Monday, April 25, 2016

Pssst, buddy. Want a great deal? Huh?

I get tickled every time I see a certain home improvement referral service advertised on TV.  They tout how they do all the vetting for you and can without hesitation say their select tradesmen are the best...AND THEIR REFERRAL SERVICE IS ALWAYS FREE!  

Free, huh?  So who is paying for all those TV ads that air every 10 minutes?

Here's the truth:  In virtually* every transaction, only ONE participant is paying money....the buyer.  The seller is receiving money.  No doubt the service provider is paying the referral service a fee, which is rolled into the price they are quoting you.  YOU are paying for the referral service, I don't care what the ad says.  It is NOT free!

The same for an electric service provider in my area who advertises "free night and weekend electricity" for people who sign up for this special program.  My advice:  Quietly back yourself into a corner and hold on to your wallet.  They just coincidentally fail to mention that the per-kilowat-hour-price for the hours they DO charge for is twice as high as their normal rate.

How about the furniture company who says if you buy this weekend they will pay your sales tax!  Sweet, huh?  And people no doubt camp out all night in order to be the first in line to get cheap furniture while the retailer PAYS the sales tax for them.

Remember, only one party in a transaction is PAYING....the buyer.  Anything the seller is "giving" you for free or "paying for" on your behalf is figured back into the deal as a "cost of doing business", just like rent and insurance and payroll.

I have a challenge for medical science:  Will someone please look into this phenomenon and figure out what happened to our common sense gene?  I'm pretty sure we all used to have one, but for some reason most of us have lost ours.

*  The exception to the "only the buyer pays in a transaction" statement is a true distress sale, and they are rare.  The perpetual "going out of business" sale does not qualify.



  1. So many gimmicks to navigate when it comes to making purchases. I actually enjoy negotiating and striking a good deal.

  2. A deal that sounds too good to be true probably is.

  3. I love when a salesman offers a free estimate. I say "Great, but I charge a small fee if I think the estimate is too high."

  4. I got some good cheap slippers when K-Mart went out of business (for real) in our town.

  5. Same thing with the rebate scams. They are relying on the fact that most people don't take the time or effort to send in the rebate. Menard's is especially good at the scam when they offer a mail in rebate... only good as a store credit. No Menard's... I don't want to come back. Just give me the the discount right away.

  6. We keep getting calls from an energy provider offering us a cheaper locked in rate for a year. But then what happens at the end of the year? Since I feel like our energy bill is relatively low I am NOT interested in rocking the boat!

  7. I don't get it when people get excited over the store saying, "We pay your sales tax!" Don't they get it that this means a savings of 7 or maybe 8 percent? I don't consider anything under 25% off a good sale. And what really ticks me off are those sales when you have to buy one item at full price and get the second one at 50% off. What if I don't want/need two?

    And then there are those sales for which you need one of those loyalty cards. I get that...but then they have other special deals only when you give them your email address. But wait...there's more! If you have their app on your smart phone, you'll get an even better price. And if you go to their website and set up an account and print out their coupon, you'll get a real deal!

    I've refused to buy stuff because of shenanigans like that.

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