Sunday, May 03, 2009

I Notice

     I notice things sometimes, Company, and I hope that you do too.  The other day I was watching the boob tube and the usual, well usual for that time and station, string of commercials came on.  I am talking about the "As Seen On TV" stuff, the kind of stuff that PePe wants for her birthday.  So guy after guy came on the screen and hawked their wares until the blue screen with the picture of the product and all the credit card logos and the mailing address to a PO Box in Newark, New Jersey or wherever came on and we started the next commercial.   And it was among all of these similarities that I notices one that really sort of struck a chord with me.
     Somewhere along the way in each of these commercials, usually about 3/4 of the way through, the dude trying to sell you an automatic plant waterer or a super absorbent shammy cloth offers you the greatest deal in the history of great deals.  They proceed to inform you that for the scant price of $19.95, not only are they going to give you the Miracle Mop AND the Miracle Toilet Brush, they are going to give you TWO Miracle Mops and TWO Miracle Toilet Brushes!  For the price of one!  And THAT price is already reduced!  What an amazing deal!
     They must think we are stupid.  But I've figured it out.  And I am sure you have.  How little does it cost to produce one Miracle Mop that they can give you two for the price of the one?  Huh?  If they charge you $19.95 for one on a regular basis, like down at Caldor or something, but they can still make out like bandits giving you two or three or four of them at the same price, then they are ripping you off in the first place.
     Once I thought of this I started to notice that it happens literally EVERYWHERE in today's consumer society.  Like the cable company.  They are notorious for it.  Okay, here is an example.  I pay over $100 per month for expanded basic digital cable (Channels 2-81  with some missing in between) and their slowest Internet connection.  Okay, that's fine.  But they offer a package for new subscribers that gives them both of those things, with a DVR and their telephone service all rolled in for like $29.99 per month?  That's bogus.  I know that you are going to point out to me that the super good rate is only for like the first three months, and that at any given point there are only a couple thousand new subscribers and they can get away with that.  But it is still bogus.  Because in my mind that tells me that they have to put less than $29.99 worth of money and equipment into bringing me my TV and Internet connection and telephone signal.  That's roughly $10 per service.  Think about that for a second.  So the $100+ that I am paying for just two is about five times too much.  Regardless of the actual economics of the whole situation that's what it comes off looking like, and honestly that counts for just as much.  The public perception is not good, not good at all when you are pulling those kinds of shenanegans.  Unless of course the introductory special rate actually causes them to take a loss on each new subscriber for the first three months, in which case they are morons and I can see why my particular cable company just filed for bankruptcy.
      And those are just two small examples.  If you sort of look around at your surroundings while you go about your life you will notice tons more.  McDonald's charges like $3 for a fish sandwich but suddenly during Lent they only cost $1.50 each?  Bogus.  Macaroni and cheese, which is normally $.99 per box suddenly becomes 10 for $5?  Bogus.  And I am not talking about like when the grocery store offers like fifty-nine cents off a box of breakfast cereal, that's more appropriate and I don't mind that kind of stuff.  Or when the friendly local gas station offers you the super-supremeo-deluxe wash (that's the $7 wash) for $5.   That's okay too, because that's not the huge-o cut and that only lasts for like 2 hours on a Tuesday afternoon anyway.  I am just sort of against when they are blatantly just bending us over behind the woodshed and having their way with us and then acting like nothing ever happened.  That's not cool.  But they go ahead and do it and don't even try to hid it.  That's bogus.  And I notice.

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