Sunday, February 08, 2009

Huge discounts on clothes - how true ?

Nowadays, there are a number of shops (primarily in the area of apparel and clothing) that seek to attract customers through offering huge discounts. So you have brands such as Priknit offering 80% sale on their jackets, Cantabil offering 80% discount on all clothes, Pepe Jeans branding a sale logo of Buy 2, get 2 free, Kouton's offering 50% + 50% and so on. I have been shopping in many of these, and realize that there is a huge amount of anti-consumer intent behind many of these. A lot of the numbers are inflated, and actual good quality is scarce. So let's take some specific examples, and see what goes on:

- Pepe Jeans: The store had this huge sales sign outside proclaiming that if you buy 2, then you get 2 free (and of course they had the '*', means that some conditions will apply). However, if you thought that this was a great bargain for getting 2 Pepe jeans, then think again. The offer was only for Pepe T-shirts, something that they forgot to put in the huge sign.

- Priknit: I was looking for some discounted jackets for the next season, and Priknit with it's 80% offer seemed fishy, but why not give it a try. So off I went to the Shipra Mall in Indirapuram in the NCR region, and entered the store over there. I looked at a jacket when inside, and speculated that such a jacket should not cost more than Rs. 2,000 at the most, and it looked impressive, and with 80% discount, could be considered for buying. Imagine the shock when the list price of the jacket was listed at Rs. 4,000, and on a closer look, some of the threads on the jacket seemed to be awry. And there were some better jackets that were listed at Rs. 6,000 - you could have knocked me down with a feather.

- Cantabil was the next one - Here also there was a 80% discount. Well, guess what, more of the same. Shirts (and nothing spectacular) were listed at Rs. 1600. I am pretty sure that people would not have even looked at the store again if these shirts were retailed at their full list price; I made a quick exit from the store. If I wanted to buy such shirts, would rather go to a much better place.

- Kouton was the first such brand that was offering these 75% kind of discounts on clothes, and I remember buying some pretty great looking shirts from at discounted prices of Rs. 400, and those shirts looked great, but when I had gone there recently, the quality and designs had degraded.

Final realization: What looks like a bargain may not be a bargain (there is this psychological thing where you end up buying something if it seems to be a great bargain, and you have to spend some effort in order to prevent yourself from falling under this spell), and a lot of these retailers are indulging in some pretty ugly anti-consumer practices. Please add more such issues you know about in comments.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 10:15 AM