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How Self-Serve Stores Trick You

Wilson Zone 60 badminton racquet
Look at the photo on this racquet. Is this racquet for adults or kids?
The worst thing about shopping in the big self-serve sporting goods stores is that you don’t know what you are buying. And more often than not, the staff don’t know what you are buying either.

Take the racquet in this photo, for example. Is it an adult racquet? Is it a kid’s racquet? How can you tell?

Thousands upon thousands of these racquets were sold in major sporting goods stores in Canada and the US last year. The questions is, though, did the people who bought it know what they were buying?

Let’s look at the picture on the racquet’s face card. The badminton player is none other than Sho Sasaki, a Japanese badminton champion who competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

Based on that — and with no other information to go on — a reasonable person would assume that this racquet is suitable for adults.

But it’s not. It’s a child’s racquet, barely suitable for a 10-year-old.

In fact, this racquet is too short (by more than a centimeter) to be an adult racquet and too heavy (by about 15 grams) and far too stiff to be a child’s racquet.

In our store, this racquet is classed as a toy. It looks like a badminton racquet. You can even use it to hit a badminton shuttle. But it’s not really a badminton racquet because a badminton player would not use a racquet like this to play badminton in any kind of formal or semi-formal setting.

If somebody brought this racquet to practice with a knowledgeable badminton coach, the coach would probably advise them to get a new racquet.

But chances are tens of thousands of people who didn’t know any better were tricked into buying this racquet last year because they were hanging on the walls of virtually every major sporting goods store in North America.

And that’s the problem with self-serve sporting goods stores. They buy what they know they can sell. They don’t care of it’s the real thing or a toy. They look at the packaging, the brand name, the colour, the price and the margin. That’s all they need to know if people will buy it.


A Random Sample of Our Badminton Racquets

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