Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A $60.00 Value for Just $19.99

How often have you heard a similar statement? This one came from a commercial for a Stick Up Bulb. Apparently they expect you to believe that they're selling a $60 product (or package of products, usually) for a third of its value.

I call cattle-excrement. If they're selling these battery-powered, portable light fixtures for $19.99, they're worth no more than $19.99. They can claim any value they like, I suppose, but the true value of something is what a buyer will pay for it, and they obviously don't expect anyone to really pay $60 for their package of two "Stick Up Bulb" light fixtures and one credit-card-sized, limited-use reading light. If they did, they'd be charging $60, not $19.99 (plus tax and shipping).

The makers of the "Stick Up Bulb" are hardly the only salesmen to use this tactic, of course. They're just the one that caught my eye when I felt the need to write an article for this week's Skeptic Circle.

Does anyone really fall for that ridiculous advertising ploy?


Anonymous said...

Does anyone fall for that? Sure. I remember being impressed by such claims when I was six years old or so.

EoR said...

Well, it works for printer manufacturers. Sell the printer at a loss, and make heaps of money for the rest of time selling overpriced printer cartridges and other consumables. Of course, if the only product you're selling is the "amazing value" one that you're generously almost giving away, that's a pretty good sign of a reeking scam.

Bronze Dog said...

I remember a story that made it into a Dilbert Newsletter: Guy was trying to sell boat and a trailer or something. After advertising it in the local paper for a price, he got no calls.

He changed the ad: Selling the boat for the same price and "will throw in the trailer for free."

It sold the next day.

L>T said...

acually it's prob. worth 1.99.
I'll bet it has a money back gaurinty(?) & will only cost you 12.00 shipping & handling to send it back. Of course after you add the value of your time to package it up & the trip to the post office & the waiting in line... no matter what you've been screwed.

CoffeeJedi said...

I like e-harmony, the dating service. You get a free dating profile when you sign up. As far as I know, they've never charged for it. But in the ad, they say "A 50 dollar value, free!" The last time I saw the ad, i believe the value was up to 60 dollars. They could say "12 billion dollar value, free!" and it would be just as valid.