Tonight at my daughter’s gymnastics competition they handed out coupons to get $15 off of T-shirts or sweatshirts. What a great deal! I stood in the line that snaked through the gym for the better part of my life to take advantage of this great opportunity. When I finally arrived at the order area, I leaned that I would still pay $24 for the long-sleeve t-shirt with the logo and a star by my daughter’s name on the back.
Funny thing was, that’s the same price I paid at the last competition at a different gym, WITHOUT the $15 discount. Could it be that this vendor simply handed out coupons to make us think we were getting a good deal?
Of course that’s what the little weasel did. And we all fell for it because we can’t resist trying to get a good deal. It’s the same reason we hold out when buying a new sofa until the guy sweetens the pot with a couple of cheap throw pillows. Then we’re scrambling to say, “We’ll take it!”
One of the most frustrating things about this is finding out that someone you know also got the same throw pillows. Then it seems like you didn’t really get a good deal after all. You merely got the standard deal. Worse than that is finding out you got the standard deal, and the other guy paid less for the couch than you did.
It’s actually a competition – you try to win with the salesperson, then you try to one-up everyone else. After all, you can’t get a good deal without having something to compare it to.
Another way people try to get you is packaging. Often there will be a really nicely boxed item with cellophane enclosing it like a chastity belt so the would-be purchaser can’t see what’s in there. The label makes the contents seem irresistible. The customer buys it because it’s on the clearance table by the check stand, marked down from $49 to 9.95. I’ve bought this item many a time. When I get home and tear into it, it’s always a tiny, flimsy object that breaks in seconds.
When I was a small child, I got a giant chocolate bunny in my Easter basket. You know where this is going, don’t you? I bit into that bunny’s foot and discovered that it was simply a thin layer of chocolate wrapped around nothing but air. In fact, the whole thing broke up into bits and fell to the floor. There wasn’t much more chocolate in that thing than in a Hershey’s kiss. I was heartbroken. Who would do such a thing to a small child? How could the Easter Bunny be so cruel?
Once I bought a beautifully packaged box that touted itself as the best spice cookie mix the civilized world has ever known. When I opened it, there was a ziplock bag full of flour mix that looked like some kid had put together. I followed the directions and made the worst cookies I’ve ever attempted to eat. They scrimped on the sugar and spices and spent the flavor budget on the fancy box.
This has happened to me more times than I care to divulge. For this reason, I’ve been leery of everything in a nice box for a long time. Last Christmas I refused to open a beautifully wrapped present with a pale green ribbon because I knew I’d be disappointed. When I get up my nerve, I’ll let you know what it was. I’m sure my husband got a great deal on it!