Videocam cheaters & how they operate (Part 1)

Sim Lim Square in Singapore has long been known as an electronics shopping haven.  6 floors brimming with retail shops selling computer related products, audio/video equipment, cameras, TVs etc...  Paradise to many but unfortunately, nightmare to some who have fell for their convincing showmanship.

Very recently, a self recorded video was made to highlight the rude attitude displayed by the sales staff in one of the shops in Sim Lim Square (To be known threafter as SLS).  This video sparked a public outcry, both online & in the streets of Singapore.

See the video here

I have worked in SLS for more than 5 years before a life changing career opportunity came along in which I accepted and left the industry for good.  In SLS, there are 2 different types of pay packages for sales staff.  The conventional type which is paid a basic salary + a commission (Usually 10% of the profit for the item.  Example: You helped the company make $10 profit, you get $1 as commission).  The second type of sales people are what insiders term as 4/6 salespeople.  No basic salary, and you get to keep 40% of profit.  Needless to say, the second group are "hungrier" and are also more susceptible in resorting to trick would be customers.

Let's imagine that you wanted to buy a videocam, done one month's worth of research on finding the best videocam that will suit your budget and you have decided on XXX Brand, model number is ABC123.  You start the day going through numerous shops in SLS starting from 1st floor till 3rd floor to find out which shop has the best offer for your researched model.  Most shops offered $1000 but you came across some shops that had a special offer going at a few hundred dollars lesser.  Once you're convinced that you have found a fantastic shop with a great price, you go back there again and want to buy the videocam.  The sales person successfully dissuades you to buy your researched model and you end up with another brand/model.  Sounds familiar already?  Read on....

In SLS, there is a raging price war amongst each & every other shop.  You may not believe it but the profit margins of items are sometimes, ridiculously low.  Example: $3 profit per digital cam, $20-$40 per 32" LCD TV, $3-5 for MP3 players.  Such prices are kept competitive so that the consumers will return to their shop after comparing prices with other shops.

1) Lets get back to the scenario I put up in the earlier paragraph.  Let's assume the dealer's cost price for the camera is $950.  Most shops that are genuine in getting your business will quote you a price of between $980-$1000 (Excluding GST) but obviously, you think you are smarter than you really are and you will walk on to check with other shops.  You find an "honest" salesperson who is willing to sell it to you at $650!!!  What really happens is that he gave you a "monkey price".  "Monkey price" to insiders means an invalid price given to "monkeys" which are references to price comparing, shop hopping customers.  Greedy "monkeys" often fall for this trick and then return to the salesperson whom have apparently gained a little of their trust.

2)  Now that you trust them a little more since they have given you an "honest" price, you would expect them to sell you the videocam at that quoted price but soon, you'll be hearing their reviews of the product you wanted to buy.  From poor video quality, poor colouration, poor clarity, their claims of "returning customers" complaining that the product is user unfriendly, poor quality, faulty etc...  just be prepared for a barrage of convincing tales, lies & objections from them to sell it to you.

3)  Let the magic show begin!  After telling you why your chosen model is poor in quality, they will attempt to further convince you with some substantiation.  They will use a small TV and use both your chosen model videocam & a model that they highly recommend and perform an A to B product comparison.  When your chosen videocam is plugged in, the quality ranges from slightly blurrish to average quality picture.  Once they replace the videocam with their recommended model, the quality is exceptionally high (Compared to your chosen model).  How do they do this?  It could be the following (Or a combination):-

     a) If they are using a different AV input on the TV or a separate selector, the blur image is usually due to an added resistor in the circuit.
     b) If the AV input used is the same for both cameras, there is usually a hidden switch (Usually a foot step switch somewhere beneath the carpeted floor

Footnote: If you do feel that my article helped you save a few hundred dollars, strengthened your knowledge or if you just wanna motivate me to write more, a small donation is always welcome through PAYPAL or to POSB Savings Account 032-61998-3.  I thank you in advance for your generosity.