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Colombian economics

by Alex on Oct.10, 2010, under Blog

Economies of scale, supply and demand – I used to consider these laws reasonably universal. I do remember years ago in Chepstow Market shaking my head at a sign declaring something like ‘t-shirts: 1-£2, 3-£6, 5-£10′. It gets much better than that here…

economies-of-scale-1

A box of 100 tea bags – $15,100 pesos, 2 boxes of 50 tea bags $14,320 pesos. Although counter-intuitive, it’s perfectly usual here to find larger quantities of stuff costing more per unit that smaller quantities, always worth checking the prices carefully.

I little while ago we were outside a Crystal Castles gig looking for tickets. We knew there were plenty of tickets on the door and with the number of ticket touts around, you’d imagine you’d have been able to find a bargain. Imagine again:

Me: Hello mate, how much for a ticket
Tout: $110,000
Me: They are only $90,000 on the door
Tout: There are no tickets left on the door
Clearly I did not believe this but checked anyway
Me: I’ve just asked, they do have tickets on the door, for $90,000
Tout: OK then, $100,000
Me: Why would I pay you 100 when I can pay 90 on the door, you need to sell them for less than they cost on the door
Tout: 100
I walk away, familiarly bemused

One day on bed street – a street with about 30 bed shops selling pretty much the same stuff:

Me: Hello mate, I have a price of 420,000 pesos for that bed and I’m going in to every shop looking for the best price I can get, can you do better than 420,000?
Shop bloke: I can do it for 450,000
Me: Ok, well I’ll keep looking to see if anyone can beat 420,000
Shop bloke: 430,000 if you buy it now
Me: I’ve just told you that I can get it for 420,000, why would I pay you more for the same thing…

This does tie in nicely with many sales experiences one suffers here, my best so far being when I went shopping for a shower head, not knowing the word for shower head:

Me: Hi there, I’m looking for the shower thing that goes at the end of the tube that comes out of the wall in the shower. I DO NOT need an electric one, we have gas heating so we have hot water coming out of the tube. I just need the plastic thing that spreads the ALREADY HOT WATER out
Shop bloke: Here you go (handing over an electric shower head)
Me: I just told you that I do not need an electric one. We have hot water, I just need the thing that goes at the end of the tube
The shop bloke then comes back with what looks like a wooden pear with electric windings around it supplied by a long electric cable. I guessed it was a heating element that you could throw into a large pot of water
Me trying not to go mental: What is that, that’s got nothing to do with a shower AND it’s clearly an electical appliance. What has that got to do with what I asked you for?
Shop bloke looks utterly bewildered and a little hurt
I walk away, familiarly bemused

:,

4 Comments for this entry

  • abbey

    man i don’t know what’s more disturbing: the kind of logic that goes behind their prices, OR the fact that you were considering paying into a CC gig. SIGH… ;)

    • Alex

      Ha ha, take it you’re not a fan! I’d not heard of them before, my mate played me a bit of their stuff an I found it pretty cool. We weren’t going to pay that much and ended up in a reggae club. Sad thing is that at a recent gig in the UK entrance was £15, $90,000 (pesos) is more than twice that and the minimum wage here is about $250 US a month!

  • DJC

    Crystal Castles still owe me £150. FACT.

    • Alex

      Should have let me know, I could have had a word… They might have paid sharpish upon my sharing of the knowledge that (apparently) you can get someone whacked here for $50,000, that is £17.57 or there abouts, which is a little scary…

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