Learn “Price Performance Ratio” from Buying Milk

My partner, Mr. Hahn, admits that he is a bit “uncomfortable” every time when seeing the milk and toilet paper I bring home. Because the brand and product size I chose may not be the most cost-effective in his view.

Yes. German will pay close attention to “price performance ratio” when they purchase, order and use anything. The words of price performance ratio in German is Preisleistungsverhältnis, and translated into Chinese is “性价比”. German law even stipulates that in addition to the sale price, the price per liter or 100 grams shall be clearly indicated on the price tag of each retail product. In this way, each consumer can compare the price on tags and then choose the highest price performance ratio from similar products. In Taiwan, such detailed data are probably only marked on products sold by foreign supermarkets such as Jason’s, therefore Mr. Hahn often calculates in mind in Asia.

Attention! Getting the highest price-performance-ratio product is absolutely different with the purchase of the cheapest!

For example, the reason why he frowns at the milk I bought is that I chose the small and relatively cheap milk. However, under the same brand (with the same quality), if you divide price by the number of liters, buy the large-size, the milk with a relatively high price is actually more cost-effective. This concept and calculation are applied by him in many aspect of daily life. For German, the price performance ratio is crucial for daily life, a bit like an ingrained value. The CP value which people oftenly talk about in Taiwan is literally negligible compared to the accuracy which Germans persue.

This is why the VW car, not Benz, dominates the top four best-sale cars in Germany, where all kinds of luxury cars are made. It is completely different from the situation that Benz AMG fills the streets in Taiwan. For the household electronic products, motorcycles, bicycles, etc., there is a recognized “price performance ratio award” sticker. Certainly, the first-place product may not be the prettiest or most famous brand, but it is completely ranked by performance and cost for consumers to judge.

When I see Mr. Hahn shopping, I find that besides the price, he cares about whether the product is durable and can be repaired. As buying shoes, for example, Germans will carefully compare the sole material and consider how long it will last. For the purchase of a car or motorcycle, they will talk to the salesperson first about parts substitution, considering whether parts are easy to find in the market for future repairs.

On the other hand, I have also observed that buying products with high price-performance-ratio does not mean it possesses all additional benefits. For example, although the milk I choose is not the most cost-effective, it is packed in cartons while the same brand milk with high price-performance-ratio is in large plastic bottles.

I’m not trying to emphasize how green I am but considering the results of long-term consumption, paper is easier to decompose than plastic.

After we starts to live together in Shanghai, I often go shopping online, because more imported products from Germany or Taiwan can be found at one time. If I buy more products at one time, there will be a discount, and the transportation costs can be saved, it is already cost-effective for my current, not-in-hometown life status.

性價比高的充電寶

從買牛奶學習「性價比」

我的伴侶 Mr. Hahn 承認,每次看到我買回家的牛奶與衛生紙,他的心頭總是揪一把。

因為我選的牌子和產品體量,可能在他眼裡都不是性價比最高的。

是的,德國人買東西、點東西、用東西,基本上只要是要從口袋掏出銀子的事情,絕對認真考慮「性價比」。「性價比」這個單字在德文是Preisleistungsverhältnis,翻譯成英文就是大家熟悉的Price Performance Ratio。德國的法律甚至規定,每個零售商品的價籤上,除了售價之外,還需要清楚標註每一升或是每一百克的價格。如此一來,每位消費者能依據價籤上的信息清楚比較,然後能在同類商品中選出性價比最高的那一款。在台灣,大概只有在外國超市如Jason’s所賣的產品上,會標示這種細節數據,因此Mr. Hahn在亞洲經常心算。

注意!選購性價比最高,跟選購最便宜的絕對不是同義詞。

比方說,為什麼我買的牛奶他皺眉頭,就是因為我選擇了體型小、售價相對低的牛奶。然而在同一品牌(同一品質)的基礎上,若是用價格來除以公升數、買大罐,售價相對高的牛奶反而是划算的。他的這種思考和計算,運用在日常生活中的方方面面。德國人眼裡的性價比是更根深蒂固,有點像是刻在骨子裡的價值觀。我們在台灣經常聽人口口聲聲講的CP值,跟德國人的精確程度比起來,根本是虛晃一把。

這也就說明,為什麼在生產各種豪車的德國境內,銷售量最高的前四名車款都是被大眾汽車(VW)佔據,而不是奔馳。這跟在台灣滿大街跑的是奔馳AMG,有很大的區別。 而在家用電子產品、摩托車、自行車等,如果是經實驗室研究性價比最高的,會有一個公認的「性價比第一名」的宣傳貼紙。當然啦,這種獲得第一名的商品不一定是外型最漂亮、也不一定是最知名的牌子,完全是依照性能和代價的評比以供消費者判斷。

性價比高的印表機

我觀察Mr. Hahn購物的時候,除了價格之外,他也關心這個產品是否持久,是否能夠修理。像是在買鞋子的時候,他們會仔細比較鞋底材質,研究能穿多久。在買車或是摩托車時,也一定會跟銷售員先了解零件的替代性,考慮未來修護時,在市場上零件是否好找。

另一方面,我也觀察到,針對性價比高的商品購買,不代表有全方位的附加好處。比如我選的牛奶雖然不是性價比最高,但是是紙盒裝、性價比高的同品牌牛奶是大的塑膠瓶裝。

我不是要強調自己有多環保。然而牛奶是我們生活中的必備品,長期購買與回收的結果,紙類總比塑膠好分解。

跟Mr. Hahn在上海一起生活以後,我經常選擇網購,因為通常網上商店可以一次性找到更多德國或台灣的進口商品,多買一些一定會有折扣,也能省去交通費。

這對不在家鄉生活還想要享受家鄉食物及用品的我來說,就已經是好的性價比了。

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