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Bed, Bath, & Baffled: How Overwhelming Options Lead to Purchase Paralysis

Bed, Bath, & Baffled: How Overwhelming Options Lead to Purchase Paralysis

Bed, Bath & Beyond has been hemorrhaging lately with a 3-month sales loss of over $38 million dollars! Its new CEO hopes to fix the situation with clearer pricing and fewer choices to reduce what he calls “purchase paralysis.” In short, there are so many confusing choices and prices that the consumer walks out empty-handed.

The Hidden Names of Hidden Fees

Are you guilty of the same thing? Do you have misleading prices? Hidden fees have many names:

  1. Resort fees

  2. Initiation fee

  3. Destination fee

  4. Amenity fee

  5. Facility fee

  6. Registration Fee

  7. Enrollment Fee

  8. Application Fee

  9. Mandatory Hotel Facility Fee

Pricing Should Be Simple

Here’s the deal: your pricing should be easy. I remember when I first started selling audios in the back of the room. Different CDs had different prices and even my mom couldn’t keep the prices straight! That was the crucial moment when I switched to flat-fee pricing; all CDs were the same price just like Apple music.

If your pricing has the dreaded asterisk next to the offer you have a problem. My girlfriend texted me pictures of some tix that screamed “FREE TICKET.” they weren’t. They were “buy 1 Adult ticket and get 1 Kid free.” Since there are no children in my house, no free admission for me.

Or, look at this offer from 24 Hour Fitness:

Add friends or family to your membership for as low as$ 29 99* per month *On select One-Club memberships. Available at select Sport and Active clubs only. Pay initiation fee plus first and last months’ dues. Restrictions and other fees may apply. Pay applicable enrollment fee plus first and last months’ dues per person.

It requires an initiation fee, enrollment fee, a special membership, first and last month’s dues PLUS other fees. So, how much is it?

The Wall St. Journal highlighted last month that Circus Circus touts its Las Vegas resort as $22/night. But, when you get to the final booking page at, it shows a mandatory fee of $36.28, bringing the true total to $58/night. Do you call this maneuver transparent pricing?

Let me ask you: do you charge for “expenses?” I’ll never forget an attorney’s bill for $12,800 and another $5.22 for Xeroxing. Really? This type of invoicing gives lawyers a bad name! Perhaps my copying charge could have been waived in light of this ghastly bill.

My recommendation is flat fee pricing; no charge for local mileage, parking, telephone calls, or copying. Agree?

Share your thoughts below.

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