Famous Last Words: What's a Thing Worth?
I adore wandering among the cosmetics kiosks and booths at upscale department stores. They are always teeming with elegant sales ladies—who double as expert make up artists—coddling women young and old.
These are happy places with mirrors, bright lights, quiet chatter and the faint aroma of expensive perfumes. It's not only a sales venue, but also backstage on a movie set. This is make up.
For this old-time direct marketer, the draw is what's known in this trade as GWP—Gifts With Purchase. They all do it—L'Oréal, Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Elizabeth Arden and Clinique.
Imagine going to the Estée Lauder boutique at Dillard's and being fussed over by a world-class beautician. Whereupon you get a great offer.
The deal: the cosmetic makeover is free. Spend just $35 on top-of-the-line Estée Lauder cosmetics and receive the handsome Lily Pulitzer travel cosmetic case with six goodies worth $100. Included:
- Advanced night repair-PM
- Fragrance body lotion
- Eye shadow
I do envy these shopping opportunities for women. They get made up, spend $35 on Estée Lauder products, and walk out with $135 worth of the world's finest cosmetics and are feeling like a million bucks. It doesn't get any better than that.
For Guys, Shopping Is Not the Same
The only equivalent shopping experience I can think of is the endless ads on television for Jos. A. Bank menswear. They yammer at you with deals like "BUY 1 GET 3 FREE!"
Here's a typical Bank offer on its website—a $596 wool suit with pleated trousers for $127. That's a 79 percent discount. In the book business, this would be the equivalent of what you'd pay on the remainder table—the last shot before sending books to the landfill. Put another way, it's like this: BUY 1 SUIT, GET 4 FREE SUITS PLUS A FREE DRESS SHIRT AND FREE TIE!