How to Shop in a Discounted World
On Sale: October 17, 2013
Hardcover / e-Book
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Discounts are no longer the exception, they’re
the norm. But is that bargain really a bargain?
Paying full price is so passé. A quarter of the
population will only open their wallets if something
is on sale. Everyone wants a deal, a steal, a
hookup with a discount or a way to cut costs. People
don’t only want a deep discount, they expect it
and won’t settle for anything less.
They’re lucky, then, that almost half of
everything sold in America is listed at some kind of
promotional price. It’s a seismic shift that has made
shoppers more savvy than ever, generating phenomena
like extreme couponing, flash sales, and Groupon.
So there’s never been a better time to be a
buyer, right? Perhaps. Sellers have developed their
own tricks to protect profit margins amid such
markdown mania—ones that include secret sales,
shifting prices, and shredding perfectly good clothes.
In this playful, deeply researched book,
journalist Mark Ellwood takes a trip into this new
landscape. He shows how some people are, quite
literally, born to be bargain junkies thanks to a quirk
of their DNA, and uncovers the sales-driven
sleights of hand that sellers employ to hoodwink
Ellwood takes us from the floor of upscale
department store Bergdorf Goodman to the
bustling aisles of a Turkish bazaar, from the outlet
Disney world of rural Pennsylvania to a town in
Florida that can claim to be couponing’s spiritual
capital. We meet savvy buyers trying to wring value
from every cent—stalking fashion editors’ tweets to
learn about sample sales or camping out overnight for
a cut-price computer.
Ellwood also uncovers the dark side of discounting: how
organized crime steals coupons en masse and how certain
boutiques limit discounts to VIPs, running secret sticker
promotions from which the ordinary shopper is excluded.
Bargain Fever is a manual for thriving in this
new era, when deal hunting has gone from being
a sign of indigence to one of intelligence.
There’s never been a better time to be a buyer—at least
if you know how the game works.
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