Several days ago I found myself walking past a shop with a large red ‘clearance’ sign out the front that also noted ‘closing down sale’ and ‘50% off store wide’. I suddenly found myself inside the store even though I had no intention of being there, no purpose. Why are these words and phrases that depict significant financial ‘savings’ so powerful and persuasive? How did a red sign manage to take over my pre-planned morning? It was like I was in a bit of a trance and I just had to stop. I couldn’t just walk past.
The Italian word for sale is ‘saldi’. The fact I know this even though I speak no Italian is remarkable. It proves the simple nature of ubiquitous global marketing and sales techniques actually work. The fact that a retail sale is such a well known global phenomenon is remarkable. Of all the Italian words to know, that is the one I recognize. Amazing. Many years ago when I was travelling and in Italy I remember seeing these signs in shop windows frequently. Even though they were in a different language, I still recognised that the big red sign in large capital letters translates directly into SALE.
As I was wandering the aisles of the store, thinking to myself countless times ‘wow that’s a bargain and ‘that’s down to $1, I could find a use for that!’. As I browsed the store I came to realise most of the stuff in there was junk that I didn’t need. Even if it was a bargain and even if it was only $1. I left with that $1 in my pocket instead and I feel much better for it. Anything I had purchased in that store I would have bought simply because it was on sale and because it may have come in handy at some point down the track. Clutter.
Following this experience, I began to reflect on how I had nearly succumbed to the big red signs. But there were many other people in the shop who were clearly in the same boat as me, except they were actually parting with their money. I made the biggest saving of all that day, I didn’t buy anything I didn’t need and I’m proud of myself for it. I became conscious of marketing techniques and how I reacted to them, therefore allowing me to be conscious of my own actions and take charge.
50% off? I had 100% off that day. If you don’t need it, you haven’t saved 50%, you’ve spent 50%. That, I believe is one of the best ways of looking at it.
Have you been lured in by a closing down sale?