buy, Women Shop” says:
Women are happy to meander through sprawling clothing and accessory collections or detour through the shoe department. They like to glide up glass escalators past a grand piano, or spray a perfume sample on themselves on their way to, maybe, making a purchase. For men, shopping is a mission. They are out to buy a targeted item and flee the store as quickly as possible, according to new Wharton research.
This statement can be misconstrude to make women sound more like the stereotypical shopaholics and less the frugal & family-conscious shoppers they more commonly are. The freshest representation of this image is Lady May in the BBC series Mr. Selfridge. Lady May is a woman with the illusion of means and she frequents Selfridges regularly, making shopping the romantic and luxurious experience we dream it be. She has a running tab in the shop, the associates all know her by name, and Selfridge himself bends over backwards for her pleasure, molding and shaping the merchandise of the store to her liking. But the reality is women are not the romanticized cliche but rather they are the shoppers because they are seeking the best deal. I would say Extreme Couponing would be an accurate representation of the modern woman shopper in this day in age.
According to my personal experience women are shopping for the best bargain at all means, they are more price aware, seeing the $12.99 item as $13 dollars instead of $12. Women will shop around comparing prices, check for coupons or discounts available in their inbox, utilize price comparison apps on their smartphones, and keep conscious lists of upcoming sales. Perhaps it is part of a woman’s maternal nature to chase value over convenience?
On the Storefront:
As a shopgirl I would find myself let down time and time again amongst the excitement of a huge sale with a man after the interference of their significant other. The male customer would request I pull together all necessary items for his impulse purchase and then ring him up, and then, typically, when a wife or girlfriend came in the picture their responses were something close to, “no we don’t need that” sometimes going as far as to physically pull the male customer out of the store.
I can relate now as a mom and a wife. While our time at Disney World last Spring my husband would grab the first three stuffed animals he would spot upon entering a shop for our three darling children. Pacing the entire layout of the shop I would find myself flustered and frustrated, ‘are these what the kids will really appreciate for the money?’ ‘How much does this cost, compared to other more sentimental options for our children?’ I actually spent the entire five days trying to search for that very perfect souvenir for my oldest daughter, a stuffed baby Marie.
Do these stereotypes ring true to you? Tell me your stories.