Expensive Free Lunch


Technically, you gave us fifty bucks to attend this presentation.

We thought we were asking directions to White Castle, but it turns out that we were getting suckered into a time share presentation. Come on by! We’ll give you free lunch and cheap tickets to a show and if you give us fifty bucks we’ll refund you twenty back in cash!

There’s no such thing as free lunch.

But we signed up and diligently hiked around the block in the late morning to collect. Now, we’ve been to a presentation like this before and the last time we got suckered into saying yes and paying a lot of money for a service that we never used until finally we couldn’t afford the annual taxes anymore and asked repeatedly to be removed from the program.

So we were once-bitten-twice-shy. At least, I was. About halfway through the first presentation (there were several more rounds to go) I realized that there was going to be no way to rationalize saying “no”. Did I hate money? Did I not value Quality Time? Did I want to die young? Did I like staying in the same old boring hotel rooms? There was a response to every rationalization: and a perk that could be added every time that a new argument was fielded: was the expense too much? Well here was a whole extra years worth of points! Didn’t want to pay the annual fee? Just bring a friend as a referral and it helps waive the fee! Don’t like staying in resorts? You can use the points on airfare! Or rental cars! But you have to choose it right now or the price will go up.

I finally figured out that if I didn’t want to buy in, then I was going to have to be irrational about it: no reason why, I just don’t want to.

It was hard to keep saying no. Hard no. Anything less than a hard no began to drift towards a “maybe” and anything that was a maybe began to drift towards “maybe yes”.

How many people, I wonder, say “yes” when it is that hard to say “no”?

At any rate, I’ve never been so glad to escape. I don’t think I could stand to sit through another presentation, although it was instructive in how to get to yes. If I had a slightly higher tolerance to guilt I could probably learn a lot about sales by sitting through a bunch of these. But for now, one was quite enough: and at least I won’t be paying for it for the next ten years of my life.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 14, 2016.

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