Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Target Marketing: Black folk make less so sell them dolls at higher prices

Note: I first wrote this story for a weekly I write for but they did not run it because Target advertises with them.

I have always thought that many of us are not too astute when it comes to economics. Spending habits aside and the general lack of understanding of micro- and macroeconomic theory, we often accept and buy things without question. Take the Target store in North Miami.

On Sept. 15, Ketrina Brown approached the cashier with two boxed dolls. Both dolls were of the Baby Alive variety, the dolls that digest and release food in the form of excrement. The only difference was that one doll was white and one was black. Both dolls were priced on clearance at a reduced price. However, the white doll was on sale for $22.48, and the black doll was priced at $31.48.

Brown wanted to know why the two dolls, which do exactly the same things and the only difference being color, had a 10 dollar gap in price.

Her answer was that the prices were set by the corporate headquarters. The store manager also attempted to suggest that the difference was due to "different items" going on "clearance at different times." The official statement from Target spokesperson Tara Schlosser was that items are put on clearance based on their popularity and sales.

Until we actively accept and manage our purchasing power, African Americans will always be on the short end of the stick. I cannot say if there was any racial intent in the pricing, like many stores do when they sell items at higher prices in black neighborhoods, but it does beg the question, how frequently does this occur and what's the logic behind this type of intentional pricing?


Anonymous said...

Simple supply and demand. More white dolls are purchased and therefore more competitive pricing from the manufaturer can be offered; the savings of which can be passed onto the end consumer.
Want lower prices on items, buy and encourage others to buy these products. Not everything is about race. Sometimes it really is just about economics.

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