If Airlines Sold Paint…
Customer: How much is your paint?
Clerk: Well, sir, that all depends.
Customer: Depends on what?
Clerk: Actually, it depends on a number of things.
Customer: Well, what is your average price for a gallon of paint?
Clerk: Wow-that’s too hard a question. The lowest price is $9 a gallon,
but we have 150 different prices ranging up to $200 per gallon.
Customer: What’s the difference in the paint?
Clerk: There isn’t any difference. It’s all the same paint.
Customer: Well, then, I’d like some of the $9 paint.
Clerk: Well, before I sell you that paint, you need to answer a few
questions. First, when do you intend to use the paint?
Customer: I want to paint tomorrow, on my day off.
Clerk: Well, if you want to use the paint tomorrow, I can only sell you
the $200 paint.
Customer: When would I have to paint in order to get the $9 paint?
Clerk: To get the $9 paint, you would have to use it three weeks from
now, and you have to start painting on a Friday and continue to paint until
Customer: You’ve got to be kidding!
Clerk: Sir, we don’t kid around here. Please wait while I check to see
if we have any $9 paint.
Customer: There’s some on the shelf right there-I can see it!
Clerk: That’s the same paint all right but we can sell only a certain
number of gallons for the weekend that you want to paint. Ooops-the price
just went up to $17 a gallon.
Customer: You mean the price went up while we were talking?
Clerk: Yes, sir. You see, we change prices and rules thousands of times
a day, and since you haven’t actually left the store with your paint yet,
we just decided to raise the price. Unless you want the same thing to
happen again, I suggest you get on with your purchase. How many gallons
do you want?
Customer: I don’t know exactly. Maybe five gallons, no, make it six
gallons so I’m sure I have enough.
Clerk: If you don’t use all the paint, you’ll be penalized.
Customer: But if I’ve already paid for the paint, what does it matter if
I don’t use all of it?
Clerk: That’s just the way it is, sir.
Customer: Well, that does it! I’m going somewhere else to buy my paint.
Clerk: Good luck, sir. All of our competitors have similar rules. You’d
better just buy your paint here, while our lowest price is still $28 a