Suspicious reductions

PUBLISHED: 11:26 02 November 2007 | UPDATED: 23:08 28 May 2010

DO you ever feel you re being conned? Surprise, surprise. We all are. Nothing is more certain when buying a product someone somewhere, usually the manufacturer, is extracting more from your pocket than the item is worth. Now I leap to the defence of small

DO you ever feel you're being conned? Surprise, surprise. We all are.

Nothing is more certain when buying a product someone somewhere, usually the manufacturer, is extracting more from your pocket than the item is worth.

Now I leap to the defence of small shop proprietors who are being sacrificed to ruthless commercial moguls made up of a glut of superstores and large family shops.

When small shop proprietors reduce prices it is usual for them to score out hand written prices of slow selling items with a felt-tip pen and insert the reduced price beneath. That savours of a genuine bargain reduction.

My suspicions are aroused when I see specially-printed labels scored out with a heavy printed line and the supposed 'reduction' price printed beneath.

We are lulled, well some of us are, into acceptance that we are buying items at a genuinely reduced figure. 'Half price' scream specially-printed labels. 'Fifty per cent reduction' or whatever. Pull the other one. There's a price tag on it.

I visualise boardrooms filled with head scratchers rustling up prices higher than manufacturing costs and arriving at the reduced price, which is probably the manufacturing cost in the first place.

In my mind's eye I see printing presses churning out book covers advertising, say, a book at £20 and, at the same time a label printing machine rattling off eye-catching stickers telling us the item has been drastically reduced to £10. Who is fooling whom?

No-one in the mad house of commercial know-how can afford to lose out on reduced prices, certainly not manufacturers and agents. As long as we are willing to be duped into thinking we are getting a bargain, the fat cats and their minions laugh all the way to the bank.

TREVOR BEVIS

St Peter's Road

March

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