Ah the transfer war chest, what would we do without it, or more appropriately what would we do with it. Given that the club has changed owners the inevitable speculation on transfer spending and targets has begun in earnest. It is generally accepted that there are two types of shoppers in this market, those who shop at Harrods and those who shop in the bargain basement.
No, that’s wrong there’s much more than two, there are many types. Because this is an Arsenal blog I’m going to tell a tale about the three types of shoppers found in the top tier of the premier league.
At the top is the Über rich, money is no object shopper. Who will simply look at price to determine quality. The type who shops at the top end luxury stores. They have personal shoppers because the have no concept of value, and will accept anything their personal shoppers recommend. And occasionally they buy at I saw you coming, or go to high end auctions outbidding each other in a vulgar display of oppulence.
The Übers depend on a high value resource to fund his spending, and will continue to do so until the resource is depleted or they just get bored of it all.
Sometimes the winner of trophies and fans, but even with their largesse trophies can’t always be guaranteed and frustration ensues, underlings are sacked, assets are written off, and new, more expensive ones are bought in an effort to regain previous adulation. Ultimately, even with all that spending nothing is guaranteed.
Then is the leveraged rich with some sense of value, but willing to risk some to earn more kind of shopper. Those will be in the high end shops but still look for value, whilst not afraid to pop into M&S now and then. Always looking to make shrewd investments but will spoil themselves every now and again.
They live the good life, but under a cloud of uncertainty where a black swan event could ruin them. Outwardly secure but knowing one false move could mean the start of a downward spiral.
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Admired by many for being able to stay at the top of the hill for so long, seen as the gold standard by many. The burden of debt accumulated to gain that perch remains a constant source of anxiety.
At the bottom of the top is the value based shopper, the kind who will set a budget and not go past it under any circumstance. Every shopping trip is governed by a strict set of rules, parameters are set and a purchase is made only when all criteria is fulfilled. Let’s call him Mr. Prudent
This type of shopper never spends more than they earn In fact the always spend less than they earn leaving aside some funds for a rainy day. Luxury is not part of their psyche. Never buys anything because it’s the hot item or because we just like it, no it must fulfil a need.
No one likes going to shop with this person, mostly because it takes too long. Going to each shop trying to find that perfect deal, we get exasperated at him, yell at him to just buy something, anything so we can go home.
That’s not to say there’s no risk involved with Mr. Prudent, just a lower level of risk, he is willing to build and nurture so his risks involves buying raw material and building them into the products he needs. Those are handmade products so there are some that fail to meet the standard required, they are discarded with a heavy heart but still at a price that at least covers costs.
The really good ones we get to keep and use to maintain status amongst the elite. Those are coveted by the high end shoppers, sometimes they move on, but usually it’s after serving their purpose and at a price that pays for a few years worth of raw material, and so the process continues.
Mr. Prudent was once at the very top of the pyramid, but knew to be robust in the future capital investment was needed. He built a lovely new home so that when he passes his family will be able to maintain there place without seeking outside help.
He knew that building the new home would significantly reduce his shopping budget for a great many years, but endeavoured to make that sacrifice at the cost of accolades and prizes.
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In the years since the new house the Übers moved in, threatening to nudge Mr. Prudent’s family from the elite neighbourhood. Somehow he managed to stay amongst the top, competing for honours failing by small margins. Amongst his family there is discontent, there are those who want to live like the Übers, those who want a trophy at any cost, even those who wishes him out.
However he’s playing the long game, and things are changing. New rules are in place that will prevent the Übers and The Leveraged from unlimited spending, things are going to be a bit more equal. Some of Mr Prudent’s products are at maturity, some under performers will be moved on.
The mortgage on the new house is being reduced, new commercial income is being sourced, this year Mr. Prudent has been closer than ever to winning a prize—an experience strangely more painful than not being close at all—the pieces are falling together, but the family is falling apart.
This shopping window could be Mr. Prudent’s most important, his shopping basket will be closely monitored. The products sold this summer will be of great significance, maybe more so than what he buys.
Next time we look at Prudent’s shopping techniques, how exactly does he determine value in the market. See you then.