Roger Harty: When Cheap Is Expensive

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I WAS in the company of a man recently and the conversation centred around the subject of value for money.

He said that he likes to visit Kenya on holidays and that the great thing about it is that he can buy cigarettes 5 times cheaper there than he could for the same price here.

To put this in numerical terms he can buy 1,000 cigarettes there for the price of 200 here.

He was delighted with the savings he was making and as I was enjoying his company I was delighted for him as well.

Now I am a great believer in the mottos ‘live and let live’ and ‘everyone to their own’ as I try to behave as non-judgemental as possible but something just didn’t sit right with me.

I asked myself the obvious question – ‘How much of a bargain was he really getting?’

Had he weighed up the long term effects that this so called value was having on his health and well-being. In simple terms was this great value going to come at a great cost?

Because I liked him the last thing I wanted to do was to preach to him so thankfully I had the foresight not to develop the subject, as something deep down in me told me that he already knew where I was coming from.

In everyday life, you and I are also victims of this ‘value teasing phenomenon’.

Look at the centre aisles of all our major supermarkets and fast food outlets. – How often do you see great value signs in big bright colours right in your eye line?

24 cans of soft drinks for the price of 12.

50 or 100% extra biscuits for the same price as a normal packet.

Buy one get one free for your favourite brand of chocolate.

Get free chips with an extra-large burger.

These highly trained merchandisers and marketers really know how to stimulate our senses and before we know it we have large quantities of these very same products in our trolleys or in our tummies.

Our brains are often sending conflicting messages

Should I have bought more of this great offer?

Perhaps I shouldn’t really have purchased these products at all – Offer or No Offer!!

On a personal note I am often in section ‘B’ but the ‘stuff’ is in the trolley and I am too lazy or reluctant to remove it.

There is a ‘little man’ inside my head saying “ah go on just this once” The marketers and merchandisers have succeeded if I proceed to the cash desk.

I suppose the purpose of this article is to create awareness of how we can all be victims of modern day shopping stimuli.

Quote; Action without awareness can be fatal, awareness without action is futile.

The solution after the awareness here has to lie in the area of self-discipline as to how I go about my shopping.

I ask myself the same question as I asked my friend (with the cigarettes) mentioned above.

Have I considered the effect of these products on my health and well-being? Remember, cheap can be expensive.

Next week I am going to write about — Not My Circus Not My Monkey

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