Saturday, January 24, 2009

Liquidation Sale

I stopped by our local Circuit City to have a look at the liquidation sale. The big letters on the red and yellow signs, primitive marketing but wildly effective. The parking lot was packed. The store was buzzing with folks fondling cameras and considering once again the 52 incher.

What explains the mob at Circuit City? It surely isn't the 10% discount. I ran into a couple of law students who were comparison shopping a tv. A quick phone call to a friend with an internet connection and they concluded that the liquidators jacked up the price of the tv before the discount. Ten percent off is insulting anyway.

It isn't the sale. Circuit City failed and we who were there flipping through the XBox 360 games less 10% were still alive, still warm, and still optimistic enough to consider, even for a moment, a big screen. It wasn't the ten percent. The draw is the basic delight at the misfortune of others. Schadenfrude.


Joshua Auriemma said...

Thank God Best Buy is still in business or I would have no idea where to spend 4x over cost for my electronics!

Alison M. Kilmartin said...

It infuriates me to go to a "Going Out of Business Sale" only to be met with a piddly 20-30% discount. I want to see big old signs that say 75% or 85% off! Puny discounts make sense to me when one store in a chain is closing, but when the whole darn thing is going down in flames?! I just don't get it.

Jeffrey H. Kahn said...

Still one of my favorite Onion articles:

Joshua Auriemma said...

Professor Kahn: Haha, that's great. That may be my test case for newspapers being self-authenticating re: The FRE.

David Hutchinson said...

I have nothing to contribute to the Circuit City issue directly, but write to praise the German concept word Shadenfreude, which I learned meant taking joy or satisfaction in another's misfortune (for bracing examples, see blog posts from the fever swamps). It can even occur on a relative scale, where someone comes out of a thing even worse than you. The German language from time to time requires us to import its words into English, because we have no satisfactory analogs.

I think my favorite example of a German word that cannot be rendered better in English is Doppelganger, which has the world's best definition: "a ghostly double of a living person that haunts its living counterpart." Good stuff.