Compare Items Not the Hype About Items

By now, many have heard me say to compare items.  There are those of course who will be interested in something simply because it’s ‘trendy’ to do.  But this is not for those.

Common marketing practices try to take your attention away from the product itself.  Discussions on pricing, ‘trending’ terms, or more recently videos uploaded by the manufacturer (we used to call them “commercials”).  This only makes it more necessary to compare the items yourself.  But how do you compare?

To get to what is “better”, strip away the hype surrounding the item(s).   Remove anything which is not the item.  Strip off ‘colorful’ descriptions; strip off the ‘story’.

Is it ‘rustic’, or just ugly?  By ‘zombie’, do they mean poorly colored?  When a listing (let’s call it what it is – an ad) tells me about a “beautiful, great, hand crafted … whatever”, I think if you need someone to tell you it’s “great”, maybe it isn’t.  Calling it ‘great’ doesn’t improve it one bit.

Here’s a quick test which may help you determine what is fact and what is ‘hype’.

  • If you didn’t have the “story”, would it still interest you?
  • If there was no video, is it still something you would want, or is this video persuading you?
  • Compare items without the video – are they still comparable items? Are you buying the item, or are you buying the video?  I’ll have more about this in a separate article.

Internet shopping won’t let you feel a product, but you can initially compare items visually.  Because images can be ‘photoshop’ed and descriptions can be deceiving, it’s best to compare multiple options in search results.

Truth is, most of the hype you see is trying to sell you something.  Here are just some of the ways that pricing hype is inserted into your searches.

The ridiculous phrase “you get what you pay for…” is routinely used to justify the price of an item.  With it, a seller hopes to imply that because his (hers) is more expensive, then it “must be” better.  Did they think we would just take their word for it?

The retailer may claim he “has to” charge more because he has overhead – lease, electricity, insurance, employee costs, and more.  All of this is likely true, but has nothing to do with the item.  I expect to get what I asked for.  Why would I pay his electric bill when I can get the same goods and still pay my electric bill?!  If I paid $10, I don’t want a $2 item and a pretty story.  This is why stores are giving way to online shopping.

  • Often referred to as “price perception” is the idea that if you charge more people will think it’s “worth more”.  But have you ever seen someone in line at a store asking to pay more so their purchase is “more valuable”?  Ever find an item ‘on sale’ and refuse to take the discounted price?
  • Calling it something else. Years ago, you went to the hardware store when you needed a washer for a bolt.  They were a nickel each.  Now, they’re called “spacers”, and they’re a quarter.  But exactly the same thing, despite the story.
  • Say an item is made for $20, sold at wholesale to a retailer at $40, and sold by the retailer at $90 on the shelf. What is the actual “value” of that item?  Is it “worth more” after the markup?  Or maybe it is the same item in a different package.

Honestly, you don’t need me for this.  If you can read this article you’re already educated enough to see through this cheap hustle.  You may have heard another phrase: ‘if you can’t tell the difference, then why pay the difference?’

There is another side of this same coin as well.  Some items are priced in the same range as other items by the same name, simply because of the same name.  I’ve recently seen holsters priced at $65 apparently because others in his area were priced at that.  But the quality was clearly not as good as others.  Here’s the fact:  calling it the same and pricing it the same does not make it the same.  And talking more does not make it worth more.

Having said all that, I have a few items I offer for a price as well.  But this article is free (and so are the others) and I don’t mind my work being compared.  In fact, I prefer that people compare items.