you travel often?
you do, you may have heard about the legendary hidden city trick.
the concept involves air travel and purchasing a ticket for a
trip that the passenger does not intend to complete. For instance…
a person needs to get from Atlanta to St. Louis. Just so happens
that on the same travel date, an airline is offering a special
where a flight exists from Atlanta to San Francisco with a stop
in St. Louis. Turns out in our little situation that the ticket
for the longer journey with one-stop costs significantly less
than the direct Atlanta to St. Louis flight. So, the person buys
the Atlanta to San Francisco ticket, takes their carry on and
leaves the airport after arriving in St. Louis and never journeys
on the second leg of the ticket.
most cases, airlines have set this up as a violation of the service
agreement between the company and a passenger (usually referred
to as the carriage contract). But I’m not mentioning this to wade
into the waters of ethics or the limitations of carry-on bags
or any conversation about air travel and whether or not to do
something. Instead, I just happen to be wondering about those
moments when purchasing more than you need actually creates some
type of savings.
few years ago, Terry and I needed to repair some wainscoting in
our house. Long story… love our dogs despite their chewing on
occasion… you get the idea. The repair work involved a portion
of molding being used to hold the panels in place. Perhaps three
feet. After some careful research, I found two possibilities.
first option was a store that carried the same molding style,
priced for sale by the foot.
second option was a two-piece kit, featuring two different six-foot
strips of molding, one of which was the style I needed.
is where I point out that it cost far less to purchase the entire
kit than it did to purchase the single three-foot piece of molding.
In fact, A LOT less. As in, I would get twice the amount
of the style I did need… providing some spare materials in case
of another accident later, plus that other piece I didn’t need…
and save about five dollars.
I bought the kit.
like this happen all the time.
grocery store where a gallon of milk is on sale for less than
the cost of a half-gallon. The clothing store where the three-pack
of socks costs less than purchasing two individual pairs of socks.
for me, it always makes me wonder. Are things like this a result
of supply and demand… a creation of scheduling or production needs…
somehow a fix of a potential problem? Or, are they an indication
of consumers not willing to do the work to save some money?
are good that it’s a bit of both (and likely more).
of us like spending more for the same thing. But, outline the
extenuating circumstances for us…
we spending more to support a local business?
we spending more because we like the store better?
we spending more because the purchase location is more convenient?
the list goes on. Often there’s more to the story than simply
deciding between two stores, each located three-point-five miles
and the same number of stoplights from your driveway, with a fifty-cent
per item difference on your favorite cookies.
tricky part though is when we don’t know about the hidden city.
(So to speak.) When the opportunities are there, but we miss them
for any of a number of reasons.
the years I’ve had all sorts of fun with businesses. Some favorites
involve physical locations as opposed to online shopping, with
items offered under the same store name though the pricing differences
wouldn’t be honored. The fun part is that it always comes back
to future needs for me. When today’s experiences mean that tomorrow
I won’t heading through the doors where I encountered the frustrations.
this isn’t about the ethics involved. There are reasons some offers
are there, though not for us to abuse. Still, it’s good to know
that the hidden cities may exist.