Marketing triumps..How Did They Ever Sell This??

I am constantly amazed by how sheeplike people can be…and the following (short) list of products is proof why. Economists always seem to think that people behave rationally…why this assumption is made is beyond me! Consider the following:
-BOTTLED WATER: in hundreds of double-blind taste tests, many American city tap waters have been found to taste better than expensive imported bottled water. In addition, many bottle waters have been found to be contaminated with bacteria and various heavy metals. So why to people pay $$ when they can get better water from the tap…for pennies?
-STRBCKS COFFEE: why people pay $3.00 for a cup of bitter, mediocre coffee is beyond me! Cheap trade brands cost less and taste better. And, they are raising their prices!
-HIGH-END STEREO Equipment: by the time you are old enough to affordit, your ears have deteriorated such that you can’t tell the difference between a $500 system and a $5000 system.
-DESIGNER CLOTHES: many are just ordinary clothes with a designer label. In addition some (like Armani) are actually poorly sewn and of low quality.
=Expensive Watches (>$500): are no more accurate than a $20 Timex. They also require cleaning,oiling, adjustment, etc.
-DEALER-Installed car radios: why are these things so expensive? You can buy a decnt aftermarket radio/CD for leass than $200.
-LIQUID LAWN CARE: A guy sprays $5.00 worth of chemicals on your lawn for $150…and the stuff washes away at the first rainstorm.
-DIAMONDS: whay do people buy the crap from DeBeers? Soon, excellent quality synthetic diamonds will be available…for 1/10th the price. Then De Beers will try to convince people that “diamonds WITH defects” are worth more! :eek:

“HIGH-END STEREO Equipment: by the time you are old enough to affordit, your ears have deteriorated such that you can’t tell the difference between a $500 system and a $5000 system.”

Work harder. It’s worth it. :slight_smile:
Well, maybe not $5000, but my stereo is about $2000, and it definitely sounds a lot better than an entry-level Sony kit.

With you on most other things, though. Especially dealer-installed car stereos. I always buy after-market ones, unless the car I’m buying already has a good set.

I pretty much agree with you, except the point regarding high-end stereo equipment.

For real high end equipment, I agree with you. However, a 5000 dollar setup is mid-level at best once you figure in the speakers, receiver, and CD player/turntable/etc. It’s the people who pay $25K+ for a system that makes my mind boggle. I don’t think they really need that spun silver speaker wire that costs over $100/foot, plus the 2000 dollar power conditioner.

Now that I think about it, professional lawn care does have it’s uses as well. They have access to more powerful insecticides than you can get off the shelf, so I use them for grub control.

Some people don’t have good tap water, or have well water and in those cases, the bottled water is a better choice. I buy bottled water every so often for the bottle. I like to be able to carry it around with me, and need something to carry it in. I don’t want to carry a Thermos or other wide-mouth container, because I don’t like drinking out of them; I prefer the smaller top of a bottle. Once the bottle gets dented and is about to break or crack, I buy a new one and refill it from my tap.

*We’ve been through this before. A plain old cup of coffee from Starbucks isn’t really $3. It’s about 1.20 for a small cup of coffee. The $3 cup is for fancy lattes and such that are full of chocolate or flavored syrups and whipped cream. As for “tasting better”? Taste is subjective. I happen to like Starbucks, but some people prefer a lighter or smoother coffee. I can definitely taste a big difference between Starbucks and Folger’s instant. I’m willing to pay more for better coffee.

*Not really. A good, high-quality watch doesn’t require any more maintenance than a cheapy watch. I have an Omega that retailed for $1,400 when I got it (I won it in a contest) and I’ve only replaced the battery twice in 13 years. It’s never needed any adjusting or oiling. I used to work in the service department of a high-end jewelry store and saw plenty of high-priced watches. When a cheap Timex broke, that was it. You had to throw it away and buy a new one. With a good-quality watch, it could be repaired and will last a lifetime.

*Our lawn guy just came yesterday and the price was only $25, not $150. He comes 4 times a year, so we spend $100 a year on getting our lawn treated with chemicals that we don’t have access to. It soaks in right away, so it’s not washed away. The neighbors on both sides are overgrown with clover and dandelions and crabgrass and Bermuda grass. We tried treating it ourselves, but the crabgrass and Bermuda grass always came back.

The house I rented several years ago had well water - and it was really really bad well water. My dog wouldn’t drink it. Yes, we were buying THE DOG bottled water. We drank it too of course, but the point is, the tap water was undrinkable. Thank God for bottled water.

That must have been really, really bad water – last week we were down in the French Quarter with our dogs, and Isaac the yellow lab would drink the nasty horrid stuff from the gutters every chance he got. And yes, we provided them with decent water, and he drank it as well. I guess he must have a serious immune system, because he seems entirely unharmed by the gunk from the gutters!

We’re actually doing that this year. Not only has it killed off the Creeping Charlie that was taking over the lawn, but they have told us many times that rain and/or watering the lawn actually makes the treamtment MORE effective, not less.

The one that my husband and I go back and forth on is… aluminum foil. Why should I spend so much more money on Reynolds brand when the generic is the same damned thing?

Actually, they can be less accurate. Many high end watches are mechanical (hand wound) or automatice (self-winding) which are generally less accurate than quartz.

But I plan on buying a nice watch fairly soon. I’m attracted to the engineering of the watch. I fully realize that a quartz model is better for accuracy, but I’m drawn to other aspects of the watch.

I agree with you on Starbucks. It’s bad coffee, brewed way too strong. I always select the “Breakfast Blend” which is ostensibly a mild coffee, but even that is more bitter than most normal coffee.

As for expensive watches, it’s just jewelery. People wear them for the bling-bling factor.

Crikey, yes! I long ago stopped being impressed by high street clothing, usually poorly made and in some sweatshop in Rumania. The last time I was in one of the posh boutiques in Kensington, I was looking at some of the ‘one of a kind’ dresses that were poorly sewn (uneven hems, loose threads everywhere, cheap materials – I’ve seen dolls’ clothes of better quality!) I stick almost exclusively to second hand and charity shops – amazing things show up there, and sometimes I will buy name brands and high street designers, but I’d rather pay 5 quid than 500 quid for them!

What’s really silly is the recent fad to buy designer clothes that look like thrift store clothes. So you pay almost a hundred dollars to look like a slob?

This one can be highly subjective. I go for certain brands–even particular styles that those manufacturers make–of jeans because I know they will fit the way I like. Fit is important to me, they’re not just there to cover my legs.

As for more formal wear it seems like once in awhile someone does a reality check and they have a sale at more realistic prices. I just bought a pair of Barker shoes for $65 USD; I think that was like a 75% discount. They look good and they look like they’ll last a lifetime.

You have a point here. One of the ways of distinguishing mined emeralds, sapphires, or rubies from their synthetic counterparts is to detect irregularities in the stone. Sapphires will often have bands of lighter and darker color, generally along the length of an oval or oblong stone. Natural emeralds are rarely perfectly clear.

On the other hand, a natural diamond has a certain mystique to it, formed by titanic forces in the depths of the Earth. Only with a mined diamond can you truly demonstrate your feelings for the one you love…go out and buy diamonds…go out and buy diamonds…go out and buy diamonds…your eyelids are getting heavy…:smiley:

Can’t say I like crabgrass/Bermuda any better than other types, but really, what’s so bad about clover and dandelion?

I would add “weedless lawn” to the heavily-marketed things, to the point where sometimes you are forced to do so by your association! To me, nearly any weed looks better than a pristine lawn, which however, I would admit looks better than a mostly dirt or brown lawn.

Any discussion of why people do things which excludes aesthetics is worthless, and most of you are ignoring aesthetics. But if we’re going to ignore aesthetics, how about:

EXPENSIVE PAINTINGS: The Mona Lisa is worth millions, but I can buy a piece of artist’s canvas and my daughter can draw a picture of mommy on it, and it only costs me a couple of bucks!

So keep in mind that aesthetic concerns are very important to people. With that in mind, here’s my .02 on these:

Bottled water (and Starbucks below) comes in the category of convenience. I know bottled water is no better than what I get from my tap, and it’s a lot more money. So why do I buy it occasionally? Because I’m thirsty and I’m not near my tap. Because I want to carry some water with me. Because I’m away from home and don’t trust the local water supply. In some places, because the tap water tastes bad.

Again, it’s partly convenience. If my time is worth $30/hr, and it takes me 15 minutes to brew my own coffee, then I’m way ahead of the game if I just grab a Starbucks on my way to work. The time/value of money is an important factor here. Plus, some people genuinely like it more than other coffees.

Anyone who can’t tell the difference between a $500 stereo and a well-designed $5,000 stereo isn’t just getting old - they’re deaf. As you age, you do lose a little high frequency response. But great stereo systems are about a lot more than frequency response. There is dynamic range, lack of audible distortion, the ability to move large quantities of air from big speakers to give bass a visceral impact, lack of coloration, etc.

If you had limited your comments to exotic speaker wires, power cables, conditioners, and truly exotic components that cost tens of thousands of dollars, you’d have a better example. Because most of these make no audible difference. However, there is that aesthetic factor again - some of this equipment is beautiful. It makes a room look great. Rich woods, knobs and switches that have great tactile response, beautiful meters with precision-machines dials, etc.

Don’t know enough about this.

Fine watches are not just timepieces, they are engineering marvels and works of art. There are a few megabuck watches I lust after, even though I’m fully aware that my Timex ‘Expedition’ which I bought five years ago for $40 keeps better time and has more features. That’s not the point. Precision machining is a beautiful thing. It’s the same reason people buy BMWs over Fords. The BMW may actually be less reliable, but the leather will be finer, the switches will all have a very satisfying feel, the guages look like they could be in a museum of modern art, the gaps between the body panels are smaller, etc.

Convenience, service, integrated look with the rest of the dash. And you overestimate the difference in quality between the factory systems and the aftermarket stuff. I have a Mach stereo in my Escape. It was a $532 option. For that, I got seven speakers including a powered sub, a six-disc CD changer, and it’s all installed. There is no way I could install an aftermarket stereo for that money that would sound significantly better. And it would not match the decor of the rest of the vehicle. Hell, installation fees alone for a 7-speaker system would be half the price of the entire option.

However, I do plan over time to remove the inexpensive factory speakers and replace them with good aftermarket units myself. The head unit is fine.

We hired a service this year to prep our lawn for summer. It cost about $150. But they didn’t just spray liquid fertilizer - they cut the lawn, they used a power rake to remove the thatch, they used an aerator to aerate the soil, an edger to edge the lawn along the sidewalks, and THEN they fertilized. It took them a couple of hours with their specialized equipment. For me to do all that by hand would be two or three days of hard work. I got great value.

I don’t know about that. Diamonds are expensive because there haven’t been good alternatives, and because Debeers is a coercive monopoly. This is a case where the market truly broke down. But my prediction is that when the high-quality artificials really start to flood the market, prices WILL come down. Of course DeBeers will try to use marketing and coercive pressure to halt this - as we speak they are trying to have laws passed forcing artificial diamonds to be engraved as such. I hope they lose. If the diamonds are chemically and physically identical, they shouldn’t have to be labelled.

Water: I’ll pay $ 1.50 for a large diet Pepsi at Burger King just so I can have the big cupful ice to suck on for a an hour or so . Same principle for water. You’re buying the convenience, and it’s worth it to may people vs buying a bottle and filling, cleaning, and having to keep it with you to take back home vs being able to drink it and pitch it

Starbucks Coffee: Fresh Starbucks is not bad coffee. Same principle as bottled water. It’s tasty and convenient.

Stereo Equipment: You do get value with better stereo equipment up to about 5000 for an entire system) . Beyond that it's a marginal improvement for most people. I'm 46 and have no trouble telling the difference between a 500 and a $ 5000 rig. You may need to see an Audiologist if you cannot.

Expensive Watches- Sigh… it’s like trying to explain the Mona Lisa to a blind man. Truly fine mechanical watches (and I do not include Rolex in this category) are so intricate and beautifully made in their craft and quality, they are are virtual works of engineering artisty.

You either get it or you don’t, and I will freely admit there are some things I don’t “get” valuewise. Longaberger basket prices completely stump me.

I agree with everything the OP said.

For bottled water, I got a water bottle and use a Brita filter. Convenient and cheap. Win-win.

I too hope the evil deBeers attempt to force all new diamonds to be engraved fails. Diamonds have far too many cool future uses to let this turd of a company determine their price for one moment more, and I hope that diamonds become as cheap as possible in the future to facilitate this development. I personally can’t wait for unbreakable, impossible to overheat microchips, sunglasses, windows, etc. etc. etc.

How about New-Agey stuff like power crystals and homeopathic remedies? Diluting a poison 1000-fold to create the antidote?

This is the fraud category. People making claims that aren’t true, and profiting from them. Other examples are psychic hotlines, tarot readers, magnetic bracelets, copper bracelets, some self-help gurus, and the aforementioned high-cost speaker wires.

Some people are simply uneducated and preyed upon. Caveat Emptor.

Heh - I guess here in America our Honduran child-laborers are better than your Romanian ones! hehehehehehe

Namebrand sunglasses: Is a $300 dollar pair so much better than the $12 pair I bought in the mall? Hell, is my $12 pair any better than the $1 pair I could have bought at the dollar store? A little more durable and stylish, but other than that methinks not.