Rant Archive (April 1998)

Those “Exclusive Discount” clubs

As I walked out of the store for the last time, I wished the manager a good day. I wasn’t kidding myself that there was any sincerity in the statement, but there is a part of me that feels obligated to be polite even when I mean, “fuck you”.

There is a store in the Hanover Mall called Ritz Camera. They sell cameras, binoculars, telescopes, film, lenses… all that stuff. Plus, they have a one hour photo service. Now, since I’d gotten back from Europe, I’ve been anxious to get the pix I took developed. But my life being what it is, I barely have time to take my socks off when I go to bed.

So, here I am walking by the store, knowing I’d be in the mall for a while, had the film in my hand, so I decided to take advantage of their “One Hour” service. I gave them the film. The girl behind the counter asked if I’d like to save some money. She informed me that if I joined their “discount club”, the membership would pay for itself and I would actually get the pictures done cheaper. Plus, from that point on, I’d get discounts.

“Sounds good to me” I said.

I came back an hour later and the film wasn’t ready. So I left the mall. Later that afternoon, my wife, Beth, was driving by the place so I asked her to stop in and pick it up. When she came back she told me the film was ready but she didn’t pick it up. She wanted to know why I spent $45 to have two rolls of film developed. She also told me the salesman was very rude to her when she questioned the price. She just left.

I went down myself. Sure enough. $45 they wanted. They explained that was the cost of the developing, double prints, film and membership.

So I asked them to break it all down. “How much is the membership?”

“$15 for the year”

“OK, but doesn’t that give me a discount on the rest of the stuff?”

“Yes”

“But I was told it would cost less if I got the memebrship”

“It does. But the membership costs $15″

“I understand that. But without the membership, my bill is $35″

“Right, but with the membeship, its only $30″

“Right, but I spend $15 dollars to get that discount. I was told I would save money”

“You do. You save $5″

“Sir, which figure is higher? $35 or $45?”

He just looked at me blankly.

“I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel kinda foolish spending an extra $10 to save $5. I was told I would spend less if I got the membership. If I’m spending more, I don’t want it.”

“Well, its common that when we explain how it works that people don’t listen. Would you like to hear it again and maybe you could listen this time?”

“You must be joking. Have a nice day sir”

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