Even I don't always agree with my opinion


Caveat Emptor – There’s A Sucker Born Every Minute

Posted June 23, 2009 by jim young in Business

– jim young

“Caveat Emptor” is Latin for “Let the buyer beware.”

And while every buyer should use due diligence in making a purchase, our society has wisely decided that a degree of onus should also be on the seller to insure that he doesn’t misrepresent his products.

On the other hand, as P.T. Barnum of Barnum & Bailey Circus once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

I’m not suggesting that anyone knowingly take advantage of a prospective customer – but gee – some people just seem to ask for it.

My first wife never ceased to amaze me in her method at arriving at her purchasing decisions.

Back in the 70s Yogurt was a big seller in Health Food Stores.

One day we were out shopping at a chain grocery store when she spotted some “Yogurt Candy”.

Immediately my ex’s justification for purchasing “Yogurt Candy” was “It must be good for you.”

Despite my suggestion that while “Yogurt Candy” might not be as bad for you as other candy, it didn’t necessarily follow that “Yogurt Candy” was actually good for you.

She would hear no part of it.

Even more frustrating was her decision making on sale items.

I agree that brand names are worth the extra money on some items. For example we would always spend the extra money for Heinz Ketchup over Loblaws or even Aylmer Ketchup.

But for something like canned corn – we were content with the IGA brand at 39 cents a can over the Green Giant corn at 59 cents a can.

But when Green Giant corn came on sale at 49 cents a can, my ex would fill the shopping cart with the sale item justifying that she was being a prudent shopper by saving 10 cents a can on Green Giant corn. In reality she was actually spending 10 cents a can MORE than our usual brand.

How can you argue with that kind of logic?

But it wasn’t just my ex that drove me nuts with this kind of thinking.

When I worked in my father’s IGA in Stroud, we sold Hot Dog Buns in packages of 8.

We sold wieners in packages of 8 and packages of 12.

On occasion the packages of 12 came on sale for less than the packages of 8. (Not just less per wiener – less per package.)

Customers would pay the extra money to purchase a package of 8 wieners because it matched the package of 8 buns.

I would sometimes suggest to a customer that they could purchase a package of 12 wieners and give 4 of them to their dog and still save money. (Not to mention the extra savings on a bit of dog food.)

A customer might counter with the fact that they didn’t have a dog.

So I would suggest they throw 4 wieners away and still save money.

But that would be wasteful.

By the time I suggested they buy 2 packs of 12 wieners at the sale price and 3 packs of 8 buns to end up with 24 of each – Even-Steven – and they would still save money, I was accused of trying to up sell them more than they needed.
Sometimes there’s just no helping people.

But the biggest con I was ever participated in at my Youngs IGA in Stroud, took place in the meat department.

Locals and tourists alike all loved dad’s butcher, Jerry Matton.

Even in the winter, the summer residents would often drive an hour from Toronto to Youngs IGA in Stroud just to buy their meat from Jerry.

Jerry’s personal service became an obsession with some.

There were more than a few that would come to Jerry and ask for something like a half-pound of sliced ham. While Jerry crafted his art by carving AAA grade meats into roasts and steaks, the simple work of slicing ham was my job.

But when one of Jerry’s fans saw Jerry turn the request over to me, they would insist that “Jerry” personally slice the ham for them.

Jerry would suggest they finish their shopping and he would have it ready when they came back. Once out of sight, I would slice the ham, package and price it and hand it over to Jerry.

When the customer returned Jerry would hand them their ham letting them think he had personally sliced and packaged it for them and they would leave as happy as a pig-in-shit.

How little did they know that their package would have contained just that – “pig-in-shit” had Jerry been so inclined as to let me have my way.

Sometimes, some people just deserve to be deceived.

– 30 –


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