Sunday, September 7, 2008

"We don't give out our prices"

Let's imagine this scenario:

One day, you're shopping at Best Buy and an nice desktop catch your attention. You like it pretty much but you can't find any price tag on it. So, you ask a nearby salesman how much it costs.

"It's only $750 sir. If you want a wide-screen 20" monitor it's going to be $100 more. You can also add $50 to get this nice Epson printer. Of course, this set of wireless keyboard and mouse from Logitech is yours if you're willing to pay just $40 more. It's a very good deal!"

Hmmm, sounds like a lot of optional accessories. You think that it's probably wiser to find out how much Amazon and Walmart are selling them.

"Would you give me a price sheet with the costs of all those optional accessories?"

"No. We don't give out our prices."

"What?? But you just told me about them!" You exclaim.

"Yes but we don't give those out on paper."

"..........."




How will you feel about that?




I don't know about you, but for me, I'll immediately feel that a scam is going on. How can I not feel like that if you have something to hide?

No kidding, I just personally experienced this last week. Not at Best Buy though (they'll be dead if they've such a practice). This happened in a Chinese dentist's office; I asked them for a price sheet of their services and they refused. It was as if they were so afraid that I'd compare their prices with the ones of other dentists (which was what I was going to do).

The Internet, especially Wikipedia, has forever narrowed the gap between experts and laymen. Much of the knowledge (such as public companies' financial data) that's not easily accessible 20 years ago can be brought to your fingertips within seconds by Google.

The funny thing is that many industries (dentistry in this case) still don't realize this fact (or, they realize it, but choose to deny it and continue dreaming) and think that they can overcharge you by keeping their knowledge and prices secret. This is not only unethical but also stupid.

Come on, we live in a capitalist country. No matter what business you want to do, competition is inevitable. I can't find an accurate word to describe how naive it is to try to avoid competition, and, very ironically, this is practiced by some so-called highly educated people like dentists.

Hammer said that

"中國人做生意,大慨都以為講良心是白痴﹗"

which translate to

"Chinese think that it's stupid to be conscientious in the business world."

Alright, if you'd like to cheat your customers, no problem, be damn smart at doing it so that no one in the world can discover it. Otherwise, you really are very stupid when you got caught by normal people like me because your tricks are just too obvious.

Trust me, even you just care about your own benefits, it's much easier to do business with honesty and transparency than cheating customers. Why not spend time on thinking on how you can improve your services/products instead of trying to design the next new trick to cheat people? (~__~ )