Apropos of nothing, my mother forwarded me an email today that I sent her back in 1999. Setting aside the fact that this was eleven years ago and that my mother apparently decided to spend her day reading my decades-old missives, it turns out that there’s a lesson in the story that I was relating to her which still applies in these futuristic times:
…so I’m running an errand at a local QwikCopy (I hate that name) which has me run off 82 SS copies … I get to the cash, and look at their price chart:
8.5 x 11 Self-Serve
I do some quick arithmetic, and mosey on up to the counter:
Me: Hi, I made 82 copies, but I’d like to pay for 100.
CSR: Ummm … but you made 82.
Me: Yes. Charge me for 100, please.
CSR: But you only made 82.
Me: <sigh> Yes, but 82 at 8c/copy is $6.56 … 100 at 6c is $6.
CSR: Oh, you can’t do that.
Me: Would you like me to go make another 18 copies?
CSR: Uhhh …
Me: I can do that, and then throw them away. Seems like a waste.
CSR: We have our prices arranged so you get a discount if you make more copies, though. You’re cheating.
Me: Yes, but to your advantage. How do you make more money by forcing me to make 18 more copies and then charging me LESS than if I’d saved you costs in paper and ink.
CSR: <visibly shaken> But …
Me: Look, I’m not responsible if you’ve set your prices all wonky. If I’d only made 75 (or less) copies, I’d happily pay the 8c per, but as is, making 82 copies is MORE EXPENSIVE than making 100. Where’s my incentive not to copy 18 extra sheets of paper and throw them away?
CSR: I’ve got to ask my boss.
Me: <shaking head> go ahead …
CSR: He’s on the phone. I’ll let you get away with it.
Me: Thanks. Good day!
The lesson isn’t only that it’s important to know your multiplication tables. Pretty sure there’s something else in there about how inflexibility in the face of logic something something.