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Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World Hardcover – October 17, 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Americans love a bargain, and our passion for a good deal has sparked a paradigm shift in the retail industry. Journalist Ellwood offers surprising statistics that indicate that bargain shopping has become a permanent way of life. As a result, businesses have to operate differently, even those not traditionally associated with discounts. Buyers are informed, expectant, and entitled, and they hold all the power. Ellwood calls this new buying reality Shopping 3.0, and explores the effects of dopamine on the brain and the hormonal buyagra resulting from successful customer&'s experiences. While stereotypical bargain hunters may be low-income consumers, Ellwood shows that the wealthy are not immune to the thrill of a deal. He examines the Groupon phenomenon, yo-yoing air travel fares, J.C. Penney&'s disastrous Every Day Prices policy, and the emergence of super-fakes—counterfeit luxury items almost identical to the real thing. While Ellwood discloses intriguing tidbits about how American&'s shop, he also explains the vastly difference purchasing habits of the Chinese, Germans, and Japanese. Well-written and illuminating, Ellwood reveals the implications bargain shopping holds for American retailing not just in the present, but for years to come. Agent: Erika Storella, Gernert Company. (Oct.)

From Booklist

In 2011, most retailers sold 40 to 45 percent of their inventory at “some kind of promotional price” (10 years previously, it was 15 to 20 percent). And people seem to be more accepting about an advertised sale. In 2006, about a third of shoppers took a “70 percent off” sign at face value; now it’s two-thirds. This is a highly informative and entertainingly written book about a radical shift in the relationship between consumers and sellers. One can blame the recent economic slump for this sale-conscious mentality but not entirely. Consumers’ quest for the deal goes back a century or more. What we have now is an environment in which consumers demand bargains all the time, and sellers are always looking for new ways to convince consumers they’re getting a deal, even when they’re not. Like Paco Underhill (Call of the Mall, 2004), Ellwood helps us understand our own frame of mind as consumers while also providing insight into the point of view of the people whose products we buy. --David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio; 1st edition (October 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591845807
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591845805
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book from the local library; that is how I shop in my discounted world.

1. If you expect practical shopping tips like those from ShopSmart (I'm not affiliated), I doubt that you'll find any.
2. There is nothing new in the content (dopamine, .99 price tag vs. round number, outlet stuff, superfakes, etc.), and the attempt at humor did not work quite well (maybe just me?).
3. There is no coherent structure, no flow of ideas. It reads like gossipy tidbits bundled together: contemporary, historical, scientific studies, stock market, Turkey, yadayada.

Bottom line: if you are interested in the origin and evolution of coupons or want to know why retailers prefer red color, this book can be entertaining to you. If you hope to be more savvy in shopping, I doubt this book can help.
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Format: Hardcover
Or you didn't learn a thing and wasted the money you paid for it...

Read the book based on having seen the author interviewed...

He would be the first one to tell you to make sure you get a discount for the book...

There's a fair amount of interesting help in this book, but if you're shy and reluctant to ask for a discount you may as well not bother with it...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting book, especially Chapter 1 which explains why we are affected by sales. However, the balance of the book gives the history of different types of retail venues. From the title, I expected hints, ideas, etc on how to shop for bargains, "How to Shop in a Discounted World", wasn't there.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is not a how to book the title is very misleading. Instead this book gives long flowery anecdotes on characters with specific examples that would be rarely applicable to the average reader.
I.e. If I don't live in NYC and have never been invited to some high end sample sale and this book offers no tips or information on how to gain an invite then I don't consider it a how to. Instead it offers a long colorful description of the clientele designed to give the reader a visual.
Or, on the other end if it tells me the state that I live in is one that does not double face value on coupons and offers no tips or suggestions to compensate what good dues that do?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good discussion of the various types of discount shopping and some history of the same. However I had hoped for some advice on how to utilize discount shopping for myself and didn't find anything here that I didn't already know
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Format: Kindle Edition
not really a lot of practical information I can use now that I've read it. Writing style is not that direct or simple leaving me to often wonder what the point is. The author does have a wealth of information though so he gets a solid three stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition
If you've ever wondered how "blue light specials" came to be, where the world's first "bargain basement" was born or what was the first coupon, this book is for you. Mark Ellwood's fast-paced book investigates how we've ended up in today's discounted world. It's a must read before you head to the mall!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm going to give it two stars instead of just one simply because it was well-researched. As someone else mentioned, it reads like a business psychology textbook. There's a lot of talk about how company's operate and take advantage of people through psychological trickery, but very little, if any information on "How to (Actually) Shop in a Discounted World". However, if you're having trouble falling asleep at night, this may be the cure you've been searching for.
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