Special offers! Coupons! Preferred Shopper Rewards!

This time of year, retailers use every marketing tool they can think of to lure shoppers into their stores and persuade them to spend more. Given the volume of sales this month generates, it must work, too.

Actually, in the interests of full disclosure, I have to say that I am one of the shoppers who happily takes the lure. I take advantage of coupons, discounts, and sales whenever possible, including Christmas shopping. I always hope my loved ones never have to return any gifts I buy them, because I would be embarrassed to have them discover how little I actually spent.

But one sales technique confuses me. BOGO.

I don’t know whether to call it textspeak, an acronym, or a catchphrase, but it’s an abbreviated way of saying that, if you buy one thing you can get a second one at a discount: half price, maybe, or even free.

There’s just one problem. BOGO, read literally as an acronym, just means “Buy one, get one.”

Um—isn’t that what’s supposed to happen? If I buy a blouse, say, I expect to get a blouse. I’ve paid for it, after all; I’d better walk out of the store with it in my hot little hand.

BOGO really ought to be BOGOF, for “Buy one, get one free.” Except, of course, that the second one isn’t always free.

BOGOC, maybe? For “Buy one, get one cheap?” Oh, no; that would never do. Marketing people may love to use words like “sale” and “discount” and “value” and maybe even “bargain,” but they hate to use the word “cheap.” No store wants that connotation of “this shoddy piece of junk will fall apart the first time you use it.”

BOGOFL? “Buy one, get one for less?” Accurate, perhaps, but too long and not catchy enough.

Never mind; I give up. This must be why all those clever advertising copywriters settled for BOGO.

I still reserve the right to roll my eyes when I see it. But if you happen to be behind me in the checkout line, don’t worry; I’ll be nice. At least until I get the discount on my second item.

Categories: Money Matters, Words for Nerds | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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