The Perception of Items With Low Price Tags

The Perception of Items With Low Price Tags

I had to shop for a new backpack the other day as my old one has lasted for almost a decade and a half. I was just browsing around a department store and saw some interesting ones and as always I always debate about the prices as I want to get the best value for the dollar.

Some of them were in the $50 range which I thought was way too much for something that I would simply throw some items in on occasion. A comment was then made on how there was another store that sold backpacks for about $10 which should do the job and another person then automatically disregarded that and mentioned how the quality must be very bad.

The first thing that came to my mind was how price doesn’t necessarily correlate with the quality of a product. From a business point of view, in many cases you are paying for all of the marketing and overhead costs of getting that product in-front of you.

For example, if there was only one apple tree in the area and one guy has to drive twenty miles whereas another person just has to walk one block to do the same business offering the same product then odds are the last guy can sell the same product for less as his overhead is almost nothing.

I did end up just getting the $10 one and it seems fine for my needs.


  • Stewart Marshall 4/14/2008

    I started reading your post and immediately thought of MEC as a place to go for a backpack. Then I saw that $50 was too much (surprising) and thought about something else.

    I don’t know about your specific $10 backpack, but it’s possible at that price it was made using child slavery in a distant part of the world. It may use materials which may last a decade and a half, and possibly, once it makes it’s way to landfill, last a dozen decades or more!

    I’m not trying to make you feel bad, but simply wanted to illustrate that the consumer is increasingly aware of where, how and with what a product is now made. In many cases they also appear to be willing to pay a premium for say, a backpack made by disabled war veterans out of ethically acceptable leather (i.e. the Cow had a name!.

  • Alan Yu 4/14/2008

    The bag I bought was actually plastered with things like Vancouver and Canadian stock exchange symbols which makes me believe that it could have possibly been a giveaway item and the store was selling it off as they didn’t want it.

    I might actually write a topic about “slave labor” now that you mention it as it might be an interesting business topic. Usually generates a lot of opinions.

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