T Nation

Dirty Trick #13

Hey TC and Chris…GREAT article on the various “Dirty Tricks” that abound the supplement industry…I know by reading it that I’ve been caught unsuspecting a few times…but there’s one I think you guys forgot: #13 “A Higher Price = Higher Value”

You know that old human nature thing where you start to automatically distrust cheap supplements, because you suspect they have cheap materials?? Well I’m pretty sure that some companies know this, and so they use the “reverse psychology” trick and jack up the price on their STILL cheap crap. Suddenly a vial of X is 40 dollars more than the competitor’s, and people jump to it because they think they’re getting the “primo value” material…dirty dirty dirty

That’s a good call, but it’s a tricky issue. I know exactly what you’re talking about too. I’ve seen small bottles of plain creatine given a fancy name and a $50 price tag and fly off the shelves. (We busted one of these companies hard in our old Rater-X column.) I’ve also seen good creatine that runs only $20 a kilo. Some of those homeopathic supplement makers are the worst offenders- overcharging for what is ultimately a crap product to begin with. (Remember “The Beast”?)

But at the same time high quality raw ingredients are expensive and in some cases (protein powders for example) you get what you pay for. Then again, we’ve heard reports that some of the most popular MRP makers have started using cheaper “fillers” because of the rising costs of raw ingredients. They didn’t lower the price of their now second rate MRPs however.

So, good point, but it’s a tricky one.

Yeah, that one on “payola” really shocked me. I just thought people in supp stores didn’t know shit. It turns out they may know shit, but choose to make some under-the-table money instead of suggesting quality merch. I wish I would have heard of that other dirty trick back when I was a newbie. I admit it, I used to buy Hot Stuff because I thought, well, it has all that stuff in it, it must be good!

suprise, suprise guys.
this phenomenon is not even viewed as a trick.
it’s just a simple aspect of marketing - the realization that people’s image of quality is tied into the price they pay for an item.
it is not unheard of for a company to reduce the price of an item in order to sell more, but only find that they have closed themselves out of the market because consumers view their product as a lower quality.
But I trust most of you guys are smart and read the labels.
I was buying a bottle of glucosamine for my joints - I went into GNC out of curiosity and found the same amount for 3 times the price! What’s funnier is when I asked the owner of the store (who happened to be helping me) if that price was for ONE bottle and he confirmed that it was I laughed in his face and told him that the price was outrageous. :o)
He was pissed, and went into a buncha BS about the product that I already knew, of course. :o)

Yes I will agree that there are several questionable techniques that companies and stores use to lure customers. I own 2 sports nutrition stores, so I think that I can provide some insight. Honest and reliable retailers are few and far in between in this business. Many I know use bait and switch techniques, mark up to mark down scams and the list goes on. Why any of you would go to GNC is beyond me. Super Tuesday scam, higher than MSRP prices, limited knowlege. I mean the customer has to take some responsibility too. I see customers all the time that will by cheaper 5lb proteins even after I tell them about the quality issues on a cheap protein. Many people won’t listen to retailers like myself when I am suggesting quality products. They let themselves get brainwashed by the ads and articles of the muscle mags. This problem is two fold, one with the retail/manufacturer and another with customer education.

Patrick is right. My marketing prof says that the biggest marketing mistake made is not having the guts to charge high enough a price. The price is whatever someone is willing to pay for, not simply the cost to make the product plus some profit. As for me, I carefully read the label and try to keep up to date on who has a quality product.