Prime Day…

I hate sales.  Well, to be more to the point I hate the idea of sales that either aren’t really sales, or are offers of something I couldn’t care about purchasing.

I remember when I was in High School and my mom gave me money for a new suit.  We had gone to J. C. Penny’s and scoped out what was available and a day or two afterwards I went back to the same store with money in hand because they were running a sale advertised to be the best prices of the season… And guess what.  The suit I had picked out to purchase was on sale for more money than it had been two days prior when there was no “sale” going on.  Talk about being disillusioned as a young purchaser!

A bargain aint a bargainFrom that time on I have looked at “sales” with skepticism.  I’ve seen over and over again that sales are often no sale at all, or they are inferior merchandise offered at deceptive prices, or they may be legitimate sales structured in ways designed to take advantage of people in one way or another.

In Milwaukee we had furniture companies who were always offering furniture with 48 or 60 months of free interest.  Of course hidden in the fine print was the detail that if for any reason the product was not paid in full by the end of the 48 month or 60 month time period that interest was due on the entire amount for the full amount of purchase.  These guys were marketing to low income people who historically weren’t making timely payments and they were making enough money on the guys and gals who missed their payment 4 or 5 years later that it was worth their while to carry the payable for that entire period.

prime dayLast Tuesday happened to be Amazon Prime Day.  I saw a lot of items marked down significantly!  Some items were as much as 70% off their retail prices.  But you know the only problem?  None of the things I saw for sale were anything I wanted — and in most cases they weren’t things I could ever imagine wanting.  A sale is only a “sale” when it’s something you really need and intended to purchase in the first place.

It always bothers me when I go to a car dealer and they are offering $5,000 in special perks.  I can’t help but wonder if more people would be in the dealerships more often if they would just set the price at that special price and leave it there.  I’m sure some MBA has studied it and disagrees but then marketing people have got to make a living too.  Visiting an RV dealership is similar, you can go in and see RV’s of all sorts with tags that say, “Reduced $5,000” or some such number.  Woe be to the poor sucker who ever ends up paying the un-reduced price!  There’s always a certain amount of showmanship in sales.  I’ve heard salemen go through histerics moaning and complaining that the customer is taking them to the cleaners all the while the customer doesn’t realize he’s still paying more than he should.  Sales is both art and science.

Of course the real test of a ‘deal’ is whether both sides of the deal got what they wanted.  There have been times when I might have paid a little less for a thing than I did — but I walked away satisfied with the deal.  There are times that I actually did pay less for a thing and I walked away unhappy with the transaction.  It’s all about relationship for me, and about whether it the transaction was something I really wanted in the first place.

I don’t know if Amazone Prime Day is something new, or if it’s been going on for some time, but I don’t think I’ll bother looking for ‘deals’ next year.  After looking at the sort of things they were offering I doulbt that next year will have anything I’m more interested than they did this year.

By contrast though, I had an interesting experience over the past two days that is about anything but a deal.  One of our reserved campers stopped off yesterday to let us know they weren’t going to show up that afternoon.  It seems they were having problems with their Norcold.  I commiserated with the wife, shared some of our experiences changing out our refrigerator and how we made our selection.  I thought no more about the interchange.  Today I heard a knock  on the door and the visitor turned out to be husband of that couple. After sharing our conversation with her husband the husband came over wanting to know if our Son in Law would be interested in the job of replacing his Norcold.

It seems that after 48 hours of calling every RV outlet he could think of, from dealerships for his RV (a Fleetwood) to RV remodellers and repair shops he had whittled down the options for a refrigerator changeover to two:

  • A dealer in San Antonio who couldn’t get at him for three weeks &
  • A dealer in S. Missouri

No one that he tried was interested in the job.

I gave him some other commercial suggestions, knowing that this is a busy time for RV services and he probably was going to have a hard time finding a fast solution to his dead Norcold problem.  I don’t know if our SIL would have time to tackle the project.  Or whether his foot would enable him to tackle it.  And I could only sympathize with this fella because we’ve been in his shoes.

Sometimes a sale, or a deal, is a deal at any cost if you get what you need.  Not an exorbitant cost, but a fair one.  But a price that gets both parties what they want.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here again in the morning.  I look forward to hearing from you.



5 thoughts on “Prime Day…

  1. So much truth to this, Peter. In Southeast Michigan, we had a furniture retailer named Art Van that ran perpetual sales…very similar to what you were talking about in MKE. We often say in jest “Art Van is having a sale!” when we see someone excited about something that doesn’t warrant the uptick in emotion. 🙂

    Now as far as a business opportunity, I think repeating your Norcold replacement could be a lucrative venture. It’s interesting to note that my “The Mysterious RV Reftigerator” post on my blog is my all-time best, as far as stats.


    1. I wasn’t going to write about this in the blog but in a comment it’s worth a mention that we had a camper stop by with their Norcold problems. I spent quite a while talking with the wife — who came by to tell us they weren’t going to show up on their reservation date — and then later the husband came by to learn more about our experience. Long story short… after striking out on RV shoppes that would/could replace their fridge he asked Michael’s number and as it turns out our SIL is going to replace theirs too. One never knows where opportunity may arise. 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

  2. The highly promoted “Huge Sale, Big Opportunity, etc,” are the cornerstone tools of marketing. The majority of consumers get entranced in giddiness whenever they hear the word “Sale”. For me and some others it’s just a source of annoyance/humor to see the advertising.


  3. I just avoid stores completely and only go when I need to purchase. If they have it, I buy…if not I go to where someone does have it. Heard all about Prime Day, didn’t look at all.


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