Yesterday, my wife and I went to the “Going Out of Business” sale at Linens-N-Things because we need a new pan or something like that. Apparently, there really wasn’t much of a sale going on: things were marked down by 25 percent, which was still too much to pay for the stuff, in my opinion. I mean, seriously, I get about five coupons from Bed, Bath and Beyond every week that guarantee me 20 percent off any item, and the store isn’t even going out of business. So, this leads me to an oxymoronic statement that I made to Amber as we left the store:
“This store needs to be going out of business just a little longer if it wants my business.”
But, of course, this statement is not completely true. Have you ever been to a store that’s going out of business? It’s definitely not business as usual. Usually, you will find that the store looks very much like it was looted by an angry mob. Many of the products are opened and strewn about and, if you look hard enough, you might find a dead body somewhere in the store. Children are screaming and two elderly ladies are fighting over a discounted (and broken) electric toothbrush. There may be some tires burning in the middle of the store and street people hitting you up for spare change near the housewares section.
Anyway, generally, the life-cycle of a “Going Out of Business” sale works in such a way that the prices are kept high initially in order to move the “good” merchandise. These prices are kept high long enough for people to ransack the store and destroy much of the merchandise. One this occurs, the store increases its discount a little higher to reach the segment of shoppers that are willing to buy half-destroyed items, such as chairs that may be missing one leg, carpets that may be stained from a child’s milkshake, and lamps that have had their cords gnawed off by sale mice, among other things.
The sale continues a bit longer until, by order of the city fire marshall, the building has to be imploded. The order usually requires that all building materials and remaining sale items, up to and including any and all squatters who may have built lean-to’s and took up residence in the curtain section, must be burned in place in order to prevent environmental contamination of the surrounding areas. Thus ends the “Going Out of Business” sale.