Buyers in Bulk

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China discovers flash mob shopping:

Last month, Fiona Li did what millions of Chinese shoppers do to find a bargain: she went online.

A few clicks later, she had a lead on where to buy the consumer goodies her brother wanted for his new apartment. Instead of reaching for her credit card, though, she jotted down a time and a place: 8 p.m. at a downtown electronics store.

That evening, Ms. Li and her brother joined 15 strangers at the store to demand a group discount on a new television, refrigerator, and washing machine.

Via Marginal Revolution.

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  1. I was struck by how little savings they were getting. From the examples given, you’d almost think this was organized by the retailers:

    You mean I get to have 15 people come into my store and all buy the same product for a 10% discount? And I don’t even have to pay for advertising? Cool!

    Just as conscious as the buyer is in a bargaining culture, the seller is conscious of the exact lowest price he can sell for. The seller has a hard floor and an easy job: it’s the buyer who is paying all the costs of coordination and travel in this set up.

  2. I don’t know, in a country with a billion people, if I were a retailier I might be seriously worried about people demanding group discounts, if this kind of thing were to catch on.

    I think I might try it next time I’m buying so coffee at the local coffeehouse. Just for larfs.

  3. Ya gotta give ’em credit. A’s for creativity, originality, and effort.

    It doesn’t sound like a stable system. It will probably evolve. They’re new at this, give ’em time.

  4. Today, flash mob shopping…

    Tomorrow, flash mob overthrow of an authoritarian government.

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