Are we blind to the best offers?

26 July 2008

The BBC News have a feature this morning about a market stall holder in Derby that is offering customers the chance to purchase a £5 note for just £4. You would be hard pressed to find anywhere else today where you could get a 25% return on your investment within a matter of seconds, but despite this most people reject his offer as they believe it’s too good to be true.

This reminds me of my own reaction when I received an email from the eBay research department offering me £5 simply for taking part in an online survey. I was pleasantly surprised when I received my money as I am sure many others were, but I wonder how many people turned this offer down because they were thinking it was a scam.

If we think logically through the Derby market offer it makes perfect sense. The stall holder is simply offering what the supermarkets call a ‘loss leader’ to attract customers in the hope that they will buy his fruit & veg.

Even if he does not recover his loss on the £5 note today the customers that take up the offer will hopefully return in the future, plus it’s the ultimate word of mouth advertising as they are sure to tell all their family and friends. And all that is ignoring the fact that he is the only market stall holder I have ever seen advertising on national TV via the BBC News!

Yet for some reason when the offer is in front of us we are trained to think the worst. Customers reaction is either to look confused or to ask ‘what is the catch?’.

This is the same reaction I get from people when I tell them how I earn money from cashback sites. Instantly fearing the worst they do not logically think through why these sites are able to offer cashback.

All this makes me wonder what offers I am blind to?


This post was originally published on my MillionaireAdventure blog which records my adventure as I relentlessly pursue my dream of becoming a millionaire. You can read the full blog at