Still covering our Malaysia holiday in dribs and drabs. You can tell my brain's in a bit of a mixed up state at the moment can't you?
Readers of the recently retired Bloody Marvellous! will know that I've had my eye on a particular watch: the Omega Seamaster GMT. Trouble is it's a bit pricey so while I'm saving up I thought I'd try to find an imitation one in one of KL's most famous night markets.
The night market on Jalan Petaling in Chinatown is renowned for having cheap copies of just about any designer accessory you'd care to mention. It's a huge, bustling, noisy, cramped labyrinth of stalls, a real pickpocket's paradise, and there's me with my Nikon digital SLR slung nonchalantly over my shoulder! And talk about the Hard Sell; at least twice a frustrated stall owner physically held on to one of us when we started to walk away without buying anything and Karen had to use her Foreign Office Voice to effect a speedy release.
Just about every watch stall (and we visited a few!) had a "Nomega" GMT, and all were asking around 280 Ringgit, which is about £40 Sterling. Not too bad when you consider the original costs around £1500, but still this was "before discount" and just like in Life of Brian you're expected to haggle. I started at 100 Ringgit and gradually upped my offer to 140, whereupon the "salesman" gave me a sob story about his cost price and how he wasn't going to make any money. We finally agreed on 150 Ringgit, or just over 20 quid, and I thought I'd got a pretty good deal considering he would also adjust the bracelet into the bargain.
My new watch stopped working two weeks later. I've tried shaking it (that's how you're supposed to charge it up) and it'll go again for a while but then stop when you most need it not too, which is all the time. I've done a little TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) calculation and my £20 watch that lasted two weeks has cost me £10 per week of use. Now, the real Omega that costs £1500 should conservatively be expected to work properly for five years at the very least, so even with a pessimistic view the cost per week of use would be around £5 -- half as expensive as the cheap copy.
There. That's the cost justification argument wrapped up. Now all I need to do is to secure budget approval from my Financial Director.
Karen? When can we have a brief planning meeting?