Hidden Consequences of a Low-price Mindset
The reality of who benefits, who makes a profit, and who pays the price
How do you feel when you buy a T-shirt for $5 dollars at a 75% discount? Most people experience a range of feel-good emotions ranging from exhilaration to a sense of accomplishment.
The author of ‘On the Commodity Trail’ Alison Hulme writes, ‘The immediacy and spontaneity of consumption is very often and easily linked to a notion of ‘freedom’.
I think this is particularly true in the case of buying a bargain. The victor wears the purchase like a badge of honour, mentioning the price every time someone comments on their new piece of clothing
‘Yeah, it was just five bucks’, they say with a winner’s grin on their face.
This sense of accomplishment — the result of a successful bargain hunt — feels innately natural for us; it makes us feel like we are thrifty and smart with our money so we don’t even think to question this feeling. On a basic level, our brain processes it like this: I feel good + nobody gets hurt = must be good.
But what is the true value of a product or service?
My (very successful) friend once shared with me the best advice she ever received about money — from her grandmother.
‘You can’t afford to buy cheap,’ she said.
As a consumer, you have the power to decide which company makes a profit, you have the power to ‘vote’, with your hard-earned cash, for people to make a living wage. You can decide if you want to be a proud owner of a well-made, quality product that will last, that you paid good money for.
Who pays the price?
Buying cheap means that at the end of that rope someone makes a ‘poverty income’, someone gets slowly poisoned by toxic dyes and cheap chemicals — someone like…
A garment maker in Bangladesh Anju works 6 days a week making only 37 cents per hour [in 2018] to make clothes for international brands.
‘I share my room with two other garment workers… three people in one room… We don’t…