If Airlines Sold Paint
A humorous look at airline ticket pricing
by David Tait - reprinted with permission from Travel Industry Today
Customer: Hi. How much is your paint?
Clerk: Well sir, that depends on a lot of things.
Customer: Can’t you give me an approximate price?
Clerk: Our lowest price is our introductory special at $12 a gallon. After that we have dozens of different prices up to $199.
Customer: What's the difference in the quality of the paint?
Clerk: Oh, there’s no difference. It's all exactly the same stuff.
Customer: Well, in that case I'll take your $12 paint.
Clerk: Well actually the $12 variety is only available on our website. If you want to buy it here at the store you’ll be charged an additional $20 Customer Convenience Fee
Customer: So if I go home and get it off the website, its only $12?
Clerk: That’s correct sir - plus a Credit Card Usage Fee of $6 and then there’s standard Shipping and Handling of $15.
Customer: What? So in other words buying online would cost me almost exactly the same as what I’d have to pay here in the store?
Clerk: I suppose so, but if you buy it here you get to use it immediately. Online purchases take ten business days to get to you - unless you pay the optional $25 Express My Paint Fee.
Customer: You've got to be kidding me!
Clerk: Well no sir, but it’s academic anyway as right now the $12 paint is completely sold out in both places.
Customer: That’s BS. I’m looking at shelves full of the stuff!
Clerk: Ah, but that doesn't mean it’s available for sale. We sell only a certain number of introductory priced cans on any given day. Oops, look at that! It just became available again - at $17.50.
Customer: C’mon! You mean to say it went up while I’m standing here?!
Clerk: ‘Fraid so. Inventory control changes our prices all the time. I strongly recommend you purchase your paint as soon as possible as it could go up again. How many gallons do you want?
Customer: Well, maybe three gallons. No, make that four, I don’t want to run out. I assume I can return anything I don’t open?
Clerk: Certainly sir. The $12 paint is non-refundable, but if you return it within 48 hours you will be entitled to a $5 credit towards the future purchase of another gallon of the same color at the same or higher price.
Customer: That’s crazy. In that case I’ll just give any unopened cans to my brother as he’s planning to repaint his home soon.
Clerk: Sorry sir, no-can-do! Our terms and CANditions – that’s a little in-house joke – prohibit paint transfer. It is strictly for the use of the original purchaser.
Customer: But wait a minute, I hadn’t spotted those "Paint Sale - $9.99* a Can" signs over there? That sounds like a much better deal.
Clerk: Ah yes, that's from our low cost paint division. The asterisk denotes that the cans are actually half-gallons and the price is based on a minimum purchase of two. There is also an additional Environmental Fee of $5 per can, a non-refundable Can Deposit of $3.50, a Paint Facility Charge of $5 and if you want more than one color, the second has a $25 surcharge and the third is $50 extra.
Customer: This is utterly ridiculous. To hell with this! I'll buy what I need somewhere else!
Clerk: Well sir, you may be able to buy paint for some rooms from another store, but you won't be able to find paint for your connecting hall and stairway anywhere but here. And I should also point out that if you want Uni-Directional paint it is priced at $249 a gallon.
Customer: I thought your most expensive paint was $199!
Clerk: That's only if you paint non-stop all the way around the room and back to the point at which you started. Stairways and hallways are considered one-way exceptions to the rule.
Customer: So, if I buy the $199 paint and use it in my hallway what are you going to do about it - send some goons in to paint over it?
Clerk: Wow, I believe you're getting it now sir. But no, please, that would be plain silly. We'll simply charge you a Direction Adjustment Fee plus the difference to $249 on your next purchase.
Customer: Next purchase? No way! I’m out ‘a here
Clerk: At Skyhigh Paints we never forget you have a choice, so thanks for shopping with us. Have a nice day!
Sound at all familiar?