7 Overpriced Products in Singapore (2012)

Time for Moneysmart’s annual hall of (in)famy. With a vast global market, you’d think that prices get more sensible over time. And you’d be wrong. Because going through this list, it’s obvious that retailers don’t allow little things like “reason” to get in their way. Either that, or they have complete faith…in human stupidity. Take note of these annoying rip-offs, and be sure to roll your eyes at the sales staff:

 

Orchard Road

"And that was the last thing I saw before all my money vanished."

 

1. Brand Name HDMI Cables

The pricing of HDMI cables makes sense…assuming your home planet isn’t Earth. Go to any electronics store, and you’ll find outrageous price discrepancies on these things.

Generic (no brand) HDMI cables often cost under $15. But the moment there’s a brand and nice packaging, the price jumps to $30 or…get this…$1000. Yeah, you laugh, like I’m joking or something. But there’s a store in Adelphi selling the Platinum Starlight cable for $1000 per meter.

But what do branded cables do? Make pictures clearer? Speed up frame rates? Cure cancer? They should, considering the price. But the answer is nothing anyone can agree on. So just head to the neighbourhood store and grab the cheap ones; no need to hit Funan or Sim Lim for these.

 

Dusty old HDMI cable

"It's not old and dusty. That's because of it's, uh, powerful magnetic pull."

 

2. iPhone Cases / Covers

$15 – $30 for a piece of plastic to stick on the screen. And limited edition iPhone cases that go up to $250. When will this madness end?

A quick heads up: Did you know that iPhone screens get cloudy faster with protective stickers? The screen of the phone is coated with an oil repellent chemical, which takes your prints off. The protective sticker, however, just guarantees grease streaks everywhere.

But if you absolutely must get a case or protector, go to Far East Plaza. The stalls sell cases in the $10 – $20 range, and screen protectors for as low as $7. Quality is comparable, even if the range of designs aren’t.

 

Elaborate iPhone case

"And to open it, just position the power drill and jack hammer this way…"

 

3. Branded Bottled Water

Branded mineral water has a mark-up of almost 4000%. It’s a showy, environmentally damaging business. And considering we spend millions to make tap water drinkable, it makes less sense than the average Korean movie.

If you have to drink bottled water (because apparently, you live in the only Singaporean house with no tap), get the No Frills brand. This costs less than a dollar a bottle. Don’t fret over the health benefits or lack thereof; it’s still debatable whether mineral water does anything for you.

 

Faucet

"Our water comes from a deep underground source, filtered through thousands of layers."

 

4. Pre-Cut Vegetables and Fruits

On some supermarket shelves, you can find sealed styrofoam packs with pre-cut food. Take them to the section with whole fruits and veggies, and compare the price. Most of the time, you’ll see a 20 – 40% mark-up.

What’s the difference? Nothing. The food comes from the same suppliers. You’re just being charged extra because someone had to slice and seal them for you. And if you do any cooking, you’ll know this convenience is meaningless; how many times have you bought cut vegetables, only to have to chop them some more when you got home?

For the best bargains, look in the whole foods section of Sheng Siong. Prices tend to be cheaper by a dollar or two, compared to other supermarkets.

 

Fresh strawberries

"Vacuum pack them in plastic and put them on a shelf for a week. That'll make them fresher, right?"

 

5. Printer Ink

This one has been around for a while. When printer ink starts to cost more than human blood and penicillin combined, you know you’re being ripped off.

Have you noticed printers often come with outrageous discounts? Like up to 50%? That’s because the manufacturers don’t really profit from the printer. They profit from the ink. You only buy a printer once every few years, but you’ll be buying ink almost monthly. Sometimes, they’re happy to give you that printer at cost.

There are two ways around this. One is to buy printers with cartridges you refill yourself. It’s about as convenient as a waterproof teabag. The other way? Compare ink prices instead of printer prices, before buying.

 

Hand stained with printer ink

"Refilling your own cartridges is easy. Compared to, say, brain surgery."

 

6. Wine in Restaurants

Restaurants charge corkage for a good reason: No one with half a clue will buy wines in a restaurant. It’s not entirely the restaurant’s fault; they have to pay their liquor license. But hey, no one’s forcing you to pay it for them.

You know how soft drinks are marked up in restaurants? Apply the same principle to wine, except much worse. Mark-ups have been known to exceed 200%. Restaurants around the Clark Quay and City Hall area are notorious for this; I’ve been to a few that tried to charge $120 for a $25 bottle.

If you must have wine with your meal, I suggest places like Sage or Moomba. They’re BYO, so get your wine where it’s cheaper and lug it along.

 

Wine racks

"I really could use a glass. Here, take my car keys and wallet. As Payment."

 

7. Designer Furniture

Designer furniture is proof that free market economics is doomed. It’s abundantly clear that alternatives to $600 beanbags exist. It’s obvious that something to rest your ass on on shouldn’t cost $4000. But trying telling that to the community of suckers who crowd Park Mall’s designer stores.

I’ve mentioned that Interior Designers can provide more cost effective furniture. They can scratch build or find something that looks alike, for less than half the price. So if you’re furnishing your new apartment, get your head out of the store catalogues. Consult a designer, rather than trying to purchase furniture sets yourself.

 

Ergonomic office chair with a sphere in the middle

"Ergonomic office chair. Right. Do I just sit on it until the egg hatches?"

 

Image Credits:
williamcho, digitpedia, Gavin Gilmour, faith goble, buyalex, vitalsine, willspot, gandhiji40

Spot anything else that’s overpriced?

Get more Personal Finance tips and tricks on www.MoneySmart.sg

Click to Compare Singapore Home Loans, Car Insurance and Credit Cards on our other sites.



More From MoneySmart
Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US missile cruiser docks at Subic
    US missile cruiser docks at Subic

    A US Navy missile cruiser has dropped anchor in Subic Bay as part of “routine port call,” amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea stirred by China’s island building activities and other threatening moves by its forces. The arrival of the Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) at the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City yesterday was “just a routine port visit for ship replenishment and routine maintenance of shipboard system,” said Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office …

  • Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño
    Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño

    The agriculture and power sectors, as well as the general public should brace for a prolonged El Niño phenomenon that could further reduce water supply for electricity and irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. Flaviana Hilario, acting deputy administrator for research and development of PAGASA, said the El Niño condition is expected to intensify from weak to moderate by August this year. Anthony Lucero, …

  • China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row
    China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row

    The US should help “cool down” the Philippines and realize that its meddling in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would only stir tensions, a Chinese newspaper reported. “Washington should know its meddling in the South China Sea has been destabilizing the region. The US has vowed not to take sides in the territorial dispute, which involves China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. …

  • No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests
    No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests

    K to 12 is the fruit of years of comprehensive consultations involving different sectors in education,” Aquino said during the launching of the program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), the launch was attended by teachers, students and representatives from different stakeholders supportive of the K to 12 program. It was held two years after the signing of Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education …

  • MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t
    MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) maintained its bid for completion of the tripartite review of the implementation of the peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. The MNLF’s desire to put consensual closure to the tripartite effort was relayed by its leaders to Sayed El-Masry, the special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during the annual foreign ministers conference in Kuwait last Thursday. The MNLF peace agreement with the government in Sept. 2, …

  • Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe
    Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe

    President Aquino is expected to raise the West Philippine Sea dispute during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan next week. However, there is no word yet if the Philippines will specifically ask Tokyo to join calls for China to stop its massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. Aquino will leave for Tokyo on June 2 for a state visit until June 5. …

  • CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike
    CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike

    The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) appears to have released erroneous data on the allowed tuition and other fee increases in Metro Manila for the incoming academic year. On the list of the 51 approved higher education institutions (HEI) allowed to impose hikes, CHED pegged the average increase in tuition at P32.34 per unit and the average increase in other fees at P34.79. However, a Philippine STAR re-computation showed that the actual average approved tuition increases in Metro Manila …

  • Leni Robredo may run for senator
    Leni Robredo may run for senator

    The widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo admitted that running for higher office in 2016 had crossed her mind. Camarines Sur Third District Rep. Leni Robredo said she is focused on her re-election, but there is always the possibility that she would seek higher office. “There is always that possibility… because the filing (of certificate of candidacy) is in October yet,” Robredo said in an interview after her speech during the 23rd Girl Scouts of the Philippines Council …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options