Synopses & Reviews
Discounts are no longer the exception, theyre the norm. But is that bargain really a bargain?
Paying full price is so passé. A quarter of the population will only open their wallets if something is on sale. Everyone wants a deal, a steal, a hookup with a discount or a way to cut costs. People dont only want a deep discount, they expect it and wont settle for anything less.
Theyre lucky, then, that almost half of everything sold in America is listed at some kind of promotional price. Its a seismic shift that has made shoppers more savvy than ever, generating phenomena like extreme couponing, flash sales, and Groupon.
So theres never been a better time to be a buyer, right? Perhaps. Sellers have developed their own tricks to protect profit margins amid such markdown maniaones that include secret sales, shifting prices, and shredding perfectly good clothes.
In this playful, deeply researched book, journalist Mark Ellwood takes a trip into this new landscape. He shows how some people are, quite literally, born to be bargain junkies thanks to a quirk of their DNA, and uncovers the sales-driven sleights of hand that sellers employ to hoodwink unsuspecting buyers.
Ellwood takes us from the floor of upscale department store Bergdorf Goodman to the bustling aisles of a Turkish bazaar, from the outlet Disney world of rural Pennsylvania to a town in Florida that can claim to be couponings spiritual capital. We meet savvy buyers trying to wring value from every centstalking fashion editors tweets to learn about sample sales or camping out overnight for a cut-price computer.
Ellwood also uncovers the dark side of discounting: how organized crime steals coupons en masse and how certain boutiques limit discounts to VIPs, running secret sticker promotions from which the ordinary shopper is excluded.
Bargain Fever is a manual for thriving in this new era, when deal hunting has gone from being a sign of indigence to one of intelligence. Theres never been a better time to be a buyerat least if you know how the game works.
“Well-written and illuminating, Ellwood reveals the implications bargain shopping holds for American retailing not just in the present, but for years to come” — Publishers Weekly
“This book is a bargain hunters bible.”—Michael Tonello, author, Bringing Home the Birkin “Ever wonder how you wound up with so much stuff in your house? Through gumshoe investigative reporting and revealing case studies, Mark Ellwoods Bargain Fever explores our addiction to acquiring abundantly on the cheap—whether we need the items or not—and how corporations have encouraged and nourished it with coupons, outlets, sales, and other commercial gimmicks. The science of whipping up this consumerism frenzy is startling and somewhat revolting; Bargain Fever is a shopaholics cure.”— Dana Thomas, author, Deluxe
“Witty, incisive, and sharply observant, Bargain Fever had me laughing out loud from page one.”— Tilly Bagshawe, author, Adored
“Bargain Fever is just as fierce, funny, tenacious, and tantalizing as its author. I love this book.”—Kelly Cutrone, founder, Peoples Revolution, and author, Normal Gets You Nowhere
A spirited investigation into the phenomenon of bargain hunting, now bigger than ever.
When Coca-Cola offered the first retail coupon in the 1880s customers were thrilled. But todays shoppers, plugged into Gilt Groupe, RueLaLa, and Living Social, see sales and discounts as the norm, not the exception. The relentless pursuit of deals has totally changed the relationship between buyers and sellers.
In this playful, well-researched book, journalist Mark Ellwood takes readers deep into the discount game, both high end and low. From the haggling markets of Istanbul to Black Friday in a suburban mall, to pinnacles of global luxury such as Hermès and Louis Vuitton, companies and consumers are engaged in a constant game of cat and mouse. Some companies now change their prices literally second by second. Consumers, for their part, turn to coupon apps and strategic Twitter analysis to find great bargains.
Todays unorthodox tactics range from secret” sales for frequent shoppers to brands going so far as to destroy unsold merchandise rather than slash prices. Ellwood offers fascinating insights into the twisted economy of bargain hunting, with more than a few
shopping tips for readers.
A spirited investigation into the world of bargain hunting and how shoppers and sellers try to one-up each other
When Coca-Cola offered the first retail coupon in the 1880s, customers were thrilled. But today, one in four American shoppers will buy something only if its on sale, and almost half of all merchandise carries a promotional price. The relentless pursuit of deals has totally disrupted the relationship between buyers and sellers.
In this playful, well-researched book, journalist Mark Ellwood investigates what happens to markets when everythings negotiable. From the haggling bazaars of Istanbul to Black Friday at a mall in upstate New York to pinnacles of global luxury such as Hermès and Louis Vuitton, sellers and shoppers are engaged in a constant game of cat and mouse.
Price consultants use the latest findings in neuroeconomics to fool shoppers into thinking theyve gotten a great deal. Consumers, on the other hand, are more empowered than ever by technology, from coupon apps to strategic Twitter analysis. And some brands resist the trend entirely, opting to set their unsold merch out to sea and shred it rather than slash prices.
Enlightening as it is entertaining, Bargain Fever offers invaluable insights into how shopping works today.
This book is a bargain hunters bible.” Michael Tonello, author, Bringing Home the Birkin
These days almost half of everything is sold at some kind of discount. This seismic shift has made shoppers more savvy than ever, generating phenomena like extreme couponing, flash sales, and Groupon. But meanwhile, retailers have developed their own tricks to protect their profit margins, including secret sales, shifting prices, and shredding perfectly good clothes.
In this playful, deeply researched book, Mark Ellwood uncovers the sleights of hand that sellers employ to hoodwink unsuspecting buyers. He takes us from the floor of upscale department store Bergdorf Goodman to the bustling aisles of a Turkish bazaar, from the outlets of rural Pennsylvania to a town in Florida thats the spiritual capital of couponing. His book is a manual for thriving in this new era, when deal hunting has gone from being a sign of indigence to one of intelligence.
About the Author
Mark Ellwood is a journalist whose reporting on retail has appeared in the Financial Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, W, Wall Street Journal, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and Travel + Leisure. He lives in New York City.