Friday, 3 August 2012

Why does price sensitivity go out the window?

A regular sight outside the more 'economical' end of the supermarket trade - Aldi, Lidl and no doubt the soon-to-be-resurrected Kwik Save - are the number of personally-numberplated executive cars parked there. It seems that continually paying over the odds for food basics is a hobby that people are giving up across the entire socio-economic divide, and if it means hiking your fur coat up over your behind and joining the great unwashed in order to reduce the price of your shopping basket, then so be it.

The £ in your pocket is definitely better in your pocket.

However, what I can't understand is how price-sensitivity totally disappears amongst the great British public the moment they enter an airport, train station, attend a conference/event venue or enter a motorway stopover.

Instantaneously, the person who would normally travel 10 miles around six different supermarkets in order to save 3p on a tub of yoghurt, is suddenly quite at ease purchasing three bottles of 60p mineral water for £2.30 each, or two slices of bread with a piece of neatly cut inner tube masquerading as a slice of salami in between for nearly £5.

Similarly, while at home, they will take Tom's advice and travel 15 miles out of their way to save 3p a litre on petrol, yet they are quite happy to fill up on the motorway at their normal home price + 14p a litre!

Why do people do it? Do they not realise that if they voted with their brains, wallets and feet, it would drive these over-pricings down.

There are a variety of reasons these venues give as to why their good are so over-priced. The best one, for motorway stopovers, is "we have to pay staff" and pay "our rental costs". Yes. So does my local Londis, open at 6am every morning until 10pm at night -  yet I can get some cracking offers there (OK, some items might be cheaper in the supermarket). And I bet the poor motorway staff aren't paid at an equivalent rate to the head office clowns who set the over-pricing strategy!

And these suburban shopping parade destroyers, or Tesco Metros as some might refer to them, are no great shakes either. They force small family-run grocery stores and newsagents out of business, when they are, on average, 15-20% more expensive than their supermarket brethren.

But I really can't get to grips with why airports, train stations, and motorway stopovers simply just have to always rip you off! And especially as they are a gateway for many tourists. They are excruciatingly and blatantly over-priced. It's such a great impression we give to the visitor!

Sadly, their prices will remain for as long as the sheepish, and let's be honest, idiotic customers, keep buying the stuff.

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