Craig Bamsey On “Discount Porn”

November 18, 2008 at 10:32 am

Business Of Life

GUEST BLOGGER

“Full of people, but no one was buying. Everyone was just walking past the windows, looking at the sales.”

Two people came into the office this morning with similar tales from the front lines of suburban retail. Rubbernecking is in this (pre)Christmas season. Plastic swiping is out. The masses are still coming to the altars of capitalism – they’re just not partaking in the sacrament.

So why do they come? Why load up the kids and go for an indoor stroll past bulging shop windows full of screaming red signs with cryptic numbers and symbols and codewords such as “60% Off” and “Everything must go” and “No item undiscounted?”

Because, it would seem, when indulging our fantasies becomes too expensive, we flexibly become a nation of voyeurs. Sales voyeurs. Patrons of the soft pornography of discounts and mark-downs.

A top story on CNN Headline News this morning noted that GM was offering $15,000 off on brand new Yukon SUVs and Cadillac Escalades. “$15,000!” exclaimed two other people who brought up this fact unaided in subsequent conversations. “It’s almost obscene,” said one. Indeed.

It’s the oldest rule in marketing: “Sex Sells.” What could be sexier than watching products and retailers stripped down to their margins?

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Entry filed under: Business, People.

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