Spa Week: A Lesson in Pricing Trickery

28 Mar

Okay, to go back to the theme of pricing from last week. Remember that part where I said “don’t get me started about bundle deals”? Or something like that anyhow? No? Okay, well, I did. Bundle deals are the devil.

I’ll give an example and leave it at that, both rehashing discounts from the last post and then moving on to the bundle. There’s this magical thing called Spa Week. If you regularly go to a day spa for anything–haircut, waxing, tanning, massage, whatever–you might’ve heard of this. I think they do it twice a year, once in fall once in spring, and it’s effectively where all the spas get together to try and generate interest in services that don’t usually generate a lot of new interest. Sure, loads of people get their eyebrows done, but they don’t generally get, say, a facial. Loads of people get their hair cut, but they probably don’t shell out for a Moroccan deep conditioning treatment.

Except on spa week. Now, this is a double threat because there are both discounts and bundle deals involved. I get my eyebrows waxed all the time because I’m insane about eyebrows–and I can’t do it myself because it makes me cry. I would never think of getting a facial… but I don’t like my skin and never have. So spa week rolls around, and my awesome eyebrow-waxing lady says, “You ever think of getting a facial? They’re $25 off on spa week. It’s pretty fun.”

Now, this is an expensive facial. I think they’re like $75 usually. It’s a luxury item I would normally never justify, seeing as I spend very little time thinking about what I look like. And yet… it’d be something new to try. And fun. And, well, $50 is still a lot of money, but it’s cheaper than it was! Good deal, right?

Wrong, but you’d better believe I signed up. That was last spa week. I’mma get one again this spa week because it was awesome. (And really, my pores are depressing.)

Then came the bundle. On my way out I made an appointment for the next opportunity to have hot wax poured onto my face and a haircut, because by then my bangs will be poking me in the eye, which is annoying. I’m chatty with her, we discuss books when I come in and stuff, and she says, “Do you want to try the Moroccan deep conditioning treatment for spa week?”

I’m making this face, like I’m going to say no. I mean, it sounds interesting, but I don’t really give a crap about my hair–

“If you get it with the haircut and style, it’s like $50 for everything.”

Now, I already pay $30 for a haircut without the style. With a wash and a style, it’s like $35-40. The treatment thing is like $25. It’s not a huge amount of savings…

But it’s just enough to convince me to try something new for the fun of it. I think, Oh god, the bundle deal! It’s evil! Must. Not. Give. In… Fuck it, it’ll be fun. And I say, “Yeah, what the hell, sign me up.”

We chat for a few more minutes and I’m out the door with my awesome eyebrows and appointment card for next month.

Now, I’m already their customer. They keep me coming back to them, and to specific people for various hair maintenance, by being awesome. But they get me to buy shit I neither need nor really desire with pricing. And I thank them for taking my money. I am shallow, yes, but being a wholly unremarkable human being in the looks department, I’ve never been bothered with that. My most expensive piece of clothing is my pair of plaid Doc Martens. I could give a shit what my hair looks like, I hardly ever look in the mirror, I go out maybe once in two weeks for a really nice dinner with my husband or to the opera or the symphony or something. That’s it.

But I’m still like, “Hey, thanks for taking my money!” And so is my skin.

I don’t think I need to connect the dots. You see my point.

This shit works.

Now playing: The Charlatans Uk – Your Pure Soul
via FoxyTunes

15 Responses to “Spa Week: A Lesson in Pricing Trickery”

  1. Anthony J. Rapino March 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    I can’t relate to the spa week thing, but I *can* relate to video game bundles. :-) Same concept. They throw in some extra goodies, downloadable content, maybe a soundtrack or figurine, and they up the price by $10-$50.

    And yeah, it does work. :-P

    • Katey March 28, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

      I have pre-ordered many a video game with Extra Shit I Don’t Need for just that reason, Tony. It’s irresistible.

  2. nkkingston March 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    One of my loca spas has monthly bundles and discounts, and it’s so easy to just glance over at their website and realise, hey, I do need an Elemis Body Mist Hot Oil Thai Style Japanese Wrap with Neck Massage, or whatever. Really I do.

    I think it’s something to do with the word “Off” at the end of a sentence. “Fifty Percent Off” “Twenty Pounds Off” “And then he took his clothes Off”… Yeah, definitely the word Off.

    • Katey March 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

      Dear god, yes. Get it off.

      And they do all this WITHOUT devaluing their absurdly luxurious services by lowering the prices. They simply make their luxury seem accessible to us FOR A LIMITED TIME.

      Get it right off.

      • Aaron Polson March 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

        So…if I offer spa treatments with my books…

        Or candy. What about candy?

        • Katey March 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

          Dammit, I thought I was being so subtle, but you found me out! Yes, I was hoping you’d start including a free seaweed body wrap with each book!

          Double dammit!

  3. Michael Stone March 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Never mind all that, isn’t the Charlatans ‘Warm Sounds’ EP just gorgeous? I was prepared to hate it. I couldn’t see their stuff working unplugged, but I’m glad to be proved totally wrong. Slightly pissed to have missed the lads when they visited my hometown a couple of weeks ago. They performed a couple of miles down the road (literally!) and I didn’t know until the day after. Urggh!

    • Katey March 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

      We can’t get it here yet :/ WAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGH.

      I’m trying to content myself with the knowledge that I DID at least see them this time. But… waaaaaaaant!

  4. Kalen O'Donnell March 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Your pricing musings continue to be fascinating and invaluable food for thought! More, more! I want an economics focused husband too!

    …I feel so alone.

    But yes, the bundle pricing is a brilliant tactic and at the top of my own current musings, mwahahaha. Everybody likes a bargain.

    • Katey March 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

      I’m glad they seem helpful, at least in getting the wheels turning. Like I say, I know some people will consider them poison. I’m telling them how to cheapen their art!

      But hey, if we’re gonna be slaves to the muse, the least we can do is mug them when we get the chance.

      Next time we meet up with some of Bala’s Duke colleagues, maybe I should take some of your adorable new headshots and pass ‘em around. “So THIS guy, you’d like him…”

  5. Danielle Ferries March 29, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    Packaging. I’m a sucker for packaging. That will lure me in anytime.

    • Katey March 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

      I know, right? Oooh that’s shiny, I want it for my nest!

  6. Cate Gardner March 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    I tried out a new hairdressers a couple of weeks back and sat through a running infomercial. We have these products, and these, and everything is wonderful, blah, blah, blah. I bought nothing. I’d like to claim I’m super strong and no salesperson gets to me but…when I go in my local cake store and they’re all ‘you can get three cakes for little more than one’, I come home with three and the hips they pay.

    • Katey March 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

      Yeah, the hard sell is a bad idea no matter what. The idea is to see what people are interested in and THEN make the casual offer. “Three for one cakes! Hell yeah!”

      I’m not big on sweets (I know, blasphemy!) but offer me something spicy or salty and I’ll buy so so much… and then eat it all. My hips. My poor hips.

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