Here I Go Again
I have been here before. I just can’t help myself. When I joined my dad in 1961, Chipp and our brethren “carriage trade” retailers had two “sales” a year- the first day we were open after January 1st and the first day we were open after July 4th. Nothing was reduced before those dates. They were called “clearance sales” and the remaining merchandise from the season was marked down to help convert broken size ranges into cash and to make room on the racks for the new season’s inventory. This is not what happens today. Major retailers are running sales and promotions every day they are open- which for many is seven days a week. What has pushed me over the edge this time are the endless advertisements issued by JoS.A.Bank. They are on TV, in the newspaper, and on the radio. I drive to my morning bus at 5:00 AM and I drive home from the bus at about 6:15PM. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t hear a commercial in both directions. Each day it is something new- as if they are always trying to “go one better”. The adds usually offer the “deal” for “Today only” or for “The next two days”, etc. The other day it was “Buy 1 suit at full price and get 3 more suits absolutely free.” I went to their web site an hour ago and every suit and sports jacket is reduced 70%. I don’t like the sound of the spokman’s voice- especially how he says “absolutely”. I wonder how many people who are Bank customers have ever thought of the following: Joseph A Bank is a profitable publicly owned corperation. They are spending a lot of money on their constant stream of adverisements. They are paying rent on many prime locations. They are paying saleries to salespeople and support staff. They are selling everything at big markdowns. I wonder if anyone has ever bought anything at “full” price- not counting the 1 full price suit you have to buy to get 3 more for free. How do they do it? Do people really think that the 70% off product they bought was ever remotely worth the full list price? For those who do, I have some shares in the bridge that connects Manhattan to Brooklyn that I will sell at a good price.