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Old 04-26-2010, 01:16 PM
wisernow wisernow is offline
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"20% off everything", then why this..?

I was at an outlet mall yesterday and noticed a line up at the Coach Factory store. Curious, when I got closer, I found the people in the queue clutching a piece of paper that said 20% off everything in the store.

There was this woman at the entrance to the store who was giving out the slips and who was also restricting entry of the customers which of course was the reason for the queue. She would allow only a few of the customers at a time to enter the store.

I have seen controlled entry at stores elsewhere where they have a good discount or deal going, the purpose being to ensure that the crowd in the store remains manageable.

However, in the case I am talking about, the store was not crowded at all.

I moved on and happened to pass the same store much later near closing time and noticed that there was no longer a queue. Despite that, the woman was still there at the entrance giving out that slip of paper to anyone entering the store. Curious to see what was happening, I went into the store.

The customers were handing over the paper slips at the checkout along with the merchandise they wanted to buy.

I have been thinking about this whole scheme and it does not make any sense to me. The only explanation I can think off is that the store had created this elaborate set up only to attract more customers to the store than what it would have probably got with a standard signage of "20% Off Everything" that is more common.

By restricting entry, the store creates a line up at the entrance. This attracts the attention of peple passing the store and evokes curiosity. The herd mentality kicks in. The person sees a queue and people waiting to get in and just assumes that there must be some benefit here and joins the crowd.

The store thus achieves the target of getting more customers into the store.

Is my reasoning correct or was something else going on?

And if my guess is valid, then hypothetically speaking, can I as a customer who was made to stand in the line for no added benefit, register a complaint to that effect.
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  #2  
Old 04-26-2010, 01:23 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wisernow View Post
By restricting entry, the store creates a line up at the entrance. This attracts the attention of peple passing the store and evokes curiosity. The herd mentality kicks in.
Not only that, but having endured the queue and entered, the customers now feel that the 20% off is a privilege they have earned, and become reluctant to waste it. Which mans they try hard to find something to save money on (i.e. spend money on).
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:27 PM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wisernow View Post

And if my guess is valid, then hypothetically speaking, can I as a customer who was made to stand in the line for no added benefit, register a complaint to that effect.
All of your reasoning upt to this point seems perfectly valid. However, I question your use of the word "made" at the end - did an armed sales associate force you to stand in line, and prevent you from leaving the line until you entered the store?
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:30 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Yeah, it was a zoo. My wife bought a purse at one outlet. They were not restricting the number of entrants, but the place was a zoo and the conversation volume level was pretty high. Word seems to have spread pretty quickly. I suppose it's easier that repricing everything and more publicity than a little sign in the window.

Along with the 20% off flyer thing was the fact that many items were 50% off or even 70% off. So for example, one purse regularly going for $360 was available for about $130. That might seem high for a purse (don't know myself) but it is definitely more reasonable than $360. A $40 fake might be a good deal when the real deal is over $300, but when it's just $130 extravagent there's some appeal in a real one. I'm not qualified enough to know if the $40 Canal St. knockoffs are comparable in quality, but my instinct says probably not.

the lady at the store said it was just before annual inventory so Coach was trying to reduce the number of items to count - not sure if I believe her. Anyway, worked for them...
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  #5  
Old 04-26-2010, 01:32 PM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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Maybe they just assumed they would be crowded all day and when they were not they still kept the restrictions.
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  #6  
Old 04-26-2010, 01:40 PM
Ace309 Ace309 is online now
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Originally Posted by wisernow View Post
... hypothetically speaking, can I as a customer who was made to stand in the line for no added benefit, register a complaint to that effect.
With the store? Sure, knock yourself out. Don't expect it to get anywhere, though.

If you think you have some sort of legal case, though, I (as a non-lawyer layman) think you're out of luck. I can't imagine what you think the grounds would be.
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  #7  
Old 04-26-2010, 01:54 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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Originally Posted by wisernow View Post
I was at an outlet mall yesterday and noticed a line up at the Coach Factory store. Curious, when I got closer, I found the people in the queue clutching a piece of paper that said 20% off everything in the store.
I have to wonder if you were at the same outlet mall and same Coach store that my husband and I picked up my push present at on Saturday.

FWIW, assuming you were (it's in Balzac) the store opened on the 10th of April and it was MOBBED with a line going all the way down the mall to the Bass Pro shop (if this isn't the same mall and you have no idea what I'm talking about, just take my word for it -it was a LOOOOOOONG line).

The next day the line was longer, half the doors were closed and they had armed security on hand - I don't know what happened on the Saturday, but I assume it was something else if they brought in off duty cops to control the crowd.

Perhaps when you were there it had been much busier before you got there and the line was a hold-over? Dunno - FWIW, on Saturday when my husband and I were there, there was no line and we got the coupon at the door and just went and made the purchase; however, it was late at night (well, 8:00 PM on a Saturday) so perhaps there'd been a line earlier in the day? Anyway, hubby was able to pick up my gift for $160 rather than $400 which made him happy.

As to if you would have a cause of action - uh, I don't know how you could - you waited in line and got 20% off which depending on your desire for a Coach purse, and how long you waited could be a reasonable trade off.
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  #8  
Old 04-26-2010, 02:56 PM
wisernow wisernow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
All of your reasoning upt to this point seems perfectly valid. However, I question your use of the word "made" at the end - did an armed sales associate force you to stand in line, and prevent you from leaving the line until you entered the store?
Ok, I guess I worded it wrongly. I was just questioning the ethics behind the scheme from the store's viewpoint.

And no, I have no intention to litigate or anything else for that matter and so please ignore that question.

I am more interested in understanding why or how so many people get taken in like this. No one seemed to grudge standing in line at all!

I can understand the purpose behind the creation of the queue. Crowd management and/or a way to pull in people.

But what was the purpose of doling out that piece of paper? People were holding on to that slip of paper as if it was a prize they had won. It was almost comical to see them faithfully produce it at the checkout. I mean, would the cashier have refused the discount to someone if she came with a bag she wanted to buy, but did not have the piece of paper?

I am imagining this bit –

Customer presents the bag at the checkout.
Cashier- Ma’am, can I have that piece of paper that the lady at the entrance gave you?
Customer – (fumbling through her purse and pockets) Er..I can’t seem to find it.
Cashier – No discount for you then.
Customer – But it says 20% off everything in the store!
Cashier – Yes, but only if you can hang on to that piece of scrap that the lady at the entrance gave you. See all those nice people behind you and how they are holding on to that paper?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland
I have to wonder if you were at the same outlet mall and same Coach store that my husband and I picked up my push present at on Saturday.
No, this was last Saturday at the Fashion Outlet Mall in Niagara Falls NY. The line up here was not not much, maybe about 30 people and a few in the store.

Seriously, that was what surprised me. Not many people in the store, yet a line of 30 outside! And all standing like a bunch of school children with that piece of paper in their hands!
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Old 04-26-2010, 03:16 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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My experience was in an outlet mall near Minneapolis. We didn't know it was going on until we passed by; they were handing out the tickets just inside the door to everyone. Not sure if you had to present it at the register or they just automatically provided the discount.

I think the explanation for the mobbing was selling merchandise well below it's usual exorbitant price. It's like iPads or Cabbage Patch Kids or Tickle Me Elmo whatever the latest craze is. Coach is a desirable and recognizable brand, a status symbol. Whether Coach or Prada or Gucci or whatever is worth $400 plus for a purse, whether Rolex or Movado or whatever is worth over $1000 for a wristwatch, etc - that's a personal choice.

Obvious, the status of having one and showing it off is worth it to some people. That's why the mobbed sale, that's why the Canal Street knockoffs at $45 for a purse that without the look-alike appearance could be just a $15 Target special.

The purpose of money is to spend it - either now or later. What you spend it on is your choice.
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  #10  
Old 04-26-2010, 04:32 PM
Apocalypso Apocalypso is offline
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Could be they're being cautious because they had a similar sale, and there was an incident where someone was injured in the rush of people. Also, if it was an unannounced sale, they might just be trying to burn off old inventory or meet their store sales quotas. Advertising and putting up signs would cost money and might draw in more people than they would want. Having a setup like you've described would allow the store to stop the sale once they've reached their desired goal.

Last edited by Apocalypso; 04-26-2010 at 04:34 PM..
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  #11  
Old 04-26-2010, 04:57 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wisernow View Post

Customer presents the bag at the checkout.
Cashier- Ma’am, can I have that piece of paper that the lady at the entrance gave you?
Customer – (fumbling through her purse and pockets) Er..I can’t seem to find it.
Cashier – No discount for you then.
Customer – But it says 20% off everything in the store!
Cashier – Yes, but only if you can hang on to that piece of scrap that the lady at the entrance gave you. See all those nice people behind you and how they are holding on to that paper?
I expect she'd dig up a piece of paper and use that. I've been behind people at Macy's who didn't have a discount card for the day, to have the clerk take hers and swipe it. You don't want a customer feeling ripped off.

BTW, my wife swears by Coach stuff. They last forever, and they will repair them for you. She bought a bag from another company - just about as expensive - a while ago, and it fell apart in a few years. Back to Coach, never to leave. I suspect the outlet stores have overstock and a smaller selection than the regular stores. The stuff she has wanted has never been in one.
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  #12  
Old 04-26-2010, 05:03 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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Originally Posted by wisernow View Post
No, this was last Saturday at the Fashion Outlet Mall in Niagara Falls NY. The line up here was not not much, maybe about 30 people and a few in the store.
I am so glad that I wasn't there with my wife, then. (We've been there on several occasions.)

Her father used to tell her: "Some day you'll join everyone else in a long line and it'll end up being for the bathroom."
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  #13  
Old 04-26-2010, 05:37 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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Originally Posted by wisernow View Post
No, this was last Saturday at the Fashion Outlet Mall in Niagara Falls NY. The line up here was not not much, maybe about 30 people and a few in the store.
Interesting, and certainly not the same store!

I don't really know what 1,000 people looks like in a line, but I bet the one on the opening weekend must have been close - the mall is at least a kilometer long, and the line was almost the full length of the mall with people standing 3 and 4 deep in it.

Honestly, I pointed and laughed at them because no way in hell would I wait that long to buy anything. However, when hubby and I walked by on a later day and there was no line at all, plus 20% off we were happy to go in.
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