Economics of annoyance

I went out to go replace my car’s stereo this morning, and the place I went was out of the particular harness or whatever to fit my car, so they gave me two options:
– wait for them to go get it
– go pick the part up myself from the other store and bring it back for $10 off my tab

I almost had to bust out laughing, and not for the obvious reason. I realized immediately that there were actually three options:

– wait for them to get it
– go to this other branch, pick up the harness, drive it back for them to get a $10 reward, have them install it, go home
– go this other branch and buy the whole thing from them, have them install it, go home

Option 1 is a little annoying, but not a huge deal.
Option 2 is frankly ludicrous. It’s barely worth the gas, much less my time, to do this.
Assuming I’ve got a little time on my hands and don’t mind driving, I’d go for Option 3.

At which point, the original store (and the sales guy who made me the offer) is out the commission on the whole job. That’s a fair chunk of money.

And then I started asking some other questions:
Why would you even make me that offer?
Would the other branch be honorable enough to not mention that as long as I was up there… ?
Does anyone ever take them up on an offer like that?

Really, if you’ve gone into a place in order to get your replacement deck installed by someone qualified rather than order it off the Internet and do it yourself or go to some cut-rate place and trust your car to some random guy with a power drill, you’re obviously willing to pay some premium for convenience and assurance.

I’m surprised they’d even let me know that another specific location had all the parts, allowing me to figure out that the option existed.

One thought on “Economics of annoyance

  1. David J Corcoran

    And that right there is the difference between living in a big city and a small town. In a big city, it doesn’t matter who you give your business to. It’s all about getting the best deal.

    In a small town, you’d take Option #1 or 2 because it was downright neighborly for them to even give you that option. On the other hand, in a small town they’d recommend you’d use the other guy because he has all the parts. You’d then still take Option #1 because it was downright neighborly of them to forfeit your business.

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