Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thank you for ripping me off..


Okay, let's face it - nobody likes to be ripped off. Way I see it, we are paying way too much for retail items in Malaysia. Generally, its due to our low
currency, freight charges and tax.As a matter of fact, we are paying way too much tax. If it is put to good use, I am for it, but time and again,
taxpayer's fund are being used for the wrong reasons. Bailouts, putting money into corrupt politician's wallets, bla-bla-bla and so on. The reality check here is that
I live in the third world and there's no two ways about it.On a smaller scale, I think we are paying too much for stuff that are actually cheap. Take for instance the
cellphone: An apple iphone in the US sells at USD$199. But read the fine print. You only get it when you
subscribe to a service provider.Here in KL, we pay RM3K for an iphone. It makes no sense. In a way stupid. Call it bragging rights if you
want to, but I think its ridiculous to spend that much on a phone. But if it can mow the lawn, scoop doggy
poop, iron my crumpled and wrinkled shirts, cook me a meal - it's a deal.Similarly with knives, as a knife collector, I think the consumer is paying way too much. Malaysia in a way,
is a closed market.The importers and dealers dictate what we need. They couldn't give a rat's ass on what we want. I learned
this the hard way.When I started buying knives to use, the market was flooded with factory knives. Not that it's bad. Its basic
and if you do your homework, some knives yield great value for money.Brands like BUCK, Gerber and Puma (Solingen, Germany) had made their mark here in the 60s. Now,
many new brands have entered the Malaysian market such as Cold Steal, Spyderco, SOG, Kershaw and
so on.But I find the trend disturbing. Take for instance the Spyderco Endura - which is the company's flagship
knife - this sells for RM300 a piece.In the US, it retails at about USD$45 at on-line stores (cheaper due to low overheads). When you throw in
the exchange rate, its roughly about RM162. Add in freight charges, it will round up to RM200 a piece.The dealers make more because what I mentioned, was retail price. They get quantity discount. And as a
customer, I don't want a free lecture in economics.When I enter a dealer's store, all I want to know - is whether the product is available or not. I don't want to
hear problems like cost and overheads. A lousy businessman does that.Which brings to the subject of getting ripped off. I know this couple who runs a hardware shop in Petaling
Jaya. They've been at it for nearly three decades.They survived because they rip off the unsuspecting. Now, a recent visit to the outlet showed that many of
their stuff there are sold at inflated prices.Take for instance the Zero Tolerance 0301 knife. It retails at about USD$285 (roughly at RM1026.00). This
retailer slapped it with a price tag of RM1950.00.When I saw it, my eyeballs popped out of its socket. "Expensive ah?", the dealer asked. "You are mad!", I
said. For that price, I can get a custom knife. Period. I guess the part that is lacking here, is education. I had my
ZT for two years and the guy is just starting to sell it here.Having spoken to the dealer many times, I know for a fact that many unsuspecting customers - especially
those who are new to collecting knives - have been duped into paying such an exhorbitant price.That's not surprising because his clientele are ranging from VIPs to VVIPs who has a 'by appointment only'
list. I guess when you see this happening right before your eyes, there is no doubt the rich get what they
want and more when they fuck the poor.That said, I know the true value of things and for many years, I have shied away from stores. I visit them
occassionally for my own entertainment. And when it comes to the rich, I don't pity them when they hid the skid row because when they indulge in all
the pleasures in life by fucking other folks for their own gain, we have to work five times harder to get what
we want.My only saving grace is that I have no guilt because what I own is rightfully mine...
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