Sunday, January 09, 2005

We Get What We Pay For – Or Do We??

All of us are consumers of products and services. I think all of us also try to pay as little as possible for a product or service. However, there are times when we may feel a little generous or feel that we deserve a treat and we splurge good money on a little luxury. Be it a pair of Bally shoes or an LV Handbag.

I believe that if we were to really analyse the situation and keep our emotions in check, we will be aware that we are sometimes buying into the hype and paying simply to keep up with the Joneses. Granted that some luxury products that cost double of the “normal” ones really do provide “twice” the satisfaction, either because it has twice the amount of quality ingredients or it lasts twice as long etc. However, do all so called luxury products fall into such hallowed territory? I seriously doubt it! Hence, my contention that YOU may not get what you pay for. If not, who does? I mean, who really benefits from our hard earned cash used to buy into the hype and the brand? Well, it’s the owner or shareholders of the company that was responsible for the product or service and all the other people along the line responsible for providing you with that product or service.

I do not have a problem with products or services costing twice as much but providing twice the satisfaction. However, the world works on the principle of Caveat Emptor or “let the buyer beware”. That’s the thrust of my argument. We need to think and be more aware of what we are paying for. The reader may be wondering “…why the hell does he care how individuals spend their hard earned cash!”. You are, of course, correct.

If people are willing to spend good money to assuage some ill-conceived desire for certain products or services, why should I care? It is just that I cannot help feeling a sense of injustice that such actions enrich the very people who do not “deserve” to be enriched. If we, as consumers, become collectively more discerning and begin to ask tougher questions of the products and services we consume, market forces will then do the rest and manufacturers and service providers will begin to act more responsibly and all consumers will benefit.

Moving on to corporations, despite the increasing sophistication of procurement systems, large corporations are also sometimes guilty of unnecessary expenditure and “buying” into image and branding. For example, as a manager looking to outsource some service, we may be more impressed and therefore more comfortable with a service provider ensconced in sophisticated premises or in a penthouse somewhere overlooking the sea. Did we spare a thought for how they were able to afford it in the first place? Well, with “generous” companies agreeing to “subsidise” their luxurious lifestyles, why not? I think we should not be deceived by pretty premises. Nevertheless I would also be the first to acknowledge that the fly-by-night operators give all of us that try to minimise our overheads a bad name.

With improvements in technology, many service providers today do not need fancy premises in which to work. In fact, some service providers only rent nice looking premises because they think that that is what YOU, their potential clients, expect.

Think about this for a minute. As a client, YOU are paying extra so that your suppliers look respectable and credible. YOU are paying for their upholstery and city view. How preposterous!? Not to mention that it is probably the height of folly to pay for a suppliers beautiful office and life of luxury. Of course, as mentioned above, there are some products and services that are value for money even at top dollar! The question is, which ones are they? I just wish everyone, from consumer to corporations, could be more discerning in their purchases.

Think about it the next time your supplier picks you up in his chauffeur driven car, takes you to his penthouse office overlooking the sea, before taking you to a sumptuous seafood dinner at his private club!


At 6:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It pretty much covers Replica related stuff.


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