Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Service Counters in America

Skippy - hey Buzz - nearing Tax time, what's news?

Buzz - hey Skippy - well, with prices up on everything (due more to the ongoing doubling of the money supply more than anything else) a quick plastics related "only in America story" as a bit of comic relief -

Seems that I have a project involving coloring some special white tinted plastic additive to add to virgin resin - I'd like the the final color of the additive to be the same color as the final plastic parts. I head down to the store and ask the two guys behind the counter "who's the painting expert? I have a special project I would like to ask you about."

One of the two steps forward to volunteer. I share that I have an experiment that requires adding some pigment to a 'white' liquid additive for plastics and need a color matching process - just like the kind you put into the paint you sell - I was wondering if you would color match this piece of plastic, then squeeze out the special color stuff you would normally add to a gallon of white paint -

and just sell me the special color stuff . . .

Skippy - Seems easy enough.

Buzz - yes, seems. The paint expert tells me to “Hold on now, the special color stuff is VERY expensive - its, well . . .
its SO expensive . . .”, and as he is trailing off, it seems apparent that he doesn't even KNOW how much a single cartridge of any particular color is.

“Hang on.” he says and heads to the back. I guess the gal he was talking to was his mom who probably cuts all the checks. He tells her the tale in shorthand - "This guy wants to buy some color for paint; without buying the paint . . . what should I tell him?"

After just a few seconds thought she stage whispers back
"Gee, that special color stuff is VERY expensive.
Its, well, so its SO expensive I don't even KNOW how much
a single cartridge might be . . .
Hmm, what to charge him - $25.00? $50.00?"

By this time, the silence in the place is deafening; everyone in the place is listening . . . you know, like the old commercial where someone says "Well, EF H*TTON is my broker and he says . . ."

Skippy - This doesn't seem to be moving along very well.

Buzz - Exactly, so I decide to sweeten the offer – “How about,” I say, “if I BUY a gallon of white paint, and you MATCH the piece of plastic I have, but give me the special color stuff "on the side" like so much salad dressing and I'll mix it myself . . .”

BINGO! NOW we're cookin’ with gas. Our paint expert jumps right into action and does the color match on the plastic piece lickety split and

'Mom' jumps back in with two suggestions -

a) he (me) will have to buy a small container for the special color stuff (“Gee whiz, if I have to I say, ok.”) and

b) "Don't sell him a gallon of the tint base if he isn't really going to mix it - sell him a gallon of the flat ceiling white - he might actually use that." (Again I say "Ok” - after all it's much (get this) ... CHEAPER than the tint base . . .)

Skippy - So how does the check out go?

Buzz - Well, it comes time to tally the damages. "How much is the gallon of paint going to cost me?", I inquire. "$21.00" is the reply. "Ok, so how much" I press, "is the small container for the special color stuff?"

"Well, that will be another $.99", comes the reply.

"Now, (finally) how much is the special color stuff going to cost me?",

"Well, that's FREE because it's part of the cost of the paint . . ."

Skippy - (speechless, sharp intake of breath)

Buzz - Wait for it, it gets better.

I think about the process for a moment or two and then ask -

"If I have any paint left over from the project, can I bring it back?"

Ok now all you RHPS fans - you know you're thinking ANTICI –

PATION . . .

Sure, just bring back any unopened cans for a refund . . .” he says.

True story - only in America

Just our two cents
Skippy and Buzz

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