Sunday, December 26, 2004

On the Feast of Stephen

Speaking from the retail drone's perspective once more, I find Boxing Day irritating. I can't count how many times today I had to explain that No, not everything in the store is on sale, or deal with stroppy jackasses angling for better prices on what was discounted. Boxing Day is a post-Christmas inventory clearout, not an act of charity, even if it once was. But that's the problem with a handout of any kind, performed on a regular basis: eventually it becomes seen as an entitlement. People today seemed to get angry that the fancy speakers or laptop they had their eye on before Christmas didn't get marked down - as if an automatic reduction was somehow owed them, for knowing the "secret" of waiting until December 26. I recall one woman who didn't think $20 off the regular price of a $59 cordless phone was quite good enough on Friday evening, and haughtily proclaimed she'd wait until Boxing Day and get it cheaper; I didn't see her return today, but I wish I had, to see the look on her face realizing that the price had actually returned to normal. In another interlude, a rather dim stoner refused to believe that Boxing Day was not, in fact, an official tax holiday, and that he actually did have to pay GST and PST on his purchase. That's how bad the entitlement perception is: some are so deluded as to think it's by order of government that marginally nice sales occurred today. The only stores that offer genuinely fantastic deals do it on a limited, loss-leader, publicity-generating basis; otherwise, the deals are no different than the rotating sale campaigns throughout the year. Admittedly, it does always make a good segment on the local news to interview the dedicated misers camping out in front of Future Shop the night before, and I can't fault that kind of marketing savvy on its own merits. But, I wish more shoppers understood the reasoning behind it.

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