February 21 2010

Stupid Deals

I have noticed a few stupid deals being offered of late.

The main two are by Budget Direct car insurance and Flight Centre.

Budget Direct is offering a deal where you receive $50 if they can not beat your present car insurance fees (as long as you are with RACV, AAMI or GIO). As the terms and conditions on their website states, “If Budget Direct cannot beat the renewal price as verified by the renewal documentation provided, you will be sent a cheque for $50.”

So how does this work? Does anyone ever get the money? When is it more financially sensible for them to go, “Gee, I don’t think we can on this occasion lower our fees to price match our competitor and consequently gain a customer that will give us thousands and thousands of dollars over many years. Bob! Write another cheque for fifty bucks!”

Flight Centre’s latest deal is even more ridiculous.

Picture this… Flight Centre has one price for a flight and you tell them of a cheaper flight that is being offered by another Australian airline. You have to show them written evidence of the cheaper flight and the consultant has to check and verify that is it actually a valid flight. Once all these criteria have been met, the consultant has a choice – either they beat the offer by $1, or they give you the flight for free!

That’s right! It either costs them charging you $1 less than their competitor or it costs them charging you $0. On what planet does anyone ever get a free flight out of Flight Centre?

Sure, you may say that the whole “fly for free” thing is just meant to be seen as not the point and that they’re really just saying, “we will always beat our competitors”. But as the above picture shows, they really push the FLY FREE as a genuine deal that could be taken by any customer.  On their website, there’s even a tab that simply states “Fly Free”.

Both of these deals are just ways of suckering you in to going with their business as they offer you something that it’s never in their interests to follow through with. They might as well say, “If we can’t beat our competitor, we’ll give you the entire store and pay all your bills for twenty years!” That would impress a lot of people, and maybe even get some suckers to walk through the door, but anyone with half a brain would see through the stupidity of the offer. But make it not a spectacular, like a free flight or a $50 cheque and people are blind to way they are being suckered in.

It’s like a deal that was being offered at a pub/bistro near my work. The Doutta Galla Hotel in Flemingtonhad a sign on every table stating that if, when you ordered your meal, they didn’t offer you garlic bread, you got the meal for free. They weren’t offering you garlic bread for free. They were asking you if you wanted to purchase garlic bread… At $4.90 a pop, mind you!

So basically they were trying to upsell you. Hoping that you will buy some garlic bread that you didn’t originally want or ask for. And if they didn’t annoy you with this suggestion to buy something extra, you get the meal for free! I would think that not being pestered to buy something I didn’t want was reward enough! But no, they want to pay for my entire meal!

This was clearly just set up, not to better serve their customers, but as an incentive for the staff to get into the habit of upselling. If some poor staff member did happen to forget to suggest garlic bread and the customer got their meal for free, I’m sure you can imagine who would have to pay for the meal in the end.

While the deal was on I always wondered what would happen if I went up to the counter and said, “I’d like the Chicken Parma and THAT’S ALL! NOTHING MORE!” What would they have done? Would they lean on the side of good customer service and not suggest I buy something I clearly didn’t want to buy? Or would they so avoid having to give me the meal for free, that they would still ask me?

What about if I had said, “I’d like to order 6 serves of garlic bread… No, seven. Yes, seven. That will be completely satisfying. I won’t need any more garlic bread after that!” Or what would they have replied if I said, “I’d like to order the Greek salad but make sure there’s no garlic in the dressing. See, I’m allergic to garlic and will die if I even smell it. And make sure there’s no croutons either. I can’t have any bread products or else I break out in a pus-filled sores over my entire body.”

I’m curious as to what they would say.

Would they begin to twitch and start saying “Error! Error!” as steam came out of their robotic ears?

Would they whisper to me saying, “Look, I know you’ll say no, but my boss’ll kill me if I don’t offer you some garlic bread.”

Or would they just stare at me like a cow standing in the middle of a country road, and ask, “Would you like garlic bread with that?”



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Posted February 21, 2010 by Simon in category "Funny", "Life", "Stupid


  1. By Sue Ellen on

    I must say I’m a little disappointed that you had the opportunity to mess with the heads of people at the pub and you didn’t take it…

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