Hello-Hello, welcome to a wonderful Thanksgiving Eve.
Today we have a brief series of tidbits to share, beginning with a a caveat for those shopping this weekend (or sooner). It comes via this story in the Journal, titled The Dirty Secret of Black Friday ‘Discounts’.
Stores will be pulling out the stops on deep discounts aimed at drawing customers into stores. But retail-industry veterans acknowledge that, in many cases, those bargains will be a carefully engineered illusion.
The manufactured nature of most discounts raises questions about the wisdom of standing in line for the promotional frenzy that kicks off the holiday shopping season. It also explains how retailers have been able to ramp up the bargains without giving away the store.
Suzanne Kapner’s article explains how those “discounts” are really achieved: stores set higher “original selling prices,” ensuring they get the same profit after discounts are applied. Many retailers like the practice because it also makes shoppers feel like they’ve gotten a bargain. JC Penney CEO Mike Ullman is quoted in the piece:
“We must and will compete to win,” Mr. Ullman said last week on a conference call with analysts. “That means initially marking up our goods to sufficient levels to protect our margins when the discount or sale is applied.”
There are laws regarding pricing. The story briefly explains the FTC’s guidelines and also reports on the lawsuits filed against big retailing names for creating “phantom discounts.”
You might also enjoy this Yahoo article, Nine Products NOT to Buy on Black Friday. (Number 1 on the list? Toys.)
Next, remember that giant Louis Vuitton case in the middle of Red Square we chatted about on Monday? The company erected the piece, it was to house an exhibit honoring the brand and famous travelers. (Note use of past tense.)
Well, not so fast. More from the Wall Street Journal:
A firestorm of criticism swept through the capital Tuesday as workers put the finishing touches on the 30-foot-tall, 112-foot-long brown box adorned with the famed Louis Vuitton logo and the Russian flag…
NPR sheds more light on the controversy:
The trunk, which stood just steps away from Lenin’s tomb for two weeks, was supposed to host the six-week exhibition. The suitcase also blocked the view of the St. Basil’s Cathedral from the square’s entrance, enraging some politicians.
Because we would like to wrap up with something fun, we leave you with images of a new trio performing live last night.
You’re eyes aren’t failing you, that is Taylor Swift, Jon Bon Jovi and Prince William; the three sang “Livin’ On A Prayer” during a gala at Kensington Palace. (Is there a posher place for a party?!) The impromptu singalong took place during a fundraiser at Kensington Palace and it was quite the do.
The event was the Winter Whites Gala, benefiting Centrepoint, a charity helping homeless young people. William presented Mr. Bon Jovi with the Centrepoint Great Britain Youth Inspiration Award for his humanitarian work. The singer founded Soul Foundation in 2006, that organization to help break the cycle of poverty through “rebuilding pride in one’s self and one’s community, one soul at a time”. He brought his family along so they could meet Prince William.
The name may sound familiar to readers familiar with Princess Diana’s volunteer work, she was the organization’s Patron for some time; Prince William has served as the group’s Patron since 2005. Below left you see Diana at Centrepoint, on the right William is shown during the group’s Sleep Out for Centrepoint event in 2009, when hundreds slept on London’s streets to help raise awareness of the homeless problem; that event is also a fundraiser.
Ms. Swift’s dress was by designer Reem Acra.
To see a 2-minute You Tube video of the three singing, click here.
With that we say “Gobble-Gobble and Goodbye” until next time.