From the article:
And although self-service is great for saving costs, its effect over time is to train customers to shop on price, and thus to switch as soon as a slightly cheaper rival comes along.
My wife likes to drink Chateau St. Michelle Riesling. I had been content to buy it at $10.49 a bottle in the chilled section at the local Food Kitty. Sometime back in January, they raised the price to $12.99 a bottle. I bought a couple of bottles and noticed that I could get it at Costco for $7.99 and started buying it there. A couple of months ago, the price at the grocery store was back down to $10.49. A few weeks ago, it was down to $9.99. Last week, I saw it listed for $8.99. I am still buying it at Costco.
Similarly, I had been buying cat food at Food Kitty, which had been comparable to the pet stores at about $0.48 - $49 cents a can. Wally World had it for $0.46 and it wasn't worth going there for it. The grocery store raised their price to $0.55 and I stopped buying it there and started going to the pet store where I could get it for $0.43 to 0.45 cents per can. A few weeks ago, I noticed the pet store going up to $0.50 to $0.55 cents per can. I've started buying it online and getting "free" shipping (meaning it is factored into the product price), for on average $0.43 per can. I have to be careful, though, because I've also seen on line listings claiming "discount sale" price of about $0.60+ per can.
While I can't blame the retailers for working to make a profit, playing pricing games to charge more on things that people buy is a dangerous game, as some retailers are starting to learn. With little to nothing to differentiate themselves, and with it being easy for consumers to become informed about competition, they can get themselves into a real pickle. I do prefer smaller "mom and pop" stores and I am often times willing to pay more for higher quality and service but I also reject and resent the perception of getting taken advantage of.