Funny kind of shop part 2

Fri, 29/02/2008 - 14:45 -- James Oakley

Before you read this post, see my post yesterday about a funny coffee shop you could imagine me running…

“What conclusions would you draw, if you saw such a price label, about my intentions in selling this particular coffee?”

Let me suggest a few.

  1. I want everyone to be able to get hold of that Guatemalan coffee. If you can’t afford a higher price, pay a lower one. I don’t want poverty to stop you getting access to it.
  2. I’m not concerned about how much profit I might make. Believe me – I could not source coffee of that quality and make a profit on it at 50p for a 250g bag!
  3. It’s not free. I’m not saying “If you can’t afford 50p have it for nothing”. I want everyone to be able to have that coffee, but I want them to know that it does cost something.
  4. I’m hiding the true price of the coffee. One may suppose that the price of the coffee (including whatever profit component I may wish to make from a normal sale) is at least £5. Otherwise I’d sell it for less all the time, by definition. But you can’t even be sure that the correct sale price is £5. If I’m willing to subsidise for some, I may in fact be subsidising for all. The true price could not be less than £5 but it could be more.
  1. I’m willing to pay myself to make sure that everyone has access. If the true cost of the coffee is more than the price I’m asking people to pay, the balance doesn’t come out of thin air. I, as owner of the shop, so want everyone to have that coffee that I’m willing to pay for that outcome myself.

Very interesting. Very theoretical. Where’s all this going?

I’ll post again tomorrow…

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