Is a bottle of water more than a bottle of water?

Is a bottle of water more than a bottle of water?


“What would you like to drink with that?” asked the counter person to Tamara Hendricks. Tamara was in Metropolitan airport, and because the time between her connecting flights was short, she had stopped in at a busy deli outlet for a prewrapped sandwich that could be purchased and eaten quickly.

“Give me a small bottle of water . . . the 12 ounce . . . not the 20,” replied Tamara.

“This looks great . . . and I’m starved,” thought Tamara happily, as she left the busy counter. As the newly appointed district manager for Copy Plus business centers, there was a lot of travel involved in her position, but she loved her job.

“How much was that?” asked Jerome Odde as Tamara joined him at the stand-up counter that served as the deli’s small designated dining area. Jerome had been with Copy Plus for over ten years and also held a district manager’s title. Jerome, who was traveling with Tamara to a Copy Plus regional sales meeting had also ordered a sandwich and a drink from the same vendor and was now staring intently at the tray she was carrying.

“My sub?” asked Tamara.

“No” replied Jerome, “the water.”

“$2.50” said Tamara, “the same as your soda.”

“That’s crazy. There’s a drinking fountain right over there” he said, pointing to a water fountain located between the entrance to the men’s and ladies’ restrooms just across from the area in which they were standing. “Why would you ever pay good money for something you can get for free?”

  1. What did Tamara buy for $2.50? At the time of purchase, do you believe she was pleased with her transaction?
  2. Do you think Jerome would be more likely to value and buy bottled water from this sandwich vendor if its price were reduced by 10 percent? If it was reduced by 50 percent?
  3. Jerome is 55 years old and Tamara is 25. Do you believe a person’s chronological age, or any other demographic characteristic, can affect how a buyer views a seller’s value proposition? What are some specific examples from your own life experience, or those of your customers, that support your position?