When Is 51 Not 51?

Let me start by saying I despise sleazy marketing techniques.

I hate it when what you see is not what you get.

And I particularly hate it when there is a tiny strip of words which say “Terms & conditions apply”. If there’s term and conditions, why not say it out loud?

Why not tell people upfront about it? (Coz people won’t buy and they will scream at you.)

Why hide behind some royal sneakiness?

On National Day, I was out shopping with my aunt and sister at Jusco Queensbay. Auntie Jo had all along wanted to buy the uZap Mini, this thing which wraps around your calf, arm or thigh and vibrates the fat away….oh, they say it trims and tones. Whatever.

Now uZap Mini sells for RM298 a piece. On that day, the promo card literally screamed that it was 51% off!

Auntie Jo was highly interested (she had been wanting one for the longest time ever).

She turned to me and said, “Luckily I didn’t buy it when it was at full price.” She sauntered over to the sales promoter and casually asked about it.

He said (and he said this without batting an eye even though I smelled a con coming up), “Oh it’s 51% off if you buy more than RM1,000 worth of our other products!”

“But why isn’t it listed as such?” Auntie Jo asked.

The guy had the audacity to point to super tiny words – Terms & Conditions Apply.

At this point, I am rolling my eyes and if I hadn’t had my dinner yet, I would’ve poked him in the ribs and given him the evil eye.

So Auntie Jo smiled and said that never mind then, she wasn’t thinking of buying RM1,000 worth of products to get her uZap Mini so thank you very much, she wasn’t interested.

But wait! More sneakiness comes. He pretends to stall her by saying he’ll ask his supervisor if she can buy it for 51% off.

Barely 2 minutes later, he came back with a story – apparently a customer just bought more than RM1,000 worth of products but he didn’t buy the uZap Mini so my aunt was now (drum roll please) eligible to buy the uZap Mini for 51% off!

Ah hah!

Can you smell a rodent?

If I were my Auntie Jo, I’d stomped off. But Auntie Jo being Auntie Jo – she was already highly interested in the uZap Mini so she happily agreed to buy it (which in retrospect, was a good buy at a discount).

The reason I’m blogging this: why do reputable companies resort to such irresponsible ways to sell their products?

If it’s a sale, say it’s a sale.

If it’s a discounted item, say so.

But don’t hide your terms and conditions and try to rip a sale off some unsuspecting customer. Is that a way to arouse curiosity and draw the customer intrap the customer?

(Since I’m on a roll here, let me state that I’m not into these personal massage products much and I think that the galloping exercise machine looks damn vulgar. Yes, it’s supposed to emulate the rocking motion of a horse and you get a workout for your butt and thighs but you really don’t want to be seem galloping in public. No way. Euuuuuwwwwww.)

In Malaysia, “terms and conditions apply” seem to be everywhere and is the ‘catch all clause’ for anything that is too disadvantageous to put out there. The idea seems to be, let’s reel the gullible customers in first and then work our magic on them.

What do you think about this as a consumer?

And most importantly, would you be upset if you got a 51 that’s not really 51?

To firmer thighs worldwide,


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