What Is Price Discrimination? – Dejargonised With EduFiction
Price Discrimination, noun. The action of selling the same product at different prices to different buyers, in order to maximize sales and profits.
Sometime in the early 2000s
Riya was filling her little Barbie suitcase with toys for the upcoming vacation with her parents, when she heard her mother’s irritated voice, “Naveen, as usual you have booked our flight tickets at the last minute. We would have spent half the amount if you had listened to me and booked them last month”. Her father reasoned, “Work doesn’t let me plan so much in advance, you know that. It’s fine to pay a bit of premium so we can get out of the city for the long weekend.”
“Shit, shit, shit, I’m late for work, Mom, no breakfast today…”, Riya yelled from her room. She pulled up the Uber app and let out an expletive. “561 bucks to go from Versova to Powai! I HATE you Uber.” Mother came in, “Why don’t you just take the Metro, Riyu? Uber is really taking everyone for a ride with this surge business”. “What, on the first day of my first job when it’s raining so much? No way, Mom. It’s ok, I am going to start earning now anyway, I can afford a bit of comfort today.”
10 years later
Riya looked at the time in the corner of her glasses. 5 pm, better get going. She wanted to buy fresh vegetables from the supermarket today. If she got there before the rush hour, she could save on the “freshness premium” as everyone rushed to buy ingredients for dinner. As the car drove her to the supermarket, Riya got a call. Her glasses showed it was their family doctor’s assistant, Prerna.
“Hi Riya, just wanted to check when you are bringing the little one for the flu shot. Shall I make an appointment for Friday?”
“Sure, Prerna. By the way, how much do I need to credit for it? It’s 79 Global Rupees, isn’t it?”
“Umm, no, Riya. That was last week. The price is now 129 GR.”
“Oh, really? Hmmm. Not really sure whether we should do the shot now, in that case.”
“Of course, Riya, that’s your decision. But just thought I’d inform you that flu season is expected to hit in another week. And from your baby’s live vitals screen in front of me, it appears that she is already coughing a little…”
“Oh dear, then we better come on Friday. I will credit the 129 GR before we come, Prerna. See you soon.”
No taking chances with the baby’s health, thought Riya, as Prerna’s hologram face disappeared. The higher price was annoying, but it was only fair given that they had delayed until now.
Riya groaned as she sank into bed finally at around midnight. Nick came in a few minutes later, after putting the baby to sleep. He pulled Riya closer and kissed her neck. Riya smiled, enjoying the feel of his warm skin on hers, and moved closer.
“Damn”, said Nick softly under his breath.
“What’s wrong?” asked Riya.
“I think I am out of condoms. Let me just run down to the vending machine, babe. Be right back.”
Riya clicked her tongue, “You’ll have to pay double now, because the machine will read your face and realize you’re aroused. Maybe you should wait for a few minutes.”
Nick laughed, “Babe, these condom companies know human beings too well. There’s just no getting around THIS surge pricing.”