I guess they didn’t read the rexblog

I guess they didn’t read the rexblog: Back on the ground in Nashville and clearing out some missed news items when I ran across this curious story in yesterday’s Tennessean: “Retailers reap profit in tax-free weekend – computer, clothing stores surprised by waves of shoppers.” The story explains how surprised retailers were with the magnitude of shoppers taking advantage of a three-day holiday from one of the highest sales-taxes in the country.

Quote:

“MacAuthority, a Nashville Apple sales and service dealer, had sales of $450,000 over the three days, about $100,000 more than anticipated, said Reba Carter, who handles accounting. People waited for hours in line at the Apple store at The Mall at Green Hills.”

All I can say to retailers is this: Listen to bloggers. Last Tuesday, I posted this explanation of how the weekend was going to be a tremendous real-life example of a simple economics lesson on how taxes influence consumer purchasing decisions. I specifically used Apple as an example. When my daughter went to purchase her computer on Friday, she had to take a number outside the store and wait to get in. By Friday, the first day of the tax-holiday, the Apple store had sold out of all MacBooks. (Ironically, even though it was not covered by the sales tax exemption, the iPod she purchased was also sold-out by Friday afternoon, no doubt because of the “free iPod” student promotion Apple is currently running.) For the most part, the employees at the Apple store were merely facilitating purchases through (in essence) Apple.com — with the advantage that all purchases made in the store, even on purchases that had to be shipped, were exempt from nearly 10% in sales taxes.

By the way, Nashville blogger Jackson Miller, who is a partner in a retail store along with his day-job and side-passions as a geek, anticipated in advance what the weekend would bring. (Although I may disagree with him on his stance on the issue.)

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  • Jackson

    Ok, this post spurred some thoughts (which I posted here).

    I re-read your post about your daughter using the weekend as a bargaining chip for getting a new Apple (kudos to her), but I am curious if you were thinking it would spur additional spending or just cause planned spending to be more consolidated to that weekend.

  • scott

    i think retailers have a pretty big fundamental problem on their hands if they don’t anticipate big sales during a tax-free weekend…much bigger than a failure to read a blog or two! isn’t the idea of a tax-free weekend leading to big sales a pretty easy to understand concept, especially when backed up by evidence of its popularity in neighboring states (which ultimatel led to tn introducing it here)??????? blog or no blog, human nature suggests that when you have to buy things (as most families do during back to school season), they’ll be inclined to spend more when provided an incentive?

    btw, did you daughter go with a white superdrive or blackbook? there are some really good deals on newegg right now, if you want to upgrade her laptop. you can max out the ram for $160 (which is much better than apple’s $500 price), and from what i hear, the mb really flies with 2gb of ram. also, they have 120gb hd’s for a little over $100, which is pretty reasonable (apple charges $250) plus she could use her oem drive for backup purposes.

    your daughter was lucky she got to go in. on saturday night, the doorguy was turning people away despite the store being nearly empty (maybe 4 customers). i can only imagine how many potential switchers as well as macaddicts he turned away with his attitude. i’ll definitely use macauthority or just order online from now on. no way i’ll help that manager make his numbers. the fact that he wouldn’t let someone in to just pick something up quickly was ridiculous. not everyone needs their hand held during a purchase. what if one of the people he turned away didn’t care about the weekend and was looking to buy a mbp or display? he could be in and out in 5-10 minutes tops. telling him to come back tomorrow is great until 1) he can’t come in on sunday and 2) he gets turned away again. maybe the genius expects someone to come three days in a row!

  • rex

    Scott, obviously I was joking — they shouldn’t need to read a blog to recognize the obvious.

  • scott

    my sarcasm meter program is broken (it’s powered by an early beta of vista). just one more reason to get leopard!

  • bhudgins

    CompUSA has all its Apple products on sale this weekend (Aug. 12-13). I bet they only got like 4 or 5 MacBooks per store in anticipation of it, don’t you?

  • mark

    I’m the owner of MacAuthority and thought we did a fairly good job of bringing extra inventory (300-400 cpus) in for the weekend. We ran out of 17″ imacs Sat., other than that we had everything in stock. We had extra people on the floor and added 18 hours to regular weekend scedule. Most customers wait time was less than 15min. The biggest suprise for us was how many customers waited to Sunday to purchase.

  • mark

    I’m the owner of MacAuthority and thought we did a fairly good job of bringing extra inventory (300-400 cpus) in for the weekend. We ran out of 17″ imacs Sat., other than that we had everything in stock. We had extra people on the floor and added 18 hours to regular weekend scedule. Most customers wait time was less than 15min. The biggest suprise for us was how many customers waited to Sunday to purchase.