I have often wondered what it is that makes people seem to enjoy being conned. I know what you’re thinking – “people don’t con me!”

Well sit down and think about it. How much did you pay for those highly fashionable jeans you bought recently? £50, £70, £100, maybe more. If you look into the background and production cost of those jeans, you will probably find that they were manufactured in a sweat shop, probably in a third world country, and would probably cost less than £8 per item to manufacture. (We’ll leave the rights and wrongs of 3rd world sweat shops for another article.)

So with manufacturing costs at £8, bulk shipping to the west and distribution would add around £2 per pair, the total cost of getting these jeans to the shop is around £10. Adding around 100% markup for the shop, they should be able to sell them at £20 a pair! How much were you paying?

This is an example of a marketing ploy which has several names such as ‘Prestigious Pricing’. What this really means is that a company could easily provide a product to the public at a much lower price than it’s actual mark-up, but if they do then the ‘common throng’ would all be able to afford the product, and the elitism of the item is lost. They would also lose the phenominal profit margin that they now make on every pair they sell.

The thing is, when you think about it, this pricing system is really a massive overpricing of a lower costing item, which becomes knowingly overpricing an item, which becomes right on the outer edge of the title ‘Fraud’. If a retailer charged you £50 for a single Mars Bar (normally sold for less than 50p) you would say you were being conned, and rightly, so where is the difference between the Mars Bar and a pair of Jeans?

However, this marketing system is not limited to Jeans, I have only used them as an example. You will also find this pricing system in use wherever items can be called ‘Prestige’. This frequently includes Trainers, Clothing, Jewellery, Food and Perfumes, only to mention a few.

This is a practice which has been allowed to go on for decades, and we let them get away with it. Why? Because we like to think that the more we pay, the more elite the item is. If we were to force these manufacturers to put a truly fair price onto these items, they would be worn by a lot more people, and your ‘elite’ look would be lost.

That, in truth, is why we like to be conned by these companies. To keep our purchases out of the reach of the ‘common throng’, and as a result, we make the owners of these manufacturing companies real fortunes out of our pride.

The photographs on this page are only random samples of clothing types, eg. Jeans, Trainers, etc and their manufacturers are not necessarily a part of this problem



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