What Pisses Me Off: Shopping

There are a lot of things that annoy me about going to the shops, even though I actually enjoy shopping with the wife (sorry to you blokes who hate the sport, but I found it was easier to give in, go along with, and extract whatever pleasure I could from the experience). The goods on sale are usually up to a reasonable standard, most sales assistants try to be helpful, and there’s always the fun of meeting up, by chance, with friends. Then the shopping trip often blossoms into at least a coffee, or at best a nice lunch in the nearest bistro.

But there’s no doubt about it, some things do annoy me intensely. For instance, the tendency of shop-keepers to put impossible prices on their goods. You know the type of thing, a pair of shoes at $98.99, or a holiday in Tahiti for $ 1,299.99.

In my opinion, if the shop can’t possibly sell the goods to you at the marked price they should have two options.

1) Round the price DOWN to the nearest available coin value (so the shoes above would be sold at $98.95).

Or 2) quote the REAL price on the sales ticket, namely, in the case of the shoes $99.00.

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Let’s face it; we all know that the oldest sales ticket scam is being used to make the goods appear cheaper than they actually are. Again in the case of the shoes, you see the $98.99 price tag and your brain sub-consciously sees $98, completely ignoring the other dollar (less one cent).

To me, that’s shonky salesmanship.

Another annoying trick of the trade is to put the milk and the bread right at the back of the supermarket, so that the housewife (or bloke), has to traverse everything else in the store to get to the one quick item he or she came in for. It’s a trick that very often works, obviously, or else the supermarkets wouldn’t keep doing it.

They pull the same stunt with Paracetamol or aspirin tablets too. They’re always placed right next to all the beauty products in the hope that the little lady will come in with a headache and go out with a lipstick as well.

You can’t escape on the Internet either. How many ads are there offering perhaps a steam-mop for ‘cleaning’ hard floors?

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They use two tricks to catch you here, first they tell you what the price is, for instance $55.99 (i’ve even slipped that problem from above here, just for fun).

Then they say “and if you buy one, we’ll send you another one as well, completely free of charge.” That says to me, loud and clear, that the product is worth, at most, half the price you’re being asked to pay for it. The other misleading point they proudly mention is that the steamer is fully guaranteed for three months. Now that is just downright dishonest because the law clearly states that goods must be warranted for at least one year from the date of purchase. Even flimsy goods like underwear, etc., are supposed to be able to stand up to one year’s use!

My final gripe (for now), is regarding the way the telephone companies present us with highly complicated and virtually impossible to understand contracts and terms. When we want to find the best deal for a new iPhone and/or laptop and/or t-box and/or broadband and/or ADSL set-up, there are more twists and turns than a corkscrew involved here. You’re a lucky person if you come out at the end of your negotiations with just the deal you wanted or just the products you wanted. Why, oh why, can’t they just keep things simple?

Well I suppose I’ve already answered my own question really. Obviously the idea is to confuse us, so we don’t really know what we’ve finished up with. Admittedly, we do live in a wonderful age at the moment (if we don’t all kill each other off because of going’s on in the middle-east). We have technology that can do almost literally anything for us. We have world travel which is simple and quick (especially in Australia), we have food of a quality and freshness that could only be dreamed about until now, and we all work reasonable hours. All of this, combined with the fact that we have time to enjoy ourselves with our families, doing any one of a thousand pastimes, makes this a wonderful time to be alive indeed.

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However, you will always get the bloke, or even the organisation, that wants to bend the rules to their advantage.

We just have to be very careful these days.

Keep your eyes and ears open!


Do you agree with Brian? Does shopping piss you off? Share your pain (or pleasure!) below!