I stopped at a book store today to buy Paulo Coelho’s new book. I normally get my books in some kind of a digital e-version, just because it’s easier to take them with me during my many relocations, but this one I wanted in an actual paper form.
When I got to the cash register the kind cashier informed me: “You know, if you sign up for our discount program you ‘ll get 25% off. Would you like to sign up?”
I though it was nice of her to offer 25% off and I accepted.
“That will be $25”, she said.
I was suddenly very confused, I though I was getting a discount, so I asked her to explain it to me.
“Well, if you sign up for our discount program you’ll get 25% off your book and your whole family can use your discount. Discounts vary, but your initial purchase will be reduced by 25% today. It’s only $25 to sign up!” She said that with a smile, as if she was reciting a poem she knew by heart.
“Ok, I got it, you want me to pay you to get a discount?”, I just wanted to make things clear.
“It does sound funny when you put it that way”, she admitted.
“I’m just stating the facts”, I reminded her.
“You are right, it doesn’t make sense to pay for the discount, but that’s how it works”, she shrugged and continued, “you know, no one has ever put it that way before. You are the first person to say it out load and it really sounds funny. How am I going to keep offering it now? I’m going to feel ridiculous!”
I didn’t complain about it, I didn’t say it was funny, I thought it was ridiculous, but I didn’t say that either. All I did was repeated in lame man terms what I understood about the nature of their discount. I must say I was surprised to hear no one else said anything about it before. Are we so used to ridiculous corporate tricks that we don’t even bother saying anything. Are we in a state of apathy already? And how come the cashier never thought about what she was offering? Have we turned into machines that repeat what some marketing department came up with? And lastly, are we really afraid to say what we think?
I am not going to impose my conclusion on you, I just want to you think about the last time you heard something that didn’t make sense or were offered some ridiculous ‘deal’. How did you react? Did you say anything? Or were you just polite as you were taught to be, smiled and said: “No, thank you!”