Tuesday, July 11, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 12:09 pm

Further to my shopping exercise for a Digital Camera, I came to realise that I tend to judge the honesty of retailers based on their quoted price. Permit me to illustrate.

I went to Haniffa Textiles in Jalan Masjid India and saw the Nikon Coolpix L4 being sold at RM553.00 (I'm trying my best to remember the exact pricing and I think it is around that region). Haniffa Textiles' pricing is fixed and so, that becomes my reference point.

I then went to Shop A. The Nikon Coolpix L4 was on the shelf with a price tag of RM699.00. The shopkeeper asked me if I was interested in a digital camera of which I answered yes.

Shopkeeper A : Which camera you want?
Me : How much are you selling the L4?

Shopkeeper A : (With a "can't you see the price tag" look) RM699.00.
Me : Wah! So expensive ar?

Shopkeeper A : No lah...it's not expensive what.
Me : Another shop is selling below RM600.00.

Shopkeeper A : How much they selling?
Me : RM558.00

Shopkeeper A : Sure or not? How to sell at that price?
Me : No kidding. Haniffa Textiles down the road selling at that price. You can check it out yourself.

Shopkeeper A : Aiya! They are not selling camera to make profit. The put that kind of pricing to attract customer and make money on other merchandise one.
Me : (Talking to him in my mind : Hallo! So what? The fact remains that they can sell at that price!) You think they are selling fake goods?

Shopkeeper A : No lar. The goods are genuine but they sell dirt cheap to attract customers.
Me : (Yah, it attracts me!) Like that I might as well get from them. So much savings.

Shopkeeper A : How much you say they selling? I give you their price lah. No problem.
Me : (Now you are talking! Sell at a loss to me?) RM558.00.

Shopkeeper A : (Takes out calculator and presses the figure 580). I match their price RM580.00.
Me : (Oi! I told you RM558.00. You want to fleece me again ar?) You accept credit card or not?

Shopkeeper A : Credit card ar? Aiyah...got accept but have to increase a bit lah. Commission 4%. So that makes it RM603.20. Best price RM600.00 lah.
Me : Haniffa accepts credit card without questions. (I was not interested liao). So, your best price is RM600.00 ar? Okaylah, give me time to think. Thanks. (Walks off) (No "thank you" from shopkeeper)

Off I went to another big photography equipment shop. Let's call this shop as Shop B. Salesgirl greets good afternoon and asked if I needed help. I said I'm browsing. She tags along. I then stared at the Nikon Coolpix L4. No price tag.

Shopkeeper B : Mister, which camera are you interested?
Me : How much is that L4?

Shopkeeper B : (Takes out calculator and punches figure 699). This sir.
Me : Okay. Thanks. (Proceed to browse the other models)

Shopkeeper B : How is it sir? You want to have a look at the camera?
Me : No thanks. I have tried it and am currently looking for the best deal.

Shopkeeper B : What's the price you have in mind?
Me : A shop down the road can sell for RM558.00.

Shopkeeper B : (Incredulous look) Har? RM558.00 only ar?
Me : Yep.

Shopkeeper B : (Punches some figure into calculator). It's cash terms, right? If cash term, we can consider that.
Me : Nope. Can pay by credit card.

Shopkeeper B : Can you wait a moment sir? I check for you. (Proceeds to check with another colleague. Both furiously punching the calculator). Sir, we would have to add 4% if you want to use card. But why don't you pay by cash? We can match the price.
Me : Thanks. Let me browse first. (Leaves shop)

As you can see from the above, few things are noticeable:-

1. They don't give you their lowest price and will take the opportunity to make a "killing" on the sales if you do not haggle with them.

2. They do not honour the credit card merchant agreement (i.e. not to pass the commission payable to the consumer).

3. They don't bid you "thank you" for visiting or "please come again" if you don't buy from them. Even if you do buy, I wonder if they will do. It reinforces the Reader's Digest survey about KLites being rude.

4. They will claim that the other "cheaper" price is ridiculous / impossible but will gladly offer you that so-called ridiculous / impossible price if you insist on it.

Based on 1 - 4 above, I would not want to step into those shops again. Can't trust them.

I also notice that it is Malaysian culture to have price tags which do not mean anything but just senseless figures. In most shops anyway. Of course, some shops are well-known to be fixed-price shop and it gives the consumer no headache in considering whether to buy from them. You either take it at that price or not. Simple.