Hidden Consequences of a Low-price Mindset

The reality of who benefits, who makes a profit, and who pays the price

Sylvia Dziuba
4 min readApr 13, 2022


Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

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…



Sylvia Dziuba

Journalist & Design Critic. I write and speak about #architecture #interiors & #objects.