Thursday, November 06, 2008
Open Letter to Lucky Supermarket
Dear Psar Lucky,
Since moving to Cambodia more than two years ago, I have been a fan and a loyal customer of your establishment. I love the fact that I can shop in air-conditioned comfort and nobody hassles me to "buy somesing madam". I can shop at my leisure and in peace.
I also like that the aisles are widely-spaced and I like that (most) things are organised according to categories. I like the selection of cheeses and frozen vegetables like broccoli and spinach, and Bovril and Maggi Mee which remind me of home. Imagine my excitement when you finally opened in Siem Reap! I was so happy, I even took a photo to commemorate the occasion (see your building in my photo?)!
I like you too, Psar Lucky, because unlike some other supermarkets I have been to, I have never been cheated of my change. But the best thing is the fixed prices, so we barangs know we are not getting ripped off (or if we are, we do so willingly for the comfort of shopping in a clean, air-conditioned place!).
However, there *is* one thing that bothers me about your pricing. Recently I wanted to get shampoo ('Head n Shoulders', because my scalp gets so itchy in this weather). I wanted to buy the largest bottle possible, believing that bulk purchases cost less (silly me). Instead, I was left in a quandry as all my intuitions and pre-conceptions about shopping and how best to save money were shown to be false: can I ever trust my shopping instincts again?
For this is what I found (and I do know I was being naughty taking a photo in your shop, since you post a 'No Photo' sign, but I needed photographic evidence because seriously, nobody would believe me otherwise!):
A 400ml bottle costs USD3.70
A 750ml bottle costs USD9.20
WTF??? So, I can buy 2 bottles of 400ml bottles (which makes 800ml) for a total of USD7.40 but will have to pay USD9.20 (almost USD2 more) for 50 ml less shampoo (750ml)?!
I could not figure this out and continued hunting for a better deal. Maybe if I bought a lot more 'Head n Shoulders', I'd have a chance of saving some money? This was what I discovered:
A 1 litre bottle costs USD16.20!
So if I were to buy two smaller bottles, the 400ml + the 750ml, to get 1.15 litres in total, it would cost me USD3.70 + USD9.2 = USD12.90. This compares with USD16.20 for 1 litre! So again, I can get more of my beloved shampoo for less money if I buy fewer small bottles!
And it gets better:
The smallest bottle at 90ml costs USD0.80. I contemplated filling up my basket with 11 small bottles, giving me a total of 990ml (10ml less than a litre) for only USD8.80, a savings of almost 50% on the one litre bottle!
Instead, Psar Lucky, you know what I did? I walked out, because by now I had a headache from trying to make sense of the nonsensical pricing.
Your (now-not-so) loyal customer,