The Price Skirmish–A Distinctive Pattern of Competitive Behavior

by Ralph Cassady



Much has been written in abstract as well as in actual market terms about price warfare. As a result of intensive study of this interesting phenomenon, price wars are a precise type of abnormal price behavior, and that, just as in international conflict, there are near cold wars as well as actual hot wars. Thus, some conflicts do not eventuate but are staved off by conciliatory moves on the part of one antagonist or the other before an engagement can take place. While some engagements are completely avoided, some do take place but are only of limited scope and duration. Further analysis of the genus price warfare reveals a particular species of conflict here to fore not formally recognized. Because of the small segment of the market involved in such conflicts and the promptness of their termination, this type of encounter may be aptly termed a price skirmish. The price cuts in the foregoing price skirmish were not publicized except, of course, by word of mouth. Nevertheless it is interesting how quickly news spreads to the consumer in instances such as this. Within minutes consumer-buyers were gathering with two and three shopping bags in order to purchase what was being sold cheaply and to take advantage of the free offerings. Each vendor was attempting to attract customers to his own outlet or, rather, to keep customers from his opponent's establishment.

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