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Everybody Loves a Bargain

Now that Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are once again behind us and eager shoppers can’t wait till the Easter sales are upon us to snaffle yet more bargains, it’s interesting to clarify just what constitutes a “bargain”.

British law long ago defined “fair value” as that which a willing but not anxious buyer would pay to a willing but not anxious seller, so it appears that bargains are the result of a business deal being done where at least one of the parties was unwilling and anxious but some factor – internal or external – produced an agreement between two parties to seal the deal.

The expression “bargain basement” started with a real basement of a real store which was used to get rid of stuff by slashing the normal price and providing the buyer with a real bargain.

The title above indicates that we all love to get a bargain. I disagree.

A real bargain by definition means that one of the parties to the deal is unhappy. Either the purchaser, on reflection, has been dudded or the vendor has managed to dupe the purchaser into paying far more than the item is worth, worth being defined by British law well over a hundred years ago.