What If Other Goods and Services Were Sold Like Timeshares?

Call me a masochist, but sitting through a timeshare presentation has always been on my bucket list. Ok, not really, but when the GF called and said, “Hey, I got 5 Days and 4 nights in a Hilton Vegas Resort for $200, I just gotta go to this presentation thing, wanna go”? -I was all in.  She even said she’d brace the presentation by herself, but who wants to miss THAT?

Rather than bore you with all the ways this is not a good deal, my mind turned to what if  other goods and services were sold the same way?

Imagine getting an email from your favorite grocery store. “Hi, Safeway Customer!!!   We see from your Safeway frequent flyer card that you buy groceries. A LOT of groceries.  SOOO many groceries in fact, we see you REALLY like to eat!  How would you like 4 days and three nights of groceries in MIAMI, FLORIDA for $50?  All you have to do is attend our presentation on our irresistible grocery OWNERS club?!?!”    So, one click, $800 of airline tickets and you’re in

You show up for your 10:30 appointment time and …. you wait for 15 minutes. What makes you more anxious to buy something than someone being disrespectful of your time? (Think doctors, cable repairmen and toll booths)

Finally, you and a large group of your fellow Safeway shoppers are ushered into a rather typically decorated hotel seminar room decorated in “high fever, blood drained from your face” beige with a 70 inch TV screen in the front of the room. Your host, a tall handsome, salesman named John takes the front of the room. He laughs, painfully and insincere, at all his jokes no one else laughs at.

He launches into his very scripted presentation which goes something like this. “Who likes to eat?”  (Only a few hands). (We’re going to hear 90 “raise your hand questions” in 30 minutes which soon makes me wonder if they’re trying to sell something or just lack creativity at Simon Says).  “Who buys groceries”?   (Pic of people buying groceries in Paris).  “Who LOVES food” (pic of grocery buying in London- you can feel the excitement building in the room)

“I’m now gonna answer the three questions you’re dying to know”.  “First, how long is this gonna take””.  90 minutes.  The other two questions, which I have now forgotten were also answered by -lies.

“What if you could have two weeks of groceries every year for –$59?”   “Pic of people buying groceries in San Francisco”. “Wouldn’t you love that”? (Pic of people buying groceries in the Maldives”).

“Right now, you just go to the grocery store and BUY groceries.”  (Pic of grocery shopping in Bali). “But what if you OWNED part of the grocery store”.  “You could walk in and just take groceries out in a percentage of your ownership- for almost nothing!”   (Wait, didn’t you say I had to buy part of the grocery store? Pic of grocery shopping in the Grand Canyon)

“Now this is not a timeshare.  This is a prepaid ownership points system.   We sell different ownership percentages from a teenie weenie bit to a whole lot!!  We use a point system because if you wanna buy groceries in a  blizzard nobody wants to eat at the airport in Detroit you get FOUR WEEKS of Groceries, but if you want healthy delicious food at Christmas in Paris, you get 48 hours”.

You then get your personal salesman, Mike, who takes you on a tour of the grocery store you’ve shopped in many times before and repeats, ad nauseam, much of what Snake Oil John said. The one question he claims to beyond his pale of understanding like “what caused the Big Bang” is “what does this cost?”   I know, cause like a prosecutor in Law and Order, I rephrased this question a dozen different ways.

It is now 105 minutes in. I have behaved up until this point. Until, he asks, “if we actually DID tell you what this cost, would you buy today?”   Apparently, suggesting that this one question is used by every scam artist selling used cars purchased out of a flood to Ponzi schemes was taken personally.  We were immediately taken to Jay to sign out where we were required to listen to what caused the Big Bang.  Meaning – cost

Jay was a nice Asian guy who sat down and started to listen to the Mike go through a word by word recitation of what had taken place the last 105 minutes. I angrily interrupted to say that we were told this would be 90 minutes total, that they were 15 minutes over time, and that even cars had stickers on the window to tell you the cost and even car dealers, at some point brought in the finance guy. Jay also took this personally and claimed he was only doing his job.  I calmly said I was not addressing my anger to him, as a sociopath thief, but to Sociopathic Thieves, Inc for whom he worked. This resulted in an immediate pricing. $10,000 payable $2500 up front, with payments of $250 a month at 14%-24% credit card interest for 10 years plus a maintenance fee of $1000 a year, forever.  For a weeks worth of groceries. I assume the lack of attraction for prepaying $30,000 worth of groceries where you would not reach the break even retail point and get a discount for 20 years needs no explication.

Health care-imagine the same scenario above except your paying a high monthly payment to Medicare or health insurance for health care you may or may not need, where you have less buying power for the best healthcare when and how you need it- oh wait, bad example. Healthcare IS A timeshare.

Advertisements

Treating Exercise Injury With The Inner Child R.I.C.E Method

You may know that the common medical advice for treating soft tissue injury is the R.I.C.E. method:  Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate.  Your inner child however, prefers Reinjure, Ignore, Curse, Exhort (or entreat).  

Sitting here in week 4 of hamstring tendonitis, I’ve come to realize, from  9 years anecdotal, strictly non scientific, non statically valid samples, that there may be others, like me, who prefer to address their injuries from a strictly emotional, inner child point for view. (This also has applications for why people,especially men, avoid regular medical checkups or any of the assorted medical screenings which catch cancer earlier and reduce mortality).  I know many of you who know what you’re talking about by virtue of training or expertise in medicine, physical therapy, exercise physiology , etc., are all be shaking your heads right now, but there are completely valid logical reasons for this irrational emotional response.  

There will be times during your life when you feel completely fine (for which you should express constant gratitude to your God, source, science or your lucky draw of probability) but these periods decline exponentially as one ages.  Therefore, at any given time, something in your body is going to hurt.  There are two causes for these injuries.  Doing nothing or doing something.  Those who exercise have formed a firm belief the pains from doing something are better (less debilitating) than those from doing nothing.  That’s because 99% of us, (excepting Olympic and professional athletes) have gone though long periods of time of doing nothing.  What is more painful or humiliating then throwing out your back reaching across the Baskin Robbins counter for your ice cream cone.  Who hasn’t heard some one say, “Really, I wasn’t doing anything, I just reached over to load the dishwasher and a disc in my spine exploded like a firecracker in an empty soda bottle!”

When you begin an exercise program everything hurts. All the time. The first workout, walk, run, yoga class, weight training session leaves you so sore, getting to the bathroom seems like a lottery win.  You wonder if this is what death feels like. Your ego suggests that maybe, avoiding exercise will avoid this pain.  You may even be sore for days.  But your body tricks you. Quickly you’re not sore again so you work out again. More pain.  Quicker recovery. Somehow, your rational brain over rides this self-preservation instinct and  you establish some kind of routine.  Soon however, the exercise starts causing the same rush of endorphins that you were previously happy to get from smoking, drug use, gambling, shoe shopping, sex, or soduku. You notice you actually feel better!!!   Here’s where the body gets really sneaky.  Soon you notice you don’t get sore the next day, maybe just later that day. Then that gets better.  Your recovery time decreases. You’re lulled into a sense of perpetual physical self-improvement.  But the body is not finished setting this devilish trap for you. 

Inevitably however you reach that time when work, vacation, family obligations or something else silly causes you to mix one or more of your exercise sessions.  You go back only to realize that even though you only missed three days, it’s like starting the program over from scratch.  You re visibly pissed only to be calmed down by the short period it takes to get back to where you were. 

One day you work out as normal and something doesn’t feel quite right. Later your arm, leg, lower upper back, knew, ankle, foot, neck hurts.  You immediately pay attention.  Maybe you do something rational like rest it, baby it, take an anti inflammatory. The pain is gone the next day.  You feel like a cubicle worker who just found out the office is closed tomorrow for a snow day.  You got outta prison early.  Unlike the cubicle worker however, as you increase your exercise addiction to a 7 day a week thing, these pain days are more frequent.  And, like Pavlov’s dog, you learn to ignore these little aches and pains because they will all be gone in a day or two.  Until one isn’t. And, you don’t want to take time off and go backwards.  The loss of benefit from exercise starts as soon as the workout is over. .Hence, step one- Reinjure.  Why rest when you know this pain is only temporary.  You can’t be a wuss or and skip every exercise session cause one body part is being pissy.  So you go back out. And reinjure it again. And again.

This bring em to the second step- ignore the pain injury. I finally worked my way up to a “no exercise if limping rule”. (Or a fever above 102). (Or severe gastrointestinal illness because well, who,didn’t have that happen to them in elementary school?). From anecdotal evidence, most folk’s inner child developed different time periods for the ignore time period, for me currently it’s 2 weeks.   I’m hoping to build up to a month soon.   Anyway, you know realize you have… what’s the medical term, oh, right “f#%^ed yo shit UP”.   Now, you know, from past experience that if you go to the doctor with a “soft tissue” injury (soft tissue is anything that is not a bone sticking out of your bleeding “soft tissue”, they are going to palpitate, massage, poke, prod and otherwise feel around your injured soft tissue, look at you very compassionately and say “you have f#^*ed yo shit UP” and you should rest, ice the soft tissue (or heat- “ice or heat” is apparently a bigger mystery than what caused the Big Bang), buy a girdle appliance for your afflicted part, and elevate it. So, at this point you skip the doctor and curse.   Here’s a big tip- just curse in general, like a venting do not curse AT the soft tissue.  Some people prefer a cursing which completely runs through every profanity they know- I prefer picking one and repeating it quickly, like combination of a tongue twister and mantra.  Try it, pick your favorite curse word and repeat it as quickly as possible in your own mind silently and see how much better you feel.  If you curse AT the body part- well, Katie bar the door, because the mind-body connection is well documented scientifically and psychologically.  This means, simply that if you cuss AT the body part, it is going to compound your injury.  It will escalate.  In other words, your knees say, “Yeah?!?!?  Ok, then, I’m gonna f#%€ Yo shit up even worse!!”  

And this bring us to the final step in our inner child acronym or “exhort”. Or “entreat”.  I prefer the terms beg, plead and whine, but I needed an “e” word for the acronym and only those pedantic e words were an option.  Anyone who’s ever experienced a difficult relationship with a significant other, parent  or child understands the exhort, entreat, beg, plead or whine stage.  So you also know how well that works. 

 So, there you go, the R.I.C.E method,  re injure, ignore, curse and exhort.  I’ve been doing that for the last week after my massage therapist, chiropractor and yoga instructor all suggested I not exercise for a bit and let this tendon heal.  The yoga instructor even suggested a take 10 (TEN days off). (Pfffft- what does that PhD, 500 hr yoga certified, anatomy expert, 20 years fitness experienced guru know?!)

I guess if all else fails, I’ll tell my inner child what I tell it anytime when adulting is required. I won’t be happy about it, though. And, It’s gonna require Ben and Jerry’s.