I know we’re beginning the holiday season, but I need to get something off my chest.  So, in the best curmudgeon voice I can muster, let me tell you what really bugs me about this season of shopping.

You wander into a store, you cast your doubts aside, and you finally make a selection.  Yes, you’ve done your research, and you feel pretty good about that selection you’ve just made.  The sales person even congratulates you and whispers, “If it were me, I’d be buying the same thing too.”  But then this happens…

“For a few dollars more, we can put an extended warranty on this product to make sure it continues to perform properly.”  Really?  Wait a minute – I thought you cast your doubts aside, did your research, and felt pretty good about it because you were convinced the product you were buying was already built to perform properly!

It seems you can’t buy anything these days without the mandatory, “for a few dollars more…” When I’m in a feisty mood, I like to fire back a question or two of my own:

“Why would I do that?  Are you planning on selling me a product that has a history of not working properly?”

I know, I know, stop messing with the messenger, but exactly when did it become okay for manufacturers to build products with the motto, “We build our products to last, but we have no intention of standing behind that claim, so if you want to make sure we know what we’re doing, you can protect yourself by paying more.”

When did we become so accepting of this practice and become like sheep, simply accepting this scam? Well, to borrow a line from an old movie called Network, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

What’s next?  Will we soon be hearing this from the restaurants we frequent when we order our dinner?  “That’s a fine selection Mr. Jolles, and it happens to be my favorite dish!  Now, for a few dollars more, I can make sure the cook prepares it properly for you.”

Maybe you’ll be interested in a hotel idea I’ve been kicking around.  I call it, “For a Few Dollars More Lodging.”  At this hotel, you can choose to stay in some of our rooms that may be safe and clean, honestly, we’re not too sure… but, “For a Few Dollars More” we’ll make sure you’re satisfied and protect your stay with a guarantee!

Think about it; what business would charge once for services offered, and then follow that with an option – at a higher price – to make sure those services really will provide a long-term successful solution?!

A simple solution to this nonsense would be this: Businesses need to stop baiting consumers with lower prices, and instead, charge a price that assures quality.  Quite frankly, I’d prefer businesses build the cost of standing behind a product into the cost of the product, and spreading that cost out amongst all of its customers.  Businesses need to know that we really are interested in our product purchase lasting a reasonable length of time.

Enjoy your holiday shopping, and get ready to answer the, “for a few dollars more…” question, because it’s coming.  If you get tongue-tied, just do what I do and tell them, “No.  I’m going to roll the dice and assume this manufacturer knew what they were doing.  Wish me luck!”





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