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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:29 AM
Original message
How Outlet Malls Have Convinced Shoppers into Thinking They're Getting a Sweet Deal
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 06:32 AM by marmar
via AlterNet:



How Outlet Malls Have Convinced Shoppers into Thinking They're Getting a Sweet Deal

By Ellen Rupel Shell, The Penguin Press. Posted August 8, 2009.

Are America's 55 million outlet shoppers scoring great deals on expensive brandname products, or getting less than they're bargaining for?



The following is an excerpt from Cheap by Ellen Rupel Shell (Penguin, 2009).

HOMER: Look at these low, low prices on famous brand-name electronics!
BART: Don't be a sap, Dad. These are just crappy knockoffs.
HOMER: Pfft. I know a genuine Panaphonics when I see it. And look, there's a Magnetbox and Sorny.
SALESMAN: Listen, I'm not going to lie to you. Those are all superior machines. But if you like to watch TV, and I mean really watch it, you want the Carnivale. It features a two-pronged wall plug, a pre-molded hand grip well, durable outer casing to prevent fall apart . . .
HOMER: Sold. You wrap it up, I'll start bringing in the pennies.

-- The Simpsons, "Scenes from a Class Struggle in Springfield," first aired Feb. 4, 1996


The "deluxe" room at the Excalibur was a bargain. There were even cheaper options available in Las Vegas that week, but not with Exacalibur's Knights of the Round Table meets Six Flags decor and its prime location just steps from the Strip. For $69 plus tax I got the full-throttle Sin City experience: a lobby thick with slot jockeys; billboards flashing round-the-clock neon teasers for bare-breasted "exotic" entertainment; and round tables of low rollers drinking scotch at 9 a.m., hope draining from their faces like transfusing blood.

I was in Vegas to gamble, though in truth the casino was only a detour. My mission was to check out the retail gambit, which in Vegas seemed just as dicey as the slots. Scores of stores circle the hotel lobbies, and hundreds more line the Strip, hawking everything from tattoos ("Fresh needles for every new customer!") to Corum Golden Bridge or Chopard Haute Joaillerie watches with an optional diamond wrist strap. It is terra incognita for a bargain hunter, but fortunately I had a guide: Gillian Naylor, a professor of marketing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Naylor's paper, "Price and Brand Name as Indicators of Quality Dimensions for Consumer Durables," in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, had alerted me to her expertise in connecting the dots of brand name, price, and consumer perception. Her standards were high, and when I shuffled into her modest office, her appraisal of my stated mission was, to put it kindly, dubious. "The mall you've picked," she said evenly, "is pretty bad. They have Catherine Plus Sizes and Dress Barn Woman." Naylor is tall and elegant and no plus size. I felt a little foolish to have come all this way with no fashion sense. Sensing my discomfort (and panic), Naylor gently suggested that we aim a tad higher. She named a glamorous-sounding venue featuring discount versions of Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, A/X Armani Exchange, and 120 other stores. Ashamed to admit that my budget was more Dress Barn than Gabbana, I agreed, and minutes later we were off in her Acura TL, windows up, air-conditioning steady, destination Las Vegas Premium Fashion Outlets.

Outlet malls are big in Europe, Japan, and Hong Kong. They exist in Turkey, Dubai, and South Africa. If there is one deep in the Amazon rain forest, and another just south of the North Pole, it would not surprise me. The New York Times once reported that outlet malls were not only the fastest growing segment of the retail industry but one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. Franklin Mills Outlets in northeast Philadelphia rings in four times the visitors of the Liberty Bell. A pair of outlet malls near San Marcos, Texas, outdraw the Alamo. Colonial Williamsburg can't hold a candle to mega-outlet mall Potomac Mills. This is not to suggest that Americans don't take pride in our national heritage; we surely do. We revere the Liberty Bell and Colonial Williamsburg. We salute the Alamo. It's just that most of us prefer to spend our time where we believe our dollar will go further. .........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/workplace/141858/how_outlet_mal... /




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natrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:35 AM
Response to Original message
1. research then by chit off the net
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Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. Nah. Buy locally.
Malls and internet malls are of no interest to me, unless there is absolutely no other option.
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zbdent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. okay ... where do I get a Richfield-Ohio made TV?
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 07:29 AM
Response to Original message
2. the premuim outlet mall near here is packed every weekend
i went there once and could`t find anything worth buying. most if not all the stuff was still overpriced. there`s no difference between a $100 and a $45 pair of jeans sewn in veitnam. what`s worse the label is buying the jeans for less than $5.

outlet malls?-- hip kids and their parents shop at "plato`s closet"
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exboyfil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 07:40 AM
Response to Original message
3. I never understood the fascination with shopping
while on vacation. For goodness sakes you spent a pretty penny in dollars and vacation time from work, why waste it in a store when you could be visiting the beach, a park, an amusement park (getting your full day's worth so to speak), etc.

Also you have to get the stuff back (usually your car is already overfilled and don't even get started about checked baggage).

When I go on vacation I assign a dollar value to my time. That is why I avoid the Timeshare presentations (which I used to do when I was younger). My time on vacation is worth a whole lot more than $40/hr (what most of the Timeshare giveaways amount to). Without entertainment a family of four has already spent $1500 minimum to get to Flordia ($250*4 for airline and $500 for hotel). Throw in food to keep you going (probably another $200 over what you would have otherwise spent). You really only have about 10 hrs/day and six days at best.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 07:58 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. I'm much more fascinated by a lovely panorama or a great museum...
Heck, I've been known to go see the World's First Bulldozer or the Earth's Most Impressive Rubber Band Ball before I'd go anywhere near an Outlet Mall or Shopping.

Life is too short.

Anyway, looking at the numbers you bring up, I'm sure it'll be a staycation for me this year.


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exboyfil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. A staycation for me as well this year
The temperature has been wonderful here this year during the summer. Been out of doors jogging at least 1 1/2 hours everyday. No crowds, beautiful bike trails, why would I wan't to go anywhere else. I am pocketing the $2-3K this year and putting it towards the kids' college.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. An excellent plan. n/t
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