Last week the Consumer Council said Hong Kong’s supermarkets are scamming the people. I do not want to disparage the Consumer Council, but please tell me something I don’t know. I have known for years the supermarkets are scamming the people. Many of my previous columns have pointed this out. The Consumer Council said supermarkets are scamming consumers by marking down prices during sales when the prices have not really been marked down. I know for a fact, after comparing prices, that some marked-down prices are actually higher than the original price. Many consumers are duped (cheated, tricked) by this dishonesty. In the US, where I have lived for many years, duping consumers this way is illegal.
To scam people means to use a clever but dishonest way to get money from people. To mark down something means to reduce the price of something. Supermarkets here have, for a long time, duped consumers by claiming to mark down prices when the prices have, in some cases, been marked up, which means increased. The Consumer Council is a toothless tiger, which means it has no power to take action against supermarkets that dupe consumers. The government needs to give the Consumer Council some teeth. The anti-government protests show the people are angry at Hong Kong’s unfair system, which benefits big companies such as the tycoons who own the supermarkets. The tycoons should stop scamming the people.
Tell me something I don’t know. 這是操流利英語的人有時會輕蔑地（disparagingly）說的話。譬如，若你的朋友告訴你，特首林鄭月娥的民望指數，比起梁振英做特首的時候要低許多，你就可以輕蔑地（disparagingly）跟你的朋友說：Tell me something I don’t know. 當有人跟你說你早已知道的事時，你就可以用上這句習語。
上星期，消費者委員會說，香港的超級市場在欺騙（scamming）市民。我不想貶損（disparage）消委會，不過，請跟我說些我不知道的事吧（tell me something I don’t know）！超市在欺詐（scamming）市民，我已知道許多年了，我以往的許多專欄文章也曾指出過。消委會說，超市在欺詐（scamming）消費者，在售貨時減價（marking down prices），但那「特價」其實並非真的有折扣（marked down）。我知道的事實是，在格過價後，有些折扣價格（marked-down prices）其實比原價還要高。許多消費者都會被這種不誠實的銷售手法欺騙（duped）。我曾在美國居住多年，在當地這樣子欺騙（duping）消費者是違法的。
To scam people就是以聰明但不誠實的手法去騙取人們的金錢。To mark down something就是將某物的價錢扣減。這裏的超市長期欺騙（duped）消費者，聲稱減了價（mark down prices），而其實在某些情況下那價格是加了（marked up）的。消委會是隻無牙老虎（toothless tiger），即是說它並沒有權力採取行動，去打擊那些欺騙（dupe）消費者的超市。
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧