Devil’s work

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Discounts are now a commonplace. Wherever you turn, a discount is waiting for you. There is almost no shopwindow with prices, without the famous “%” sign following. And even a remaining number of people who watch TV or listen to the radio can’t escape the discounts that appear in pictures and words in each commercial. It’s getting harder and harder to click something without discounts popping up from all sides of the screen.

There are various discounts. Some are logical and understandable – for example when they are given for food products that are close to the expiration date; or when purchasing a larger number of the same product or a larger quantity of product. To some extent, they make sense when given for out season clothes. There are some more examples.

Discounts aren’t a novelty, we are familiar with them and we look forward to them ever since we know about them. What has changed in the last years is that the discounts have somehow grown, they are getting fatter in a way, as well as bigger and bigger. There was a time when discount of 10% was an attractive deal for lots of things, not to mention those of 15-20%. And today? If there are such discounts, we don’t even notice them. Today, our attention can be attracted by discounts of 50% and more. It seems to me that a level of 60-70% has already become “new normal”.

Simply, discounts have mutated. They have become a means of corruption by which the modern consumer is being bribed. Discounts are no longer the last argument in a series of offers, explanations and benefits of the product. Now they are more and more becoming the only argument. Because, what what is there to add today when you are trying to persuade someone to buy new shoes, new bag, new mobile, new shirt, new TV when these things are offered on every corner. And that’s why you should make the long story short – just say “70% discount” and you’ve done your job.

The discount has thus become more and more important element of the price. In the sea of offers, the nominal price has become a relative category, while at the same time the discount is an absolute one. If something is on a 70% discount, you should buy it, no matter what it is. At such a discount, you have a good deal, you feel victorious. It is true that this feeling will not last long, but it doesn’t matter, there will be a new discount.

Sounds familiar? Of course, this is nothing new, this status has its own name – addiction. And addiction needs to be treated, otherwise, it can be very dangerous. And we can’t say that this illness hasn’t developed and that its symptoms aren’t more visible. Former traditional seasonal discounts, which offered higher and higher discounts, are now being complemented by real consumer festivals – now we have black Fridays, cyber Mondays, and I don’t doubt that every day in a week will soon have its additional consumer name –  the competition is open.

And your social status has become a reason for buying with a discount. If you are single, your holiday is 11-11, since that November date has all units as numerical symbols of your status. And the question is how to celebrate it with dignity? Clearly, buying with huge discounts. Thus, at this year’s Singles Day, the Chinese trade mastodon “Alibaba” had a turnover of $ 30 billion in in just one single November day, thus breaking down its last year’s record of paltry 25 billion.

Discount has become such an important element of the price, that more and more sellers present basic prices through a discount model. They instantly increase the nominal sales price by the appropriate percentage, and then present it as a favorable purchase with a discount.

Regardless of the fact that it is not necessary to be a top genius to understand what is actually happening here, it is interesting how this “price-and-discount” influences logical thinking in people to disappear massively.

If something is sold with a big discount, and it is not a perishable commodity, common sense tells us that something is seriously wrong with this product. If so, why do we buy it? In contrast to this, if everything is fine with the product sold with such a discount, it turns out that all those who had bought the product at a full price are deceived. Why would I want to buy a product from a fraudster, then? What happens to us when we explain this sense of victory to ourselves as evidence that we are smarter and more capable than others who bought it at full price? And what if tomorrow the same product that we bought with a 50% discount is on sale for 70%? Would we feel deceived? Why this isn’t a sign to come to our senses, but just an additional reason to look for an even better discount and turn out even smarter and more capable?

We are very aware that it’s a trick. But, we love to be seduced and that’s why we accept it. That’s why discounts will continue to grow. There are already 90% discounts, and they will reach up to 100%. And it will cross the magic border. Aren’t we already given products for free when we buy another one, just to try them? And there will be more of these examples. We will be even paid to take more. By accepting these “Greeks bearing gifts”, we give so much in return, unconsciously and without being aware of it. That’s how we sell our souls, as well. And that’s already the devil’s work.

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