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Christmas; The Aftermath Economics

Advice on what/where/how to buy folks gifts and the economics behind it have largely been covered.

In the week after Christmas I had a few of my own first hand observations.

1. The Real Cost of Returns

Here’s the math:

  • $27.99: amount spent by a relative on a GAP button down shirt that I was given.
  • $14.99: amount I was able to get in store credit because I wasn’t given a gift receipt.
  • $10.99: additional amount I spent to cover the difference on a shirt I wanted since I did no want to carry around $14.99 on a GAP card for eternity (or ’til next Christmas when I use it to purchase this relative’s gift).
  • 1 and 1/2 hours spent driving to and from the mall (multiplied by hourly lost wages).
  • Result: one damn expensive shirt.  Oh, and for the record, it was the shirt I picked out — why they didn’t get a gift receipt — and I said the wrong size. ALL my fault.  But, the proper shirt looks damn good.

2. Best Buy does not want you to buy their CDs.

OK, that is not entirely true.  And I wasn’t entirely shocked that the CD section at my local Best Buy was slashed in size and under-serviced.   After all, people are moving towards iTunes (and the like) at an ever increasing rate.  Additionally, if you want the actual CD, why not buy it slightly discounted/used from Amazon or eBay, especially with all the free shipping?   Also, I am sure Best Buy has realized that with so few brick and mortar competitors left the real money is in BIG appliances and electronics–things people don’t want to buy off Amazon, like dryers and home stereo equipment.

Having worked in retail for five years of my life I was shocked by a few things in the CD section:

1. How messy and out of order the music section was.  The store is in the suburbs (not in a mall) and it did not even look that busy for the week after Christmas.  I’m fairly certain I could increase their sales by 25% just by reorganzing the CDs (which would not take that long since they cut the amount they carry down so much!).

2. How much floor space was wasted stocking iTunes gift cards.  Four large racks of identical cards were taking up valuable music floor space.  Here is a plan — hang a GIANT iTunes giftcard from the ceiling with an arrow pointing down at a pile of cards.  You don’t need 12 rows of them.

Maybe Apple and Best Buy realize they have mutual best interests involved and are in cahoots,

All that being said, the gaming area was immaculate.  Speaking of, why can’t you download Tomb Raider the video game to your gaming system but you can Netflix Tomb Raider the movie to your gaming sysem?

Oh, and the DVD/Blu-Rays were neater than the music but not by much…


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