Fry’s Black Friday Shopping Deal: $200 to cut to the front of the line

In Washington State, a Fry’s Electronics store had an unannounced deal for customers: $200 to cut to the front of the line. Critics are calling such a deal unethical and disturbing, and store management is threatening to terminate any employee who made offers to customers.

Here’s the thing: that’s actually a good idea. Amusement parks already offer this premium to guests in the form of premium passes, and for people who value their time more than their money, this is a very good deal. I wouldn’t personally pay $200 to skip to the front of the line, but I might pay $20. It’d depend on how much of a hurry I was in and what the cost was. As long as no one was COMPELLED to pay, it’s just another value-add service that companies can offer.

Here’s the other thing: it gives value to the line and provides an economic disincentive for the store to ignore those few truly rude individuals who already cut in line. You know them, you’ve experienced them, and I won’t rant about them here, but the moment you attach a price tag to line priority, those individuals aren’t just rude – they’re committing theft, in the form of depriving the store of revenues. Truthfully, line jumpers are already stealing, in the form of the time of those behind them in line, but attaching a dollar value to places in line means you can then attach value to the rest of the places in line.

Personally, rather than slink away from this, I would have marketed the hell out of it.

What’s your take on this?

Hat tip to Steve from the Wicked Good podcast for twittering this story.

Get your coffee delivered!

Sign up for the Marketing Over Coffee newsletter!

Email address
First Name
Last Name