Friday, May 25, 2012

Take THAT, JCPenney

So, back in February, JCP rolled out a "new" pricing plan.  No longer would they have sales or coupons.  Now everything would be at a constant price until it was permanently marked down.

People like me, who shop with a coupon, who carefully compare prices, and who enjoy the thrill of the bargain hunt, hated it.  I personally haven't been in JCP since mid January when I used my last $10 off coupon.

People who don't care about coupons, who can't be bothered to watch for sales, who just want to get X item right now thought this pricing strategy was genius.

Everyone made much of the concept of "marking up to mark down".  Yes, JCP had ridiculous prices on their  merchandise, and then a big "percent off" that would bring it down to a more reasonable price.  I understand that.  The theory is that the "new" structure would eliminate that, giving each item a fair price right out of the gate. 

Problem is, they used the opportunity to mark up the eventual price by a few dollars, and did away with some of their best deals in the process. 

JCP wants you to believe that under their old pricing structure, they'd take a $50 shirt and offer it for 30% off ($35), and under their new pricing structure, the shirt would be $35, plain and simple.  Problem is, what they did was take that shirt that would have been $35, and make it $38.  Now it LOOKS like the shirt is offered at a lower price to begin with, and they can argue that the shirt is worth $38 forever and ever and ever amen.

But in the past, they'd offer that $50 shirt at 30% off and then mail you a coupon for $10 off, making the eventual cost only $25.  Or the following week they'd offer the $50 shirt at 60% off ($20).  Hmmmm.  When compared to their worst sales, the new pricing structure is grand, especially if you can't be bothered to wait for a sale.  But if you DO wait for sales, JCP gives you nothing now.   It won't matter if you wait; that shirt will be the same price. 

My first stop when shopping at JCP was the clearance racks.  Yes, I realize that at 70% off, the clearance was only a shade less than the 60% sale.  However, 70% off of a $20 item is still a significant savings, and if you have a coupon, guess what, it's free.  You can pick up two of them for a total of only $2.  Tell me how that is MORE expensive than a "fair" price of $15 to begin with?

I read an article today that claimed consumers prefer being shafted to getting an actual fair price.  That they want to FEEL like they're saving money, and the actual savings doesn't matter.  Bullshit.  I only ever shopped at JCP when I had a $10 coupon.  I would frequently pick up a blouse for $2 or a workout outfit for $6.  I often had to pick up a second item in order to make the $10 purchase minimum!  At the change of the seasons, I would find tons  of great shirts for my husband for less than $10---sometimes I'd  come home with 2 shirts for $4 after the discounts and my coupon.

You want "fair", JCP?  You can't shaft me, because I am smarter than you.  You lost all my business!  


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