How to piss off your potential customers

Unspun‘s son has taken up football and today we trooped to the shopping mall to get the boy some football boots, shin guards and socks o that he can grow up, become a soccer star and finance Mr and Mrs Unspun into a comfortable retirement.

img00155-20090124-1122We were pretty excited when, strolling through Plaza Senayan, we saw huge red signs proclaiming Gong Xi Fat Cai (which is wrong because it should be Gong Xi Fa Cai in Mandarin or Gong Hei Fat Choy in Contonese but not a campur of the two) at Planet Sports. Better it proclaimed in large letters 50% off!

“Wow!” Unspun rejoiced, “I can still be my cheapskate self and deck the boy out in style. “Hello retirement.”

Until Unspun got a bit closer and saw the small print and that made his blood boil.

Below the LOUD 50% print was, “On second item“. the other small print also explained that you get 50% off only on the second item, whichever costs less then it is considered the second item.

“What the F$%%##@@!!” was Unspun‘s reaction to this.

Just do the maths. If, for instance you buy a pair of shoes for, say Rp 800,000 and you buy another pair for, say, another Rp800,000 (which is usually quite unlikely. You’d probably buy something less expensive). The you get 50% off the second pair which becomes Rp400,000. By doing this the store i efectively giving you only 25% discount while pushing the volume of its sales.

Unspun walked out of the store in disgust to seek other stores. Guess what?

The other stores also had the same ploy.

Unspun, ever out for the special discount, then went to the Sports Warehouse beside Djakarta Theatre. The place had a reputation for cheap sports wear.

And guess what?

The same Gong Xi Fat Choy 50% discount sign was there too. But what was most damning was that all the shoes there were of the same price as the ones in The Athlete’s Foot and Planet Sports.

Why? Because all of them are controlled by Mitra Adi Perkasa, that also controls Starbucks, Zara, Osh Kosh B Gosh, SOGoO, Debenehams, Nautica and heaven knows what else. They have a virtual monopoly on the market that you wonder why the KPPU hasn’t trained its sights on them.

Unspun is usually nonchalant about monopolies and business domination, but when these businesses begin to exhibit the type of behavior that comprises of taking the customer for a fool and giving no value back to them then it gets Unspun‘s goat up.

Why no value? Unspun, who has taken up swimming because bearing one’s weight on land is too troublesome during exercise, asked a shopkeeper about the different types of swimming goggles they had. They were all priced differently but they looked pretty much the same. The shopkeeper had absolutely no idea.

So in the runup to Chinese New Year Unspun is wishing MAP anything but a Xin Nian Kuai Le (Happy New Year in Mandarin) but an admonishment: “All this short termism will come back to bite you one day. Right now you are doing relatively well because there is no competition but keep treating your customers like thi and the day there is a choice they will abandon you with glee.”

Unspun will from now shop for sporting goods at the couple of independent shops near Block M and along Jl. Fatmawati, even if they cost a bit more than the MAP stores. If anyone else knows of any good non-MAP stores, please share.

The rest of you have a Xin Nian Kuai Le.

6 thoughts on “How to piss off your potential customers

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  1. almost every department store in Jakarta, do the same things. a week before lebaran day, they’ll increase their price around 20%. But then on Lebaran day, they bully their customers with discounts around 20%. So, their actually selling their items at the same prices, but customers bought their products as if the items was so cheap.


  2. (doh) hahaha. the last time I went to Zara, they were having all the cardigans sold at 199,900 from the real price of 499,000 and I was carefully searching for any sleazy footnotes or hidden disclaimer printed in tiny fonts on the poster. due to past experiences, I became too paranoid to believe that it was really discounted into 199,900. luckily, there were no terms & conditions whatsoever, and I ended up queuing at the cashier 😀


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