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jca's avatar

Have you ever received an offer, when, after doing the math, you see that they're not doing you any favors?

Asked by jca (29307 points ) June 9th, 2014

Today I called up to renew my subscription to The New Yorker. I love this magazine, because it’s got great writing, informative articles and funny cartoons.

It’s $69 per year for print and digital access.

They offered me an additional 12 weeks for $18. That sounds like a lovely offer till you do the math. 24 weeks = $36. 48 weeks = $72. It’s better to pay for a whole year @ $69 than do do 48 weeks for $72, yet someone who doesn’t do the math is going to say “wow, a little bonus! Let me go for it!”

I’m still scratching my head.

I told the girl on the phone to let the powers that be know that if they actually do the math, it’s not a great deal. She said she just had to offer it (in other words, it’s part of her job to say it).

Have you ever had that happen? A deal that’s not really a deal?

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11 Answers

DWW25921's avatar

Yes, it’s called marriage.

Seriously though, being a nerd I find that doing the math is always helpful. Grocery stores are good at this too. Tricky little buggers that they are, offer sales on items after raising the price and it’s sometimes cheaper to buy less than more… Some folks say you save money by buying in bulk, well that depends on where you go. I thought I was saving money by buying large jars of jelly but it seems 2 small jars was cheaper with more actual product.

Another example is pizza. There’s always a 2 for $5 deal going on. But what’s the products weight? Most freezer pizzas are about a pound. 2 for $5 is 2 pounds of food. Well, if there’s a one that’s 2 and a half pounds for $3.50 than isn’t it a better deal? As a fat guy, I notice these issues…

Don’t even get me started on doughnuts…

CWOTUS's avatar

Obviously, they know (some of) their readers. Probably the same readers who think single-payer health insurance “has got to be better” than a private, for-profit market, and that Social Security is one of the greatest programs in American history, and so forth.

Good for you for doing actual math.

Seek's avatar

You should hear some of the “counter-offers” my husband gets for his work.

“That sounds a little high, how about price?”

Uh huh. And after the tools, the travel, the amount of time it will take to do the job, the material cost, and the fee I pay to my helpers, I’ll be paying for the privilege of breaking my back for two weeks. How about fuck you?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Pretty much anytime retailers try to sell me a warranty.

dxs's avatar

BJs. I thought buying in bulk meant saving money, but there it’s just buying more for the same MSRP. Plus a membership fee.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Product A is 25$ and comes with a small prize. Product A is originally 15$.

Pretty much anything like that.

gondwanalon's avatar

Goldline company offered to sell me gold swiss francs at 69% over spot value. I checked other companies (like APMEX) that sell the same type of gold swiss francs for < 10% over spot. I asked the guy from Goldline why the high mark-up and was told that it is due to all of the support services like a guaranteed 1% under spot buy-back. I said that APMEX offers that and he suddenly told me that he could sell me the coins for 20% over spot. I said that I just want the gold not the services. HA!

johnpowell's avatar

This is intentional. I have worked in call centers that employed similar tactics. We were even instructed to slur weeks a bit and hope it was received as month. And don’t even get me started on how they encouraged us to chat up the elderly since the are lonely and will hand you a credit card for anything just to have someone to talk to.

cazzie's avatar

Car dealerships are the worst. They only want you to think about the monthly payment and not do the math. For some reason, in our supermarkets, the refill bags for cleaning products cost more than just getting a new one in a spray bottle.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

You an add student loans to that list

Seek's avatar

@johnpowell Oh, gods. When I was 16 I applied for a job that turned out to be telemarketing. They were all “Make sure you say you’re calling long distance, because then the old people will think the call is important!”

I think that job lasted 2.5 hours before I walked out in disgust.

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