How To Win At Lucky Plaza

A side note to this week’s JRE Keeps You Entertained All Weekend.

The easiest way to shoot timelapse on a Canon camera (without schlepping around a laptop and the camera control software) is with the TC80-N3 timer remote. It’s pretty nifty – full time-lapse control, bulb exposure control, a self-timer… and it even works as a boring old cable release.

Now, a quick rummage on the ClubSnap forums (if you’re ever shopping for cameras in Singapore, these are the best way to save yourself from being ripped off) turns up a price: the TC80 is selling for around the $190 mark, even though the list price is somewhere around $230. (Here’s their price list for Canon cameras, and here’s the lens price list… just in case anyone stumbles across this page while googling.)

So I wander down to my usual camera stores, wallet at the ready.

Cathay Photo: “we don’t have it, sorry”. Alan Photo: “we don’t have it, sorry”. Cathay Photo at Marina Square: “we don’t have it, sorry”. John 3:16 Photo: “sorry – that girl over there just bought the last one! I’ll have them back in stock this weekend”. (I do like John 3:16 – offbeat name or no, they’re well stocked, fairly priced and scrupulously honest.)

Bally Photo Electronics in Funan…

“TC80 can lah. Two hundred forty.”

“What? I heard it’s selling for less than two hundred. What’s your best price?”

“Before tax or after tax? Before tax maybe… after tax… only $230.”

“Very funny, mate. Stop trying to charge me the ang moh tax.”

Apparently these guys are notorious slimeballs.

I was desperate. I’d tried every mall in downtown Singapore. The only place left was Lucky Plaza.

Lucky Plaza is the ultimate hive of scum and villainy. Right on Orchard Road, it only exists to con gullible tourists into paying too much for electronics. Their slogan is “a surprising shopping experience” – yep, when you realise how much you’ve paid, it can be a hell of a surprise.

Do not go there, ever – unless you know exactly what you want and exactly how much to pay for it.

If you do know what you want and how much to pay for it, though…

“Ah, yes, we’ve got the TC80. Two hundred thirty.”

“Hmm. Mate, a word in your shell-like… I’ve heard they’re selling for $195 out there. After tax. Now, you’ve got it in stock and I’d like to buy it right now… what can you do for me?”

“Can do…. $197. How’s that?”

“Sounds good. Pleasure doing business with you.”

[…]

“Hey, mate, any chance of a receipt?”

“Oh! The receipt, sorry, of course…”

There’s always something.

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