Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
When an email about GapMyPrice.com landed in our inbox, we were a little confused (what does that even mean), but intrigued. The Gap is going to let customers name their own price on things? Like Priceline for clothes? We figured it would be the dregs of the sale crap they can't even move in stores, but hey, cheap stuff is cheap stuff, and sometimes a girl just needs a dirt-brown crewneck tee.
We decided to give it a try and share our tales. The site is pretty basic, just a page with an item on it with a general description, the original price, and a box for you to make an offer. Only nine items were being offered when we tried the site. We started with a pair of cuffed shorts. Regular price, $59.95. We bid $20. The site offered $35. We countered with $21 (hey, we're shrewd and cheap). The site said $35 was the best offer. Meh.
Then we found the "Winners" page, which is what will have you screaming at your computer within five minutes.
The winners list cycles through deals customers have recently "scored," and gives you a link to that item to try your own luck. We immediately saw that someone had scored the cuffed shorts we had just been offered $35 as a best price...for $29. Wait, what? That whore. We started clicking around on the deal links. We saw that someone had scored a "maxy" dress for $49, regular price $98.95. The best the site would offer us was $71. We tried for a U-neck t-shirt, regular price $19.95. We offered $11. The site countered with $13. We offered $12, but the site wouldn't budge. Then we clicked back over onto the winners page, and it told us that someone had scored the U-neck shirt for $11. WHAT THE HELL, GAP?! At this point, none of our counter offers had worked. We tried for a pair of gladiator sandals--the site said that someone had just scored a pair for $25, and another person had just scored a pair for $36 (sucker). We bid $25, the site offered $41, then $40, then $39 as the best offer.
Seriously, five-year-olds can negotiate better than this.
Eventually, we accepted a deal for a slinky cardigan for $27. The site gave us a coupon for the item with an expiration date of about 11 days away. Not bad. We figure the purpose of the site is to either gather data on what customers would be willing to pay for basic items, or a way to dole out coupons without having to stick to one price per item. As far as we can figure, the site must be programmed to only release certain items at certain "rock bottom" prices so many times, and then the price jumps back up for other suckers. So, maybe, if you're lucky and hit the site right, you may score a deal. Otherwise, you'll get stuck arguing with a computer algorithm that makes less sense than a drunken William Shatner.
· Gap My Price [Official Site]