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February 10
2014年2月10日

浪費資源竟得到獎勵

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許多時候,誤用誤信資料,或是不敢面對資料,就像是閒暇時嗑瓜子兒上癮,說也說不完,停都停不下來。

搭飛機,旁坐的男士想購買一件女用化妝品。一聽說買多了有折扣可拿,買愈多,折扣就愈大,於是在伶牙俐齒的美麗空姐遊說之下,瘋狂採購了許多。他提在手上大包小包的化妝品,絕對足夠他的另一半用上幾輩子,難怪下機時,他自言自語道:「買了一大堆,她大多不會用上。」

上速食店用餐,不想吃馬鈴薯餅。然而,服務員好心勸我加塊薯餅,配成套餐,總價會便宜些。想一想,這好像是個過時的邏輯。為了鼓勵消費,買愈多,價錢就愈便宜;可是若吃不完,或不喜歡吃薯餅,是否反而浪費資源?

浪費資源,竟然可以得到獎勵,不可思議。在節省資源的原則下,不管是化妝品或食物,是否應該買愈多,價錢就愈高,或者至少不打折扣?

類似的情形許多方面都適用。譬如,為了減少廚餘,購買食物,理應量愈多,就應該付出更高的單價;同樣道理,為了節約能源,水、電用得愈多,每度水電費的單價就應該以幾何級數遞增。如此就可「以價制量」,進而「以量節能」。

註:本文曾載於聯合報(2014年1月25日)。

Rewarding wastefulness

There are numerous examples of information being misconstrued in such a way that it can be used to give a false impression. The following examples show how waste is rewarded by such misuse.

Once during a flight a man sitting next to me wanted to purchase some cosmetics for his wife. When the attractive, smooth-talking flight attendant told him that he would be entitled to a bigger discount if he purchased more products, he went on a massive spending spree. When he got off the plane, he was loaded down with several bags brimming with enough cosmetics to last his wife several lifetimes over. No wonder he muttered when disembarking, "What a lot or rubbish I have just purchased. My wife will not use half of it!"

When I eat in a fast-food restaurant, I don't usually want to eat potato cakes. However, the wait staff, out of kindness, always tries to persuade me to buy an extra potato cake so that I can enjoy the set meal, saying it will be cheaper than buying separately. But this kind of thinking makes little sense, i.e. to stimulate consumption, a larger quantity is rewarded at a lower price. But, if the extra potato cake is just too much for one to stomach, or is not to one's taste, isn't it a waste of resources?

It is beyond reason for a wasteful act to be rewarded. In the light of the principle of conserving resources, it should be more rational that the more one purchases, the higher the price should be, whether it is cosmetics or food. Or there should be no discount, at least.

This principle applies to many situations, I assume. For instance, the more food people buy, the more expensive it should be, with an eye to minimising leftovers. In the same manner, the more water and electricity people consume, the more they should be charged, with the geometric progression increasing. By doing so, we can "control the quantity with price" and "achieve resource-efficiency through controlled quantity".

Note:
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (25 January, 2014).

February 10, 2014

 

 

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