The American Consumer: Grade A Idiot

I try to keep this blog mostly about foraging and Wild Cookery, but there are some things I just can’t stand…

I saw this story in the news today.

It’s about how the sugar companies need a bailout and the govt is going to buy 400,000 tons of sugar to keep the already federally funded companies afloat.

Which also reminded me of how stupid people are.

(Cross-posted on the Wild Cookery Forum,)

Once upon a time I owned a little Celtic Silver Jewelry store. (And a Pizza shop, but that’s another story entirely which I’ll save for another day.)

The wholesale cost for the rings I’d get from Blake Brothers and other silver suppliers was, on average, about $2.50 to $4 per ring, depending upon the size and intricacy of the ring. Now these were sterling silver rings. .999 silver. The same ones you see offered for $40 to $50 at your local retailer. Hint: They only paid about $3 for them, and you’re getting screwed.

Anyway, not being a greedy fellow, I set my price for the rings at about cost plus 10% – 20% This means that I offered the rings, roughly, for between $3 and $5. People couldn’t believe it. The first several dozen people in my shop insisted that the rings had to be fake or that something underhanded had to be going on. Or that I had gotten ripped off, and wasn’t sold real silver.

One woman INSISTED that I didn’t know what I was talking about, as she was a self proclaimed silver jewelry connoisseur and affectionado, and she’d paid NO LESS than $40 for ANY silver ring she’d ever bought. She was NOT happy when I told her that she’d been hornswaggled. I even offered to show her the wholesale catalogs, but she’s have nothing of the sort. I was wrong, she was right, and according to her I was selling defective merchandise of some kind.

One fellow though, had a brain on him. He came in the door, saw the prices on the rings, looked at the rings, looked at them again, and said… “Wow.. are these sterling silver.” “Yes, they are.” I said.

“I’ve never seen them this cheap, how do you sell them so inexpensively?” he inquired. I then explained wholesale cost vs retail markup, and the fellow was aghast. He’d come in to look for a nice ring for his wife, and had planned on spending $40 to $50. So, instead, he ended up buying 10 rings. A few for his wife, that he said he’d keep tucked away for future occasions, and one for each of his daughters. The guy left a very happy man and spent like $30. Less than what he’d planned on spending for ONE single ring.

The fellow said something then that I’ll never forget. He said, “You know my friend, most people are dumber than dog shit, and very set in their ways. Have you had trouble selling rings at this price?”

I told them that I indeed had. He suggested marking them up in the future to $35 each and then put up a sign that said something like: ‘Sterling Silver sale, 25% off!’

I thought that was kind of low down and sneaky, but I had a feeling this guy was right.

So, a few weeks later I did just that.

New people came in, and the silver stuff flew out the door like hotcakes.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, the average American consumer is indeed dumber than dog shit.

And I have no pity or respect for them.

They could have had silver rings at cost plus 10 percent. But since they refused to buy them at that price and refused to adjust their paradigm, I then jacked the price up slightly lower than regular retail. To them they were getting a ‘great deal’, when in all actuality they were getting totally screwed. Just less totally screwed than they usually were. But hey, the customers were happy as clams, so more power to the poor fools.

They get things into their head that certain things ‘must’ cost a certain minimal price and if there is any deviation from that (other than of course a price increase), then they think something hinkey is going on, or that something isn’t ‘real’. Or that it’s defective, or whatever.

Now aren’t you glad you aren’t an average American consumer? 😉

(If you were, you certainly wouldn’t be here talking about and learning about foraging, would you?)

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Categories: Economy, Government | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “The American Consumer: Grade A Idiot

  1. Personally, I’ve thought of the metaphor more like sheep. A rather dumb animal very easy to lead, even by a dog. I have also thought it interesting that the Christian Church uses the sheep metaphor for the people.

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