Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Substandard Quality for a Low Price

There seems to be a trend of businesses offering substandard product at a low price and then gradually ramping up the price and at times even lower the quality more. Two examples of this at Ci Ci's Pizza and Steve and Barry's clothing stores. I'm not sure how they intend to make this work. The value conscious people are going to walk away and most everyone else is going to expect quality.

Ci Ci's
They started out at like $2.99 for all you can eat pizza. At one point some locations even added WIFI. The pizza was not great, but it wasn't foul either. At that price I could deal with ok pizza on a regular basis. Then they raised it a dollar to $3.99. Still fairly cheap for a buffet, but in my opinion too much for substandard pizza. Considering you can get adequately filled elsewhere with decent food for the same price and for a buck more you can get a better buffet if you look around. Now price is somewhere between $4.50 and $5. When they jumped to $3.99 I would still go to CiCi's once in a while, but when they were at their cheapest I was there ever week. Now they they are creeping toward $5 I almost never go there.

Steve and Barry's
I believe in this area they started out at "everything in the store is 5.99 and under". Their merchandise was spotty for selection and the quality was hit and miss. Although I do have a few shirts from that era that are pretty durable. Then prices went to 7.99 and under for everything in the store. They were starting to bump into the area where I could go somewhere else and find something of same quality for about the same price without having to make a special trip to Steve and Barry's. I think they are now up to 10.99 and the quality has dropped even further. Buttons are falling off the shirts the first day I wear them and the fabric is thin. I will still buy stuff there, but not as frequently. I usually go look somewhere else first. Some of that is because of the quality and the less competitive price, but a good bit of it is also feeling a little betrayed. I found a good value and recommended it to my friends and shortly after that they changed everything about why I recommended them.