Horizontal links

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

3 bananas in the morning, 4 in the evening

I think most have heard of this story where a group of coconut picking monkeys were not satisfied with their "wages" of 3 bananas in the morning and 4 in the evening.

So off they went to confront the farmer and demanded a raise.

The farmer though deeply for a while and gave the monkeys a "raise" with a wry smile - 4 bananas in the morning and 3 in the evening.

The monkeys walked away happy with their "victory".

Is this a win-win situation or what!

Or is it?

When you take public transport - be it buses or MRT - have your noticed that if you divide on a per km basis, you are paying more for shorter trips than for longer journeys?

It's the same with taxis. Make a wild guess whether taxi-drivers prefer shorter or longer fares? Not what you expected on first look right?

When I was on business trips to China, India, and Indonesia, I found that in 3rd tier cities, I can find detergents and candies being sold on a per sachet basis.

Not a big packet of bite-sized candies, but each bite-sized candies being sold individually. I guess marketers have realised the need to keep the absolute price affordable for these markets.

But on a gross margin level, these small sachets and bite-sized offerings are much more profitable than the jumbo economy sized packages that are sold in 1st tier cities.

Don't believe? Next time you go to the supermarket, do a simple math on which is more economical from consumer point of view - a large 2l bottle of coke or a can of 325ml coke?

Your be surprised!

Some "investors" think like monkeys when it comes to equities and properties.

A $10 big cap stock "expensive"; so they buy into small caps at $0.08 since it's a lot "cheaper". Huh?

This condo is so affordable at below $600,000! Cheap! Buy!

But on a per sq m or per year of lease basis...

Moral of story, monkeys can't count.

Salesmen and business owners can.


  1. i rather be the monkey who don't know how to count, if i can't be the businessman.

    as a consumer, we are always always on the losing end, buy the minimum quantity with higher value, not higher quantity with lower value.

    take taxi on shorter trip and buy that 325ml cock.

    but when comes to investing/trading, think like businessman.

    1. coconut,

      On first reading, I thought you were playing dirty or have split personality.

      Thinking about it, I think you are right!

      If I made a lot of money from investing/trading, I can be the monkey who can't count ;)

      I'll take 2 of these, 3 of that, and 5 of those. No need to ask for discounts or look at the price tags.

      Just flash my platinum card.

      Next life, I must come back as a babe with big big ding-a-lings and marry well!

      Leave the counting stuffs to "low kong" (hubby in Cantonese).

    2. no! thats not what i mean!!

      think carefully now, why they want to give you discount? why they want you to buy more at lower value?

      so buy the least amount or quantity, just enough for you at higher price (per unit). so they can get less out from you.

      my wife like to buy a lot so as to get more discount, thats a very big mistake!

    3. coconut,

      Of course that's not what you meant ;)

      You think you the only one who can "Raise East Attack West"?

      Of course you knew the answers; you were business owner before ;)


  2. i think it's the same as buying (especially consumables) in bulk is usually cheaper.

    In Taiwan shoes shops, they always make it so much cheaper for you to buy every 2 pair of shoes instead of one. Which woman can resists the offer? My wife could but i told her never mind just buy. Cheaper what? i couldn't lol.

    Do Singapore shoes shops have the same sale gimmicks?
    All are just sale gimmicks by business men to make you part with your money as much as possible.
    Ha! Ha!

    1. temperament,

      Yes, we use similar gimmicks in Singapore.

      One day I'll blog more about my selling past ;)

  3. Oh yes!
    Sometimes, share right issue or IPO has sale gimmicks too. Like 1 right or 1 share with one free warrant or something like that, though it rarely happens.

  4. SG is world's richest country, per capita $61,567 (IMF 2013 est.). Personally, do you feel rich?

    1. Would one feel blissful staying in a sentosa landed property or living in a hougang hdb?

      Being a monkey and ends up in zero sum game is not always worse off.

      How one live his own life is important, in one's own measure.

    2. Money Honey,

      I am honoured by your presence and illuminating questions!

      "The monkeys walked away HAPPY with their victory."


      Bliss, happiness, contentment - all these come from within. A little bit ignorant, less sharp-eyed, more deaf, and a dash of amnesia helps ;)

      If we have all these, we can spend less time looking at the price tags and worry less who has taken advantage of whom...

      Keeping scores all the time can be hazardous to our mental health.


    3. CW,

      Never trust a statistics we have not manipulated ourselves ;)

  5. SMOL, You have such wonderful blog and l feel so much honoured being given the opportunity to provide my one cents worth views.

    SG is world's richest country, per capita basis. If really true then why need to work beyond retirement age?

    $600,000 condo; not all buyers have the same intention. Whichever is the intention, it is affordable only in view of the buyer for his/her reason for purchasing it.

    A traveller at the airport is so thirsty and will board the plane in an hour's time. A little corner shop having promo on coke; one 325ml can $1; one bottle 2L $1.50. He grabs a $1.50 2L coke as per ml basis it is cheaper. Assuming he is able to completely finishes the 2L bottle drink by the time he boards the flight. Yes, he can continuously "happily" burping loudly away but in reality he is in great pain.

    Side track, speaking of burping; great quote by Small Time Investor "Bubbles are created by people , also burst by people." http://createwealth8888.blogspot.sg/2014/01/bubble-depends-on-where-and-how-you-look.html

    Be it 4 bananas in the morning, 3 in the evening or any other combinations, the monkey surely have its justification whereby researchers spending millions studying their behavior searching the answer, if any.

    sometimes it's better take life easy (investment, etc etc) as AK71 blog about it :-

    Or would one want to live the life of a so-called successful wall street trader. Good thing he has a good counselor guiding to atone his bizarre "dirty" money lifestyle :-

    Never be blinded to all life good things in life in our pursuit of wealth.

    Cannot count, does not necessarily end of the world liao.

    1. Money Honey,

      I FEEL rich tonight.

      Thanks for the scintillating conversation!

      I look out the kitchen window

      With hot cocoa in hand

      Cool night with light breeze

      The stars wink at me

      I wink right back at them

      The embers in my heart burns

  6. SMOL, l feel overly chatty tonight. Enough monkeying around SMOL's blog.

    Listening to some songs now ---> minions singing banana song; harry belafonte and his banana boat song; bananas in pajamas theme song; banana song by doctor noize; banana dance by juelz banana, l'm going bananas by madonna.

    Darn you banana, get out of my mind now. That's it. No more bananas in the next few days, weeks. Same goes for indian and malay food served on banana leaf.

    Get me a doctor, l think l am going bananas now.

  7. If I'm that monkey, I would rather having 4 banana in the morning and 3 in the evening, than the other way round.

    Do bear in mind that we never know whether we will still be around the next minute. Thus, I would rather having the banana make avail in my pocket ASAP.

    1. PS Tan,

      Bird in hand is worth 2 in the bush?

      Interesting angle you've highlighted ;)

      No wonder EZ-link is "rice bucket". We commuters "lend" money to them in advance without interest in return. That's better than banking!

      Same goes to all those SPA and Weight loss pay-in-advance packages.

      Threaten to go to our competitors and complain all you want - your money is still with us. Nah nah nah nah nah.

      Business owners think like you ;)

  8. Money, money, money, must be funny; it's a Rich Man's World.

  9. "Never trust a statistics we have not manipulated ourselves"
    When i read it i can't help laughing. you really a devil before?

    1. temperament,

      "Jiang hu zhong ren" mah!

      I did produce statistics and KPI reports once upon a time as a hired gun...

      You'll be surprised what we can get away with when most people trust "measured strings" more than their feet:


  10. Hi SMOL

    Cheaper means one can afford. That's all I think. In terms of housing, the psf shoots up super high for smaller units. Buy Penthouse? Woolalala, psf becomes super cheap, but whether can afford or not is another story ;)

    1. B,

      A private condo shoebox in the suburbs may cost the same as a resale HDB resale 3 room in "hot" mature estate.

      Some go for space as in psf.

      Some go for "prestige" to differentiate themselves from the rest of the 80%.

      Some go for location to save on travelling time.

      Some go for legacy as anything less than Freehold is just a longer duration form of "rental unit".

      The more philosophical we become (can't count but happy), the more we get screwed.

      However, if we count the costs of everything, we loose a bit of our soul...

      I think I have really mind-fxxxed myself with this post!

      The joke is on me!!!

    2. SMOL (sir*),

      I go for all of the above. Plus most importantly, I go for Wife's approval kekeke. Otherwise, everything checked on the checklist will be useless as the Wife will give me a hard time = no happiness.

      * -- sorry bad habits die hard

    3. ckw-I99,

      I call everyone Sir and Madam during the weekends. Whatever makes you happy ;)

      Ah! A man who understands what it means to have "peace" in the house!



  11. ckw is right, a man who listens to his wife is a smart man!

    The best factor for me to buy is when the wife likes the house.

    Then, there will surely be some Alex who comes along and says ''I bought cheaper than you (psf) leh!''

    But i not buying a farm, wife happy can already

    1. Clueless Punter,

      You are not so "clueless" after all!

      Investment property is different from the property we call home ;)

      Cheers on your Thai Beer!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...