Friday, 16 April 2021

Nothing is FREE!


Its amazing this 3 bananas in the morning; 4 bananas in the evening is played all around us everyday.

At my weekend sales gig, I've lost count of how many "blue-eyed" customers (usually older housewives or uncles) who insists on "free" delivery or installation when they buy a bulky home appliance or electronic home entertainment device..

They will display shock that we charge separate for deliveries and installations. 

And I though pricing each cost item separately promotes greater transparency?


They will tell me how 20 years ago when they bought their home appliances, everything was "free"! 

Or this shop and that shop, delivery and installation are both free!!!

That's easy to overcome. I often teased why they didn't buy at those shops? Wink.

Well, our prices are lower. 


If you add our "lower" prices and pay for delivery and installation additionally, the final end price is around the same as our competitors who offered a higher price - but comes with "FREE" delivery and installation.

Smoke and mirrors.

A good example is the ubiquitous Value$ stores. 

Some years back, I noticed some of their stores were selling the Mars or Snickers candy bars for $1 buy-one-get-one free. While some other Value$ stores were selling the same Mars or Snickers for 50 cents each? 

Now I see all their stores have switched to the 50 cents model.

Did they do a test and found selling at 50 cents moves the candies faster than selling $1 buy-one-get-one free?

We see this all the time in supermarkets or for those who prefer to shop online. Some customers are seduced more by 50% discounts, while other customers are more drawn towards buy-one-get-one-free promotions. How to say no to "free"?

Then there are customers who can see the strings merchants and snake oils are trying to tie onto their arms and legs to puppeteer their actions. 

They save 100% by not being baited; only buying what they need.

Of course the above is just foreplay for what I really wanted to share.

If you aspire FIRE or getting rich through investing/trading, the odds are against you if you can't see the forest for the trees.

I know not everyone has worked in sales, purchasing, or have your own business. 

Just know more money has been made in the finance industry (includes financial education) through salesmanship than actual investing or trading.

No one is interested to help you get rich for free!

I'm sure many veterans have found out through crash got sound, "free" or "big discounts" can be most expensive... (Yes, I've been baited too)




  1. Now people know why I start giving out free eBooks. Yikes!!

    1. Kevin,

      Anyone who has read the Dummies series on how to monetise 101 from blogging would know the various tricks of the trade ;)

      But I got to compliment you.

      You are the more open and transparent bloggers out there.

      Nothing wrong to make money from blogging. I'm a snake oil myself.

      I just find those whose sole intention is to milk and fleece their readership as distasteful.

  2. Smol,

    The unspoken (but actually quite open) secret is that 99% of people working in investments get most of their money from salary and/or sales. Not own investing gains or dividends.

    I used to be impressed by intelligent-sounding fund managers & analysts in the 1990s. Until an ex-colleague made the arduous jump into the investment fund management industry (lots of tough 3-letter exams for signaling & lots of networking needed to get in).

    She gradually spilled the beans that sales & AUM is numero uno. Of course her bosses will whack her that investment performance drives sales, but as she rose through the ranks, glib-talk & presentations are equally important. As long don't self destruct like Bill Gross, Neil Woodford or Bill Hwang.

    (Btw, her starting pay in investment world was triple her then $8K pay in the early-2000s.)

    1. Spur,

      I almost joined the Insurance industry, which is no less snake oil.

      Then again, anyone who is in sales, purchasing, or running your own business, we would know the tricks of the trade when it comes to milking and fleecing.

      I would stop at milking and fleecing though. I don't want to have anything to do with glue factories or abattoirs...

      Readers who are far removed from the finance industry may want to read this book called:

      Where are the customers' yachts?

      Written in 1940, nothing has changed.

      Technology may be be different; people still people.

  3. Hi Smol,

    Nothing is free. But there is really something of a good deal, as long as u dun need the best if everything.

    I bought a new TV. Prism TV. Installation and delivery free. Net 699. Buy need to pay GST. Can't find another deal like this in retail shop. Even online, only Xiaomi TV is slightly better. Sure, it lacks some features, but dun think those costs a few hundreds or thousands.

    Just like my phone, went to Xiaomi from Apple and never look back

    U know those trips to JB to get milk powder. I wonder why price is cheaper by so fast. So I brought one from Singapore and compare item by item. Sure, the JB formula lack 1 or 2 ingredients, for teh eyes. But I think is gimicks.

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Nothing is "free".

      If you offered to bring back and install the TV yourself, the price you pay cannot be net $699 ;)

      Of course they won't offer you that option. Customers may "pause" if they found out how "cheap" those TVs really are...

      That's why I prefer companies like IKEA and my current weekend sales gig that break the price components out clearly.

      More options is empowerment.

      If you find out their delivery charge is $70, instead of collecting yourself, you can also engage your own independent delivery company to collect and deliver to your place for less than $70 ;)

      Free market competition is good for the consumer!

      Similarly, I recently bought a new multi-point instant water heater from Lazada for my BTO flat.

      Delivery is "free". But the 2 most "competitive" sellers quoted the installation as $150 and $180.

      So I got the installer from my weekend sales gig that charge $100 ;)

      You can't do this trick with big retailers. But at small independent retail shops where its owner operated, you can get a further small discount (instant cash back) by offering to pay in cash.


      Because if you use credit card, the retailer has to pay a small percentage to the credit card companies anyway.


  4. Got to give it to the older generation housewives. They are still the shrewdest negotiator! hahahaha...

    That's why given a choice, I prefer to choose the comparatively younger generation to sell to, who are more generous in buying and less apt in negotiating, even when they probably are less rich than the older generation.

    Hmmm.... in fact I have known the richest, being the more stingy and more unreasonable when it comes to "money in their pockets"

    1. Rolf,

      Yes, miserly "giam siap gui" customers have a knack of turning a pleasant purchase/selling encounter into a visit to the dentists for us salespeople...

      Salespeople that have options and take pride in our craft, we don't let customers treat us like "beggars"...

      We can walk away ;)

      Its a sad sight whenever I see fellow salespeople that are so desperate for the sales, they let asshole customers trample all over them...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...