Beeeep! The alarm sounds at 1:51 pm, signaling the end of 9th period. Students stampede out of their classrooms, racing to be first. Within minutes, the Commons are jam-packed with people talking, shoving, and competing for the highly coveted prize: a slice of pizza.
For the past few weeks, students at Ward Melville High School have been selling slices of pizza to raise money for funding and equipment for their respective clubs. Sold at $2 a slice, the pizza is extremely overpriced. Nonetheless, these fundraisers have been a huge success and pizza sales are high. The concept of after-school snacks is not a novelty, as vending machines have been present for years. Why has this pizza attracted so much attention?
Whether intentionally or accidentally, the Ward Melville pizza-sellers utilize a key consumer product marketing strategy: scarcity. Research has shown that people tend to place additional value on things that are rare. In sales, the “limited-number technique” is often used to entice customers to buy the product. The pizza being sold tends to run out around ten to fifteen minutes after the end of 9th period. Since the pizza is in limited supply, people are afraid of “missing out” and feel more inclined to buy it.
The pizza-selling also occurs at an idealistic location. The Commons are in a central location of the school. If one is planning on buying a slice of pizza, doing so is very convenient. Moreover, even if one is not planning on buying pizza, he or she is still likely to pass by the Commons on his or her way to a club, sport, or bus and could potentially then change their minds and decide to purchase a slice.
And, of course, buying pizza also contains a social appeal. The process of sprinting out of class, waiting on line, and then eating the pizza is a fun activity to share with your friends.
While it may not be because of the food itself, pizza sales have most certainly been a huge success for Ward Melville clubs. It’s also a nice opportunity for students to purchase a warm snack at the end of the day… even if it drains the money from their pockets.