Sunday, April 24, 2005

A Brief Editorial from the Institute's Resident of the John Locke Chair

I received a check for $50 in the mail on Friday (yes there is mail service on The Natural Holiday of All the Humankind) . However confident I was that I deserved this recompense, I was clueless as to precisely what for. The envelope and the check did little to alleviate my stumpification. It looked like a rebate check but a quick scan of my accounts receivable provided no illumination.

Mrs. On found some small type on the stub that seemed to reference Samsung. I purchased one Samsung flat panel monitor about 6 months ago, but I thought I had received all payments for paying for this product, thus closing the file on this procurement. Fortunately Mrs On correctly recollected there were two rebates involved in this very complicated business transaction, one for $125 and one for $50.

I find rebates detestifiable, if not somewhat insulting. I know the corporations that use this marketing technique have employed statisticians to calculate the likelihood that I will actually send in the receipt, proof of purchase and fill in the brief questionnaire. I am sure they know the exact percentage of people who will respond based on the dollar value of the rebate offered. For small rebates they are counting on most of us throwing the crap on the to do pile and never "to do'ing" it. They draw you in with an advertised rebated price and then over-charge you, making you hassle with a bunch of paperwork or you get screwed. Nice.

It's like Las Vegas bookmakers are setting odds on my putting off sending in a rebate until I forget all about it. In my case, the odds are pretty damn good, but not on $175. That I sent off for, straightaway, the second time Mrs. On reminded me. These Samsung so and so's had over-charged me, and then kept the money they owed me for almost 6 months. 6-8 weeks my ass. I am so pleased I could help make their fourth quarter of 04 books look good, letting them pay me back for doing business with them whenever they damn well felt like it.

Well, Mr or Mrs, Corporate rebate peoples, I don't want to play your games anymore. How was I supposed to know you wanted the serial number of my camcorder and not the product ID number? There is no chance the instructions were meant to enigmify? Is there?

From now on, if there is a product even close in price and quality to your rebated item, I will buy it. If you want my business, send your number cruncher home, he is a smart guy, I am sure he will find something more productive to do. Use the savings to give me the best price you can. I will give you money, you give me your product, let's leave the Postal Service out of this transaction.