In business, greed never works in the long run
August 11, 2004
Last week I am standing in line at a new store at the Crescent V and I buy something the checker tells me is $9. The week before I had bought the same item in Carson City for $7. Since I am already at the counter, and a person is standing behind me, I don’t say anything and go ahead and buy it. The cashier sees the exasperated look I give and says, “Are you a local?” Now I know there must be some sort of locals’ discount that I am about to be offered, but I’m thinking, what is the lady behind me going to think if I get offered a discount and she doesn’t?
If I was the tourist, I sure would feel like I was being taken advantage of. Having a separate price for locals doesn’t seem right. Why not offer a punch card like Sprouts does and offer a deal to anyone based on volume? At least that would seem fair. Anyone could be in on the deal. I shook my head from side to side and left. And I doubt if I will be back.
I am also thinking, why would the price be so much lower off the hill? Storeowners often complain of locals not supporting the businesses up at the lake. But when prices are 10-15-20 percent higher than in the valley, why should we shop up at the lake? Think of all the money we spend on gas going up and down Highway 50 to Carson. That must negate any savings on whatever it is we buy in the valley, doesn’t it? No, not when the price of gas is 45-50 cents cheaper per gallon down there. I can see why it might be a little more expensive on the California side with all their extra taxes, but 45 cents a gallon? What about the price of gas on the Nevada side? They have the same taxes throughout the county, don’t they? And their prices are … just as high as on the California side. Their margins must be pretty good.
Of course you also have the motels that charge $129 on Saturday night and drop the rates to $29 on Sunday. At least that doesn’t affect locals. Or does it? Every tourist that leaves town feeling they were taken advantage of probably won’t be back. That affects everyone and every business. And every business that overcharges because this is a “tourist town” is forcing everyone to stock up and gas up before coming up the hill, locals and tourists alike.
Tourism is a volume business and if we try to make too much money off the volume we have, we are going to continue to see our business slide.
Greed never works in the long run.
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– Patrick Ronan is a 13-year South Tahoe resident and owns the Lakeshore Lodge and Spa.
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