Would you buy something if it were discounted from Rs. 500 to Rs. 200? May be.
What if it was discounted from Rs. 500 to Rs. 10? Possibly.
How about if it were discounted to zero? Absolutely!
Getting something for free feels good. Isn’t it?
But don’t get too excited. Although the ‘cost of free’ is zero, it’s also a source of irrational behaviour. Remember those pile of free key chains, free pencils and notepads lying at some corner of your house? Well that pile may be harmless but there are other situations where this irrational affinity for FREE stuff can cause us to make bad decisions. The Zero Price Effect says that we often pay too much when we pay nothing.
I regularly give in to this zero price effect in my day to day decisions. Amazon offers zero shipping charges if I make a minimum purchase of Rs. 499. Every time I order a book which costs less than 499, I end up buying another book (which I don’t plan to read) just to avail the free shipping offer. I just can’t let go off the free offer.
So what explains our unusual love for FREE! stuff?