I've always been a big fan of Sam Adams beers. Boston Lager is one of the best on the market, and what's so great about them is that you don't lose quality in their more creative flavors (a lot of good beers get weird when they try to branch out). I'm not alone, of course. And because Sam Adams is heavily seasonal in its rotation, anyone that likes them gets excited when a seasonal flavor gets rereleased.
Why am I talking about this?
Because good examples of price discrimination are hard to find and I've always liked the example offered by Sam Adams' seasonal beers.
Airline tickets are the most common example of price discrimination. This works because tickets are sold over time. Business travel is often done with much shorter notice and business travel demand for tickets is more inelastic. Vacationers have less elastic demand but they also plan farther ahead. There is a great price discrimination opportunity here: charge more for the same flight as the flight date approaches.
Price discrimination for Sam Adams (and presumably other seasonal brewers, but this is one I've really noticed) similarly take advantage of sales over time.
When Octoberfest is rereleased there are a lot of enthusiastic buyers ready to shell out $19 for a case. Part of me doesn't blame them - it's a tasty beer. But I can wait. I don't have to get it the first week it's in the stores... plus I've notice something: a week or so later it's $18 for a case. Then a week later its $17 for a case, etc., etc.
Not sure why, but I was more eager this season. It can get down to $13 I noticed for the summer. I grabbed one this morning at $15. Still a lot better than drinking at bars.
Anyway, I for one think the airline ticket example is overused - we need more price discrimination examples!
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