Friday, October 12, 2007

The Strangest Shopping Experience

Okay, so I'm about to post about Radiohead for the third time, but I just had the weirdest shopping experience. Their new album, "In Rainbows", is being released on their own website and can be downloaded for any price. Redundant news, I know, and yet my brain stuttered through that part.

If it's not Chinatown or eBay, I'm a consumer that pays what I'm told to. I bargain hunt, for sure, and buy most things on sale, but I'm not a born haggler. So when I wandered over to the site for my download, I got to the sparse page that simply listed quantity, price, and subtotal. The price was an empty box.

So it got me thinking. Well, while it's true that Radiohead is no Top 40 band, I'm pretty sure that all bandmates have successfully saved for their retirement and live in well appointed British tudors and rehabbed mini-castles. So do I pay for the art of it all? Should I let the one million downloaders with more money than I pay for my broke sliding scale ass? Should I pay for a simply brilliant publicity stunt? Should I pay for what, as the New York Times speculates, could be a new movement in music to slash the rip-off facor in music consumption? Am I such a capitalist that I can't even stop for one second looking at the true cost of goods, from factory floor operator to bandwith jockey?

So I decided, depsite the fact that they probably don't need my money, that I believe in markets, sucker that I am. So I paid what I would pay on iTunes- $9.99. I punched in my 5 pounds, hoped the dollar hasn't tanked so far that it's triple the pound rather than double, and felt immense relief.

I don't know about you, but I would find it exhausting to figure out the true cost of goods for everything I bought. But for an album that will keep me ellipticalling for 45 minutes, I'll pay more than I should.


Mrs. Micah said...

I find haggling somewhat distressing, which is one reason I don't really buy on eBay unless it's the buy it now. Sounds like you made a reasonable decision. I'd probably take it for nothing and then feel a bit guilty.

SavingDiva said...

I never would find it very stressful to have to decide what a good was worth to me...

Ms. M&P said...

I've tried to bargain with people and I feel like it makes it worse for me. Even in foreign countries...I just don't have the gift. But, in the Radiohead case, I think I would have done the same thing you did and paid $9.99. It's like when you buy something from a charity and they say, "suggested donation". I always give the suggested amount or more.

Then again, Radiohead's definitely not a charity, nor are they hurting for cash. I don't's hard to think of a fair price. Like I said, I would probably end up buying for $9.99, even though $6 to $7 is probably fair (right? with all the stuff you hear about the music industry?).