Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture
By Ellen Ruppel Shell
Penguin Press, 2009. 296 pages. Nonfiction
When I picked up this book, I doubted what the author could discuss that might convince me that buying cheap is a bad idea. I am a firm believer in buying local products, though they may cost more, but beyond that I couldn’t see the disadvantage. Shell certainly brings up some good points that the American obsession with bargain-hunting and low-price goods has a direct correlation to lower wages for workers and reduced quality of goods for consumers. The book does discuss small things we can do to make changes, but nothing shows how consumers, on a mass scale, can make effective changes to the world of retail.
I did find the book interesting and not too dry. I especially enjoyed the chapters on the psychology behind pricing where Shell revealed how retailers manipulate subconscious bargain triggers that affect us even though we may be aware of them.