Counting pennies ~ Brand Mix

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Counting pennies

As I went to lunch today, I saw someone using the prepaid card feature of a San Francisco parking meter. And it occurred to me how much cheaper it must feel to spend $3 via a card (for one hour's worth of parking) vs. loading in 12 quarters (or 30 dimes).

Photo: SFMTA

4 comments:

BIG Kahuna said...

Jonathan would think this is a great idea I think. I'll send him a link.

Jonathan Salem Baskin said...

It's a brilliant idea! How we experience stuff impacts our perceptions of value (or cost). That's why the tax rebate checks were such a flop...getting such a 'large' sum felt too much like real money, so it was harder to squander it on all that wanton consumption that was our civic duty. We should have received smaller checks over a few months. In this case, one spend on a card feels like LESS than dropping quarter after quarter. Do any of the big brands think about this when they design experiences? Car payments, magazine subscriptions, clicking on a 'pay' button online vs pulling bills out of purses...it's a fascinating topic...

Martin Bishop said...

I agree. It's amazing that $3/hr for parking seems so much more reasonable when you're paying for it with a swipe of a card.

Tim Tyrell-Smith said...

I think about this all the time when I hop on the toll road down here in Orange County. Not only do I not pull out my wallet and exchange a friendly greeting with the attendant, but a computer quietly refills my pre-paid account as necessary. If that wasn't enough, the refill hits my credit card - the one where the statement is now digital. It's like I haven't even spent the money!

I guess we are less price sensitive in general to digital expenses . . .

 
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