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Just Some Cheap Thoughts

I was at a industry get together the other week and got talking to a brand owner whose brand and design I have seen and admired. This is how the conversation went...


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Brand Owner - We should get some prices off of you.

Me – That would be great but why do you want to move from your current supplier

Brand Owner – We don’t they are pretty good but you might be cheaper

Me – That is a complex label, and you have a good relationship, my advice would be to not move, to me or anyone else.

Brand Owner – (stares at me for a few seconds) Aha, I see what you are doing. Reverse psychology. Very clever, but you don’t fool me.

Me - ………………………………… Great meeting you, might catch up with you later!

This set me thinking about the mindset of cheapness and I came to reflect that cheap is like a progression through Dante’s Nine Levels of Hell.

Here are my 9 levels of cheapness.

  1. We start off in Limbo – Not having the wit or imagination to add value we go for cheap. And so the descent has begun.
  2. Lust – Having found some poor soul who will play our cynical and foolish game we want for more and hunt out others who will further satisfy our lascivious desires for ever cheaper. You find yourself buying your pants at car boot sales and telling the stall holder “the bloke at the top of the hill is doing 3 for a pound!”
  3. Gluttony – We start to look for cheaper everywhere, even in the things we value most dearly to the point where we are prepared to undermine our own values in the relentless pursuit of cheap. Think, Wetherspoons All Day Breakfast
  4. Greed – Often driven by the other un-beings in this the fourth level of cheapness. We compete to be the chief cheapster. You have friends round for tea and proudly position your 5Kg box of broken biscuits (price ticket still attached) “help yourself, plenty more where they came from.”
  5. Anger – The insatiable desire for cheapness drives us to rage at the expense of the world and we make even worse decisions. How angry can a pair of 1 size too small plastic brogues make you? It’s OK they were cheap!
  6. Heresy – Now the lying to yourself starts. The pound shop own brand soap is meant to remove slabs of skin, “its part of the exfoliating process!”
  7. Violence – You are getting physical, you deliberately tear the seam of the new suit that you wore to your second cousins third marriage. All so you can smugly march down to M&S and tell them what you think of their quality and demand your money back.
  8. Fraud – See above
  9. Treachery – The lowest form of cheapness. The person who leaves after the 3rd drink in a four-drink round. The collection plate that you grandly top up with 3 twopence pieces, while lifting a fiver. You have finally fallen through all the levels of cheapness and can not even recognise the error of your ways or where it all began.

So will I be cheaper, well actually yes, I might be. If my offering is unique enough to meet your requirements then I could possibly be a bit cheaper but should you be looking for cheap? No, we all know that we should be hunting down VALUE. Value is virtuous and good and delivers something to all parties. Suppliers should supply it and customers should seek it out and when you find it, you should stick like glue to it.