Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bloated prices for boating pictures?

Last weekend, I went white-water rafting on the Youghiogheny river with six friends. It was exciting without being dangerous, and for the five hours I spent I had good fun. The company that runs this also had someone take photographs at certain rapids, which we could later purchase.

It was a rare experience for me, for there is hardly any water in the Indian rivers to permit rafting (unless one goes to the Himalaya), and I went to buy the photos as a souvenir and to send home. I asked the person at the counter the price. And was flabbergasted to hear this:
  • $30 for 10 photos, and
  • $15 for 1
Well! [Multiple exclamation marks]

On the way home I was musing about this pricing scheme... No doubt, the objective was to maximise profits. The more photos you sell, the merrier. So make 'em buy more. Getting one at $15 is outrageous; one would rather buy them @ $3 per, by shelling out 30 bucks.

If one can afford 30 bucks, that is.

So what about students? Or the poor? Or, what-the-heck all 10 of them look the same, and I want only one. Which is why the second option exists. The technical term for this, I believe, is market segmentation. Still as I said before, you would rather buy 10 if you could, for it is better deal.

And one more thing: They sell digital photos, duplication cost of which is practically zero. There are atleast 6 people in every raft. If they are clever enough, they will buy one CD of 10 photos and make copies for everybody, thereby splitting the cost ($0.50 per photo per person). On the other hand, if a single photo were more reasonably priced (say $5) the group might now buy only one photo and copy. Why would they buy only one? (1) As I told you, all 10 of them are similar. And (2) anybody would try to spend as little as possible.

Therefore, by arranging the price thus, the seller is happy (sells more) and so is the buyer.

Any other thoughts?


Michael Higgins said...

Hi Srikanth
Those prices are ridiculous. I would have said, "You can keep the pictures, I will keep the memories."

How much was the boat trip? It sure looked like fun.

Srikanth said...

Hi Michael,
Exorbitant prices, you are right. The lack of competition, I guess. Since I went with 6 other friends, we managed to share the costs: The final (after splitting) $4.5 for 10 photos seemed reasonable.

And thanks, the rafting was good fun!

Sunil said...

What a rip off!

That aside....there are white-water rafting spots in India, that don't take you to the himalayas. Some of the best white-water rafting in India is actually in Karnataka, in the western ghats (the Kali river being one of the most popular). The rapids are of all levels (beginner to expert). :-)

Srikanth said...

Oh in Karnataka, is it? Should try it someday. :)

And wait, rafting on Kali river seems to be in trouble.

krishna said...


Actually i have blogrolled ur Sri++..:)

Naveen Murali said...

Hi Srikanth,
Nice blog you have here. Hope you remember me....I was your bus-stop-mate from west mambalam:). The reticent guy that I knew in undergrad sure is a glib writer:)

Dropped in here courtesy-google, when one of my "vetti" search for someone got me to your page..small world this!!


Srikanth said...

Hi Krishna and Navin,

Krishna: Thanks! :) Sri++ is likely to be a bit technical. My general musings might be found here.

Naveen: Man, how are you! Great to see that you are in the US doing you masters. Any idea of what our other bus-mates are upto? Keep visiting!