lake argyle-featured

Are you a HARDCORE comparer?

Why just dip your toe, when you can take the plunge?!

I recently visited Western Australia’s Lake Argyle. As the nation’s biggest artificial lake by volume, it holds 20 Sydney harbours of fresh water and 35,000 crocodiles.

And the holiday park beside it holds a key lesson for shoppers.

Special treat

After several days of fairly rough camping, my mates and I decided to go over the top and find a really nice place to stay.

We found a holiday park right by the lake that offered two kinds of accommodation:

  1. Bungalow.
  2. Premier cabin with balcony view.

My mates suggested we get two bungalows, but I felt the accommodation descriptors were too vague for us to make an informed choice.


So I asked the manager how many people each kind of accommodation slept. On checking, she replied that the premier cabin had one queen and two single beds.

I wanted to know more, so I asked about facilities. It turned out the premier cabin had a kitchen. This meant we could save money by cooking the food we had left.

As I asked even more questions, my mates told me to cut the ‘Rain Man’ act. I replied that this was my way of making a good decision.

I wanted to decide based on:

  1. What we had.
  2. What we needed.
  3. What the holiday park was actually supplying.

I operate this way because most people make a purchase decision without prior analysis.

  1. They choose without full information.
  2. They assume their choice will meet all their needs.
  3. When it doesn’t, they’re unhappy.

And when they’re unhappy, everyone’s unhappy.

Question everything!

To avoid such disappointments, I prefer to figure out what’s on offer and then make a decision.

When buying something, some people say they feel ‘indecisive’. They’re not actually indecisive at all. Rather, they simply haven’t defined their needs, found out what the supplier is offering and checked to see how they match.

View from the top

In the end, we booked a premier cabin based on the view, extra bed and kitchen.

Having made my decision, I realised I’d missed a perfect opportunity to haggle as there wasn’t any other accommodation close by.

But scarcity can cut both ways. And the manager had been so helpful that I felt it would’ve been mean to quibble over price.

Happy ending

My mates were relieved when the deal was done, as they’re definitely not hard-core comparers.

The funny thing is, most vendors want to give you all the information you need to make a wise choice. It’s very much in their interest for you to be 100% happy. That way, you’ll likely give them repeat business and tell others.

If, on the other hand, a salesperson answers ‘I don’t know’ to your question, you immediately know one of two things:

  1. You need another salesperson.


  1. You’re in the wrong store.

Your turn

Do you shop like me? Or do you agree with my mates?

I have pretty strong views on comparing things, but I’m always open to argument. Have you ever been burnt when comparing?

To that end, I warmly welcome your thoughts on questions, answers, salespeople, haggling, camping, cabins and anything else that floats your boat!


Fred Schebesta is a Director of and loves being frugal and finding loopholes in deals.

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One Response

  1. Default Gravatar
    LouisaSeptember 24, 2012

    Well, I find its a cross over between time and money really. How long do you have vs how much $ are involved. ALSO, how big the purchase is. The bigger the $, the longer one tends to take in looking and comparing all the options. Or if there is a contract – anything that ‘locks you in’ takes time to consider.
    I more take the approach of ‘trusted suppliers’. So, once I’ve bought once and had satisfaction, I’m less likely to look around when buying same item again. Even cars! Shows the importance of customer satisfaction, I guess. In your example, I would have made some assumptions about the cabins re price – expecting the higher priced cabin to deliver more. However, your approach is very thorough and will deliver results and savings! I’ve made a note to self to ask more questions.

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