I love a bargain. I am as cheap as they come – frugal almost to a fault.

Almost and not quite – for I’ve seen way too much of the other side, the vendor – the provider – the retailer – the restauranteur – the small and struggling small business owner who barely keeps head above water and the bills paid – to the constant and never-ending reality that it will never be enough.

Insatiable consumers – wanting it all, wanting it now and wanting it cheap.

Yes – a discount can certainly make a purchase sweet – there’s no denying that. But when that’s the only way we’ll buy we put the producers in a conundrum. There is no profit in discount prices. Not for a small business – we’re not talking superstores and chains here who can somehow cash in on volume in a financial reality I can’t always wrap my head around – although in the end it matters not how big or small you are – without profit – death is inevitable.

Discounts are supposed to be a draw an enticement to buy something new or spend a little more than we intended. They aren’t supposed to be the status quo. Retailers can’t live on customers who love them only enough to pay discount prices on last year’s stock – they need those who will buy new and buy often – at least on some items and least some of the time.

There are times when it is appropriate and proper to pay full price, rather than dickering or waiting for the best one.

And I can hear some of my friends saying already “But I’m poor…I can’t afford…”

Then maybe this doesn’t apply to you quite yet – but something to think about later, once you have a disposable income again. Not now when your budget is stretched to thin by necessity. For I have been there too, and felt no guilt even knowing I was buying way below wholesale – because I needed it to be that price to even afford the purchase.

But now – even though I still have more debt than I want to think about and nothing more than a plan in my head and belly button lint and toe jam to pay it – I think twice before looking for the lowest price.

The danger in always looking for the lowest price is that if everyone does that nobody wins.

The scenarios can vary but they all invariably lead to one tragic result.

Say the retailer ups the regular prices to offset the losses which causes those who were willing to pay full price before when it was reasonable to balk and stop shopping – leading to more discounts and more losses until there is no more…

Discount prices are unsustainable and when they are the only way you buy…businesses die.

And you may not care if one store closes and another one opens – but we are all connected and their stories matter too.

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