Sales, Discounts = Happiness?

It’s not very often that I tend to look at the ads in newspapers, but I couldn’t have afforded to miss the one today. It was such a big one that it didn’t fit in the canvas of the folded newspaper and had to be browsed open for the entire thing to be visible.

Having done that, I realized that sales or discounts which more often than not are associated with groceries or the likes of electronic products were being used for a property worth 1 crore. To my bemusement, the discount that came along was barely 5 lakhs.

Not bad, considering that you are a third time or a fourth time buyer, but would it really go along well with a first time buyer, I guess not. Leave alone the value of the discount, the entire concept of discounting or putting on sales a property looked pretty novel. Wonder, who might have invented the word discount?

It’s not only in the property that sales have become the talk of the town, it has engulfed pretty much each and every aspect of our lives. As if the government was not too happy seeing the customers satisfied and as if the strong retail lobby had to chip in for the wants of more profits, what we, as consumers face now, is a possibility of not getting the discounts on the already escalated prices of the products, thanks to the new legislation being brought in for the e-commerce companies.

And the rationale being cited is that the government wants to make it a level playing field. Is it really the case? What about the huge profits that retailers make? And when e-commerce wasn’t there, I remember the very funda of discounts was based upon, first doubling the prices and then bringing it down tad bit to make the customer happy about the entire buying experience.images

Even after the discounts being offered online, there is a huge killing to be made out of the deal. That’s another issue that the unit economics including logistics etc. might not end up being a profitable deal altogether, yet going by the economics of sales, is still a good deal.

At the end of the day if the customer is benefiting by paying less, the merchant/seller is happy for being able to sell, and the aggregator is happy deriving its happiness from the investor money, which more often than not, comes from abroad; then why screw the entire thing up?

After all, FDI is what our government is after. The only difference is that the FDI is coming in this case through the HNIs or the investors looking for investment and quick return opportunities in emerging markets. Not all will have the appetite to invest in long-gestation infrastructure projects.

Is this legislation a good one for startups? Instead of interviewing the likes of the bigger retail stores’ CEOs, why not go and seek opinions from the doers who have been successful in bringing a systemic change, sustainable or not, can be debated?

Talking of sustainability, with trillions of debt that China has today, is it really sustainable or for that matter, the very fundamentals of fiscal deficit on which the current so called development takes place, sustainable?

Well, are we really concerned about sustainability? Are we really bothered as to what will evolve from the water crisis soon to hit the World in a big way? Are we really approaching the problems the way they should be? Are we wanting good for ourselves or the entire World? Are we concerned with short term gains or are looking at a broader picture focusing on long-term possibilities?

Sales and discounts always make the human race go gaga over the prospects, works in some cases, but not all. My humble plea to all concerned is to not go for discounts or short-cuts when it comes to making this world a “better” place to live in.

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