My alter ego Devon and I had a chat about my developing love-hate relationship with thrift stores.
Devon: I thought bargain shopping is all about thrill of the hunt. When did it become an emotional issue?
Dave: In visiting nearby thrift stores, I've noticed these stores can also reflect typical issues in retail marketing. One example is the difference in the "little guy" vs "big corporation". The stores operated by non-profit organizations tend to be smaller, have less selection, but lower prices. For example, one table for boardgames, and most are fifty cents to two dollars. The stores operated by multi-national companies are bigger, have more selection, and higher prices. For example, several shleves of boardgames, with prices ranging from three to ten dollars.
Devon: I see, so it comes down to money. You want good stuff for less, but reality is based on getting you to pay more for less.
Dave: It's closer to say it comes down to value. When I bought the first Trival Pursuit (6000 questions) for $1 in a smaller store, that's good value. That's 6000 questions per dollar (Q/$). Even if I only want one category such as science, that still works out to 1000 Q/$. Then came TP4 for $1, which is 4800-800 Q/$. In a bigger store, the price starts at $3, so that's a sudden drop in value. I picked up TP6 with 4800 Q's for $4. The value of that ranges from 1200-200 Q/$, which is a big drop from the expectations set by the first two purchases. And TP Millennium edition in the big store was $10, which I did not get. The value of that, assumming 4800 Q's, would be 480-80 Q/$, which is ridiculously low. For comparison, one of the $1 Professor Noggin trivial games I got at a small store, has 30 cards and 180 questions and thus has a already low value of 180 Q/$. Another example is a Da Vinci trivia game at the big store, 800 Q's for $6, which is 133 Q/$.
Devon: But there must be more to trivia boardgames than just questions per dollar.
Dave: There are, such as quality of questions, subject matter, board and game design. But since the core of the game is in the questions, that takes up a significant part of the value equation. And I am in it for building up a collection of trivia reference, so the number of questions really is everything.
Devon: So you love the big store because they have better stuff you want, but you hate to pay a few dollars more?
Dave: Sad to say, that sums it up in a nutshell. Once I was in a store and heard someone haggling with the clerk about how something she bought a week ago was only fifty cents, and now it was a dollar and she refuses to pay that extra fifty cents. At that time I thought such is the pathos of modern life, stressing your neurons for just fifty cents. And now, I emote the same angst over two dollars.
And while I'm on the soapbox, here is another example. The big store had a TP Disney edition, and inside was also the TP2 questions. So I was excited at such a find, until I saw the price. Six dollars. A regular TP with box, board and pieces is $3. So I am actually paying the same price for TP2, but without the board and pieces. Love and hate, such internal drama in a thrift store.