Tyre Kharido, Car Free :)

“Tyre Kharido, Car Free” (Buy one Tyre, Car is Free)!

Sounds funny? Might be, but believe me, it is true !!.

Couple of months back I came across with this advertisement in a national daily. Was curious to know the deal, on a close look found an * mark with conditions apply. And you can imagine the “condition”... the usual ones… “On purchase of so many tyres, your chance to win a car doubles up and blah blah…”. Quite usual advertisements in print media or in electronic media. Not unusual these days !

The interesting part is the “conditions apply”Β  – in almost zero font size :); quite similar to the statutory warnings on Cigarette Packs. Not only that, the price of the selling items are hiked considerably in general, which go un-noticed by the customers as the attention gets diverted to the free tag. One should be very careful while going for these kind of deals and should understand the Conditions carefully. Else…. But unfortunately the conditions are never explained properly in the advertisements.

On a similar note, I came across with another advertisement “Cooler Kharido, Refrigerator Free” (buy a cooler and get a free refrigerator); during the hot summer days of Delhi. Was fascinated by the advertisement at that time. Next morning I went to that shop (spend some 4 hours to locate the shop and Rs 200/- by auto) to get the air cooler and a refrigerator. But, to my surprise the Air Cooler which normally costs Rs 3000/- in the market, was labelled with Rs 6500/- and the free refrigerator was of no use for me as it was very small. Came back home on a sad note 😦 . I should have understood the conditions applied well before spending my time and money.

On a slightly different note, every one of us have experienced the famous “Buy one and Get one Free” deals in malls, in cinema halls or in eating joints like Pizza-Huts, Dominos or McDonalds etc. These tag lines are to lure the customers to and to sell more. Customers buy more and spend more — it does not matter whether the need of the free item as well as the first item is there or not!

The tag line “Buy one and Get one Free” is just another marking concept and a sales promotion method for shops, companies and dealers. Companies/dealers usually adopt this method to clear the stock or to quickly reach the market. One should not get lured by the word FREE, instead should realize Nothing is Free, some thing or other has to be paid to get that which appears to be Free.

Selling something and giving something free is becoming a regular marketing concept; either buy one get one free (of the same or different item) or “buy two get one free” or “buy this get that free”, are free flowing tag lines now a days. Be it “buy one and get one free” or “buy this get that free”, these lines are usually profitable to the company and can be profitable to the customers if they buy the items judiciously. It is profitable for the shop/company in the sense that, shops usually hike the price of the first item to a certain extent (off course not by 100% !!), such that the price of the free item is covered to some extent. They earn profit from the huge amount of sales due to the promotional offer.

The customers too can make the deal profitable, only if there is a need to buy the items both first and the free item. Else, the customer will end up paying more not only for the first item, will waste the second item (happens mostly in food items). Being aware of the cost of the individual items definitely help the customers to decide, whether to go for the deal or not.

Saying that, let me narrate some of my experiences on the free purchases….

Recently, I went for a magazine deal and ended up paying Rs 1500/- for 3 years subscription, which was almost 50% of the regular price. Yes, it was profitable to me in one sense that I saved 50% on the price, not only that I also got a pair of shoes FREE πŸ™‚ . But, when critically analysed, I realized that, it was not at all profitable to me. Because, neither I’m a fan of that magazine and nor I need a pair of shoes at this point of time. Not only that, the same magazine is also available for reading in my Hostel/Office for free.

So, what do you say? Profit or loss for me? But, it is definitely a profitable deal for the publisher. Not only the publisher got some money as investment (by bulk number of 3 years of subscriptions), but also, it got some sure-shot number of readers or customers, which can be priced to the advertising agencies in their future issues as the magazine reaches out for wide circulation.

Same thing applies to free credit cards, where the joining fee is mostly waved (orΒ  pay the fee and get free vouchers), with a substantial 2nd year renewal fee (with or without free shopping vouchers). But, the question is why should we pay and then get a shopping voucher in return? Forcing the customer to buy some thing? and most important is to forcing the customer to visit a shopping mall for that? Interesting πŸ™‚

In another case, one of my friends bought a washing machine for Rs 14000/- using his credit card (as he was short of money at that time). The reason being, he got a free item of Rs 700/- (got a Coffee maker by the scratch card) and a discount of 2%! Yes, by doing that the shop cleared the stock and sold many washing machines in a month’s time; naturally increased its total profit.

But, my poor friend, has a habit of forgetting paying the credit card dues in time — paid a fine of Rs 1500/- (including the interest and late fee) to the bank. Not only that, he never uses his coffee machine (as he does not drink tea/coffee). So for him, the deal was a total loss (which might be a profit for some one else!). He hardly realizes and repeats his mistakes again and again !!

Those are just some of the experiences; which every one of us have experienced in some or other context. So next time when you see “Buy one Get one Free” or “Tyre kharido, Car Free”… do not get fascinated, keep cool, think twice whether you really want to buy this and do you really need that free item or not… Else, you will end up with same stories…

Aamjunta … what do you think?

PS: A shortened version of this article was published in July 2008.

23 Responses

  1. This post reminds me of the “Buy One Get One” posters for Techfest (or was it MoodI) tee-shirts. I saw some people go to the counter and be startled when the people there told them that you buy one, and hence you get only one, just as the slogan says! πŸ˜‰

  2. may be u r possessive towards the marketing line, u r giving this type of information as joke…

  3. This is the way, the marketing system is. It is not a joke, truth is wrapped up in a lighter way. Thanks.

  4. so very true. The word ”Free” attracts people like a magnet. We can see few shopping malls they get flooded during the offer season. I have hardly seen any advantage of this offer, as you mentioned. but few times, I was lucky to get the offer for movie tickets with the same price, the really enjoyed the movies..lol

  5. Nothing is free in this world. One has to pay in some form or the other. By the way it is a very nice post, and of-course reader centric.

  6. In the same way the chit fund companies are also working. It is a marketing strategy, sell more and make more profit. So, what is “free” for us?

  7. We always fall prey to the word “Free”. Once I refused to give my details for a lucky draw in a shop since the gifts were not appealing and they glared at me as if I belonged to another planet.

  8. True dear friend. Everything is advertised as free, where actually nothing is free. Salute πŸ™‚

  9. The washing machine example is the most common example that we come across. Still people fail to realize

  10. We all are mad for free goods. Even the poison will not be spared, if that is given free πŸ™‚

    Just imagine how mad we are during election 😦 For a free country made liquor bottle or a free meal or a free ride, we vote for the most corrupt politicians of our era. That is not enough!! For almost free rice (1 rupee/kg) we are not farming our lands. Do not you think these are criminal offences? In the light of food security bill, I should bring one point for the readers – I am not against food security bill, but I am against the exploitation of the our hard earned money. If you want, give to the needy people, but not free, let them work, and earn. Best thing is generate job for all and that is the India we want.

  11. Very true, customers get carried away so easily, all marketing gimmick. So thanx for the post and reminding that better sense should prevail!

  12. Good analysis. I have lost a lot on these kinds of deals.

  13. This is what marketing is all about…if you can’t convince…confuse! The worst part being the latter act doesn’t involves much skills…it’s quite easy these days infact!

  14. excellent analysis and excellently written.

  15. haha! good one at the marketing gimmicks companies employ. I also find the 999, 1999 etc thing v funny. Also the timeshare presentations where they offer gift (often some cheap show piece) just to attend the presentation & when u go there, they are after ur life like leeches…uff!

  16. ‘In almost zero font’ – is so true. I am never lured by such deals. I buy clothes during off season. I buy vegetables from Mandi/Farmer’s market and the biggest thing is – I am a miser. πŸ˜›

    As pointed by you, we are lured by such print and end up getting into a less worthy deal.

    Btw, where was the article published earlier? And, congrats on that πŸ™‚

  17. AJ …Good, businessman ke pet par laat maarne ke liye…
    Any trader, seller, manufacturer, exporter or whatever, is certaily sitting for making money. Small return or big profit are the core of a business.

    Whatever is written on Neon Sign, Glowsign or Signs, in newpaper …what ever the offer say, whether 100% Discount …Book your Apartment and spend a weak in Zurich for free; Buy Lenevo 350 and get a stylish laptop case, made of genuine leather worth Rs. 3500, absolutly free …Ugggah dude (as im in leather manufacturing and exporting it …I have three leading companies whose orders of Bags, Wallets, Travel Bags are made by us. They dealt with us to supply leather article, and their negotiations, smtyms forced me to turn the deal down.
    Their 3500- rs. leather laptop case is being made at 215- Rs. Only, as we are asked not to use genuine leather. . . So, we use artificial leather which costs 105- Rs. Per Square meter… A guy buys Lenevo at 45000 and a case, glowing lyk precious leather case, makes his friends enquire about, and just to have expensive looking bags they buy lenevo. (wow, almost 35% profit), this is business field, company wil try to befool u.
    Yet, it is upto you to let them dupe u, or try to read 2pt. txt printed at the back manual, brochure etc. They use yellow, sky colour etc to write on white background.

    *Btw, AJ and Other, i have a question for u. That is, how would you make sure that the Bag or abc, mno, wallet you r buying is made of Genuine Leather? Just how do u identify Guniune Leather?
    Huh …Long comment.

  18. Very interesting topic. This kind of marketing antics are common in these consumerism driven world that we are increasingly getting into. The funny thing is that even though we all know about this, still we are unable to resist these tempting offers and fall into their trap. As you have correctly pointed out, there is no “Free Lunch” ever.

  19. Nice article AJ, liked it very much so shared in on my Google network hope you dont mind

  20. read this somewhere and remembered your post.

    “2 Girls Chatting”

    1st: Yesterday me n my bf went for a date. I knew today was the big night..
    2nd: Really? Wow. What happened next?..

    1st: He took me to his apartment. He kissed me gently and groped me from behind.
    2nd: Wowww… then?

    1st: Then he put his hand inside my skirt and caressed me down there.
    2nd: You are so lucky.. what next??

    1st: He then unbuttoned the first button of my new red top that I got from pantaloons the day before..
    2nd: U got a new top?..

    1st: Yes it was on sale. I even bought a jeans..
    2nd: Is the sale still on?..

    1st: Yes come let’s go shopping.. πŸ˜›

  21. Thanks Niranjang…

  22. Well-written postings. Keep writing.

  23. Good one!!! Ads have become vicious these days and you are not alone in facing such trick-marketing tactics. here is my analysis of how advertisements influence consumer behavior and how we can protect ourselves from those ads:


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