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The right price—the one that will extract the most profit from consumers’ wallets—has become the fixation of a large and growing number of quantitative types, many of them economists who have left academia for Silicon Valley.
It may come as a surprise that, in buying a seasonal pie ingredient, you might be participating in a carefully designed social-science experiment. But this is what online comparison shopping hath wrought. Simply put: Our ability to know the price of anything, anytime, anywhere, has given us, the consumers, so much power that retailers—in a desperate effort to regain the upper hand, or at least avoid extinction—are now staring back through the screen. They are comparison shopping us.
Whilst in the grocery store I saw a bit of cheese. The sign said ¥210. In this scenario, it is important not to jump to the triumphant glee of serendipitous circumstance phase. For future self, these are the steps:
Step One: Note that the stated price is per unit of measure and NOT for the whole chunk of whatever it is.
Step Two: Check the label for the actual price for the item by weight.
Step Three: Gasp in horror.
Step Four: Put that thing back and walk away.
By following these simple steps, it is possible to avoid becoming the sheepish owner of an inordinately expensive bit of a clearly unnecessary luxury item.