There are a few ways to deeply upset a Winnipegger. One of them is a simple phrase. These words, when spoken, will result in a reaction that begins at incredulity, is followed by bewilderment and finally settles into total horror. The word bomb you just dropped on this poor, unsuspecting person?
“Oh, I ended up paying the full price on <insert item here>.”
As the dust settles and the individual composes themselves from the shock, you find yourself trying to explain. Why exactly was this non-urgent item so important that you couldn’t wait for a better price. Why didn’t you look at other retailers? Why didn’t you wait until it’s out of season? As as you try to explain, you realize it is futile. There is no excuse for buying anything non-essential that isn’t discounted or part of some greater deal. Even if it is essential, it should have been foreseen and purchased in advance at a better price. This person is now going to give you a breakdown of when and where that very same item is 40% cheaper. They come back to you two weeks later to tell you that their brother-in-law saw one on for 50% off at some store in Steinbach. You politely promise that the next time you need this particular item, you will drive the 65 km to Steinbach or if that isn’t possible, you’ll certainly keep an eye on the flyers.You have just been sale-shamed.
On the other side, this same mentality shows up again. Reappearing in conversations about newly purchased items. 9 times out of 10, when someone comments on a new purchase, the automatic response is “Thanks! It was on sale!” If it was a really good deal, then it’s outright bragging or maybe a guessing game. The other person is forced into guessing how much your new clock was while you keep saying “Lower!” “Nope! Even lower!” The poor soul finally guesses $1.00 and then you giggle excitedly and say “Someone left it on the curb! It was free!” It’s got to be kind of obnoxious really.
In other cities where image and prestige are priority, it’s a badge of honour to afford expensive items. Admitting it was purchased on sale would be embarrassing. Here, people are genuinely concerned that you don’t know you’ve been swindled. After all, mark ups on products are out of control. A friend in the restaurant business told me that a French cookware company allows businesses to sell their products for any price as long as they mark it up substantially. Consumers assume it costs that much because it’s a quality brand. The $20 actual cost of the pot ends up being $200 simply because it will sell. In most normal places anyway.
Have you scored any deals lately?