I stop at Taco Bell every couple of weeks. I order one Beef & Potato Burrito and two Big Taste Tacos. In the past year, those prices have each increased by a dime, so the order is now $4 after tax. I have spent more time pondering that 8% increase than it will ever cost me to pay it.

I ponder because it is odd that I felt price sensitivity. Not enough to even look around the menu for new items, but I noticed. I get the principal of watching the cents so the dollars take care of themselves, and I can see the cumulative effect in my bank statements, but I really don’t care about a few dimes. And yet, somehow, I do.

People will drive across town to save $5 on a $15 item but not $5 on a $125 item. Because 1/3 off is big! But it’s the same $5. If it is worth your time to save $5 on one, it is worth your time to save $5 on both.

$15 a month? I spend more than that per person on a nice dinner. That is a couple of movie tickets. I get a ridiculous amount of value for my money.

I would probably be happier with an MMO that charged me more and took less time, with concentrated awesome instead of grind, travel, downtime, and things meant to prolong subscription fees. I would probably be happier with a premium game that charged me $30/month and had great servers, fast customer service, and less rabble. (Show of hands developers: half the people at twice the price, you in?)

But I still notice price sensitivity when I could have WoW for $15.

: Zubon

7 thoughts on “Costs”

  1. It’s kind of like if instead of the price gradually going up on your Mexican food, if the quality of the food at all other Mexican restaurants slowly became better and better for that same price.

    Then you’re left holding your meat and potato burrito and thinking, should I really still be paying the same price for this when burrito technology has moved leaps and bounds since I first started eating these a few years ago?

  2. Interesting musings–it’s not something I’ve really considered before. Price acceptance is of course market specific. The obvious “norm” for the MMO market is $15 a month (and some think that’s ridiculous to begin with), so can you imagine the outrage if a company suddenly charged $30? I’m not sure if anybody has attempted $20 before, but I’m sure even that would trigger some protests. It’s all about perception, and such a rise in price seems to me to be terrible marketing. Plus, the other thing to be considered is word of mouth. You mention having half the subscribers paying twice the price. Would you rather have 300,000 people capable of telling someone about your game or 150,000 people capable of telling someone?

  3. It’s worse than that, Backle. The trade-off isn’t linear, so you’d have far less than half the base. Curse us!

  4. Some people find it funny that I play computer games. When I tell them I pay $15/month for my current MMO of choice, they often look at me like I’ve lost it. My explanation is always the same: It’s half what I’d pay to take my girlfriend to a movie, and I get much much more than 2 hours of entertainment value out of it.

    Still, I only play one MMO. I can’t seem to justify the cost of a second – despite the fact that I know I would play it. In reality, all it would cost me is making dinner at home once more a month. I even generally prefer cooking my own meals. Funny isn’t it?

  5. Don’t you mean 2 hours and 15 minutes of of entertainment Raelfy?

    I feel your pain Zubon. There seems to be an inevitability that the tasty stuff we really like will disappear off restaurant menus and supermarket shelves in favour of generically bland pap. I don’t think you and I are being particularly singled out Zubon. It is just the rule of the lowest common denominator.

    As a parent I am keenly aware that children’s undeveloped palates favour bland foods over anything with real texture or taste. It is almost as if the all mass market food is being targeted at children’s taste buds.One slightly worrying observation is the increasing number of adults whose palates never mature and never move on to more complex foods. Sometimes I think it is inevitable that in a few years time we will all be living on homogenised pap eaten out of toothpaste tubes like the early astronauts.

  6. Duh…I just gone and posted my comment to the wrong post. The comment above was supposed to be attached to the post where you lamented the dropping of your favourite item from the taco bell menu. :(

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