Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine Roses

My Honey, also know as Ned, was going to buy roses for me for Valentine's Day. He picked out a bunch probably just like the ones I photographed last year since they are my favorites. He handed the rose seller 50 pesos which has been the going rate for roses lately outside Espinos. The rose seller told him it was 100 pesos because it was Valentines. Ned took his 50 pesos back and told him to keep the roses.

Valentine or no Valentines, I'm glad he didn't buy the roses. If it had been 60 pesos, maybe even 70 pesos....okay. But double the price, NO. This all ties back into what we have found as a general tendency in Mexican marketing thinking. Merchants in the USA will sell flowers for Valentines or Mother's Day on every corner and in every store and generally they are priced at the same level or LESS than the going rate. Here it is not at all unusual to see a shop or restaurant raise their prices when they haven't been seeing as many customers. Mexico--sell less for a higher price vs. USA--sell more for a lower price. I don't know who makes the most money but my USA mentality makes me think that there is more potential to make more money with volume. Just another one of those quirky cultural differences that most of the time we don't think about but they are here.


Babs said...

Hi Billie - I had the same experience last year at this time! I think it might be because they have a finite amount of flowers (no wholesalers to drive over to to get them since they come from Puebla, Mexico and farther) Just a guess. I have a young man who comes to the house now and brings flowers. They're always 40 pesos for a dozen........I'm spoiled!

Anonymous said...

Anita (and I of course) agree with Ned - getting gouged doesn't make it. I would have said as I was withdrawing the 50 pesos - I'll wait until Friday and buy a box of candy too for 100 pesos.

It is odd that there does seem to be a Mexican marketing mentality that says if something doesn't sell - raise the price - go figure.

Juan C.

Anonymous said...

Here in the USA, roses are generally more expensive on Valentine's day than on other days. Unlike many manufactured goods, the production process for roses is long (they have to be grown), and then the product is perishable, so you can't build inventories in advance of demand. Add that to the fact that Valentine's day may be the only day that most men ever buy flowers, and you have a recipe for higher prices on that day.

But the vendor's high price did exactly what high prices naturally do, economically speaking. It reduced demand, and likely (though you didn't mention this in your story) stimulated more supply and hence, competition. I can't speak for San Miguel, but here in the U.S. the high prices on Valentine's day stimulates a lot of once-a-year flower vendors. This competition keeps a lid on prices, though it doesn't keep them at the everyday level.

As for raising prices in a restaurant or store that is struggling, I have one question. Does it work? Here in the states, it would only accelerate the decline as the few remaining customers would seek substitutes or do without.

As for volume selling, that is the formula followed to success by such retailer as WalMart, Target, Costco, and similar big-box retailers. McKinsey estimates that such retailers save U.S. consumers about $200 billion per year, a tidy sum in anyone's book.

By US standards, Mexicans overpay for many manufactured goods, partly due to the inefficient distribution system.


Kim G
Boston, MA

pitchertaker said...

Flowers are nice and pretty and such, but I did right by Valentine's Day....I sat down to my computer and Google'd up some Valentine hearts, found some Valentine clip-art, put it altogether in Photoshop, wrote a message across it with the text tool, printed it, and slipped it into Ellen's purse as she was leaving for a business trip to Florida this morning. I was out about 20-minutes of time, and about 60-cents for the printer paper and ink. It wasn't the expense, it was the thought -- I just wanted her to know that I love her.


Theresa said...

We live on the same block as several flower shops,because we are also on the same block as a funeral home and a clinic. Several of the shops had signs suggesting that people layaway their valentine's arrangements at "today's prices". I was hoping that I misunderstood and they were suggesting ordering the arrangements not physically putting a particular arrangement on layaway.