I had a reminder on the weekend that sometimes analogue wins. I’d been meaning to replace a pair of old gi pants for jujitsu. The ones I'm wearing at the moment have been destroyed by the grading process I'm going through. I looked online to price a replacement pair or two, checking on shipping rates, and of course, paying a visit to the Beast of Bezos. Spendy.
Then on Saturday, I found myself out at Mount Gravatt with Jane, who was visiting some obscure frock shop to buy a work blazer, when I remembered there was a funny little store that did kids’ clothing and martial arts supplies just up Logan Road. Like a two- or three-minute walk and a quick dash across seven lanes of traffic. I figured I’d check them out. Better than hanging around the frock shop.
There was the usual curious arrangement of knitted onesies and baby rompers in the front door. I still have no idea what's going on there. But inside they had what I needed. And the price was about one-third of what I’d pay online. I picked up two pairs. Would a $100 discount be enough to get me into the car to drive all the way out there any other day? Probably not. As I said we just happened to be out in the boonies doing something else. But maybe I should change that attitude. Convenience is one thing, and price gouging is another.
You might have just documented an economic turning point. It used to be that the on-line shops had to discount to get your business, to make up for uncertainty (of not being able to poke the product or try it on), and becuase they could, because they didn't have to pay rent on walk-past shop frontage. Now they (or their AIs) have a very finely tuned notion of what your convenience is worth to you, and it is the brick and mortar play that has to wear that cost... And they can't play the differential-pricing game tuned to your personal ID.
First time I’ve heard my Gravatt considered the boonies….sure it ain’t “inner circle riverside opulence “ , but it’s not like he had to go to bracken ridge or …..Ipswich….. ;)