I want to live in a world where you can get your oil changed and aren’t subjected to a five-minute upsell on various fluid replacements and the granddaddy of them all – new air filters. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I’m beginning to believe that each oil change shop has one all-purpose grimy, Darth Vader black, air filter that they keep behind the counter to convince you that you do indeed need to spend upwards of $100 on new ones. And because I was having an annoying morning I floated that idea to the oil change guy.
I told him the air filter he was showing me looked like I daily drove my car into the belly of a coal mine. There was no way that was my filter. Mainly because I just had my filters changed last time. Dropping that bomb got the guy to back off on the upsell which was a good move on his part. There was some bad mojo happening inside my brain and I felt like I was about to lose my mind. I had the tag lines for all the Real Housewives of Atlanta stuck in my head (which FYI is a million times worse than having a song on cranial auto loop) and it’s was making me super cranky.
If you’re right now going huh over the whole tag line thing here’s a quick Real Housewives primer. The opening of every Real Housewives show features the “ladies” (Yep quotes around ladies because the women who are featured as “housewives” don’t demonstrate even remotely the gentle graces of that appellation. If there was truth in tilting all the shows would be called the Real Shrews of Insert City of Your Choice Here.) saying some ridiculous one liner about their lives. For instance on the Real Housewives of New York one unemployed woman, getting a divorce for the last decade, and quite possibly suffering from some sort of Botox poisoning that has led to delayed cognitive skills says “I have a taste for luxury, and luxury has a taste for me.”
When the oil change guy was berating/scaring me about my filter I was this close to belting out Atlanta housewife Kandi Burruss’s tag line from 2015 “I’m not about the drama. Don’t start none, won’t be none” which would have been muy embarrassing. Plus, I know it’s not the oil change employee’s fault he’s aggressively trying to upsell. It’s part of the 21st century retail experience.
There’s not a store I can think of you where you can complete your transaction without some sort of upsell or continued invasion of your privacy. It’s gotten so bad when I check out at Target I immediately look the cashier in the eye and politely state that, “No I do not want a Red card in either debit or credit form.” Even worse are all those stores with point systems and now some retail conglomerates have grown greedy tentacles and created point octopuses. This is where you can sign up for points at say a clothing store and also get gas points at a convenience store that’s not even in your time zone.
It’s so confusing that to use all those points you would need at least a Bachelor of Science in forensic retailing. Forget about the reality TV show Extreme Couponing that’s for amateurs. Clipping coupons and digging through dumpsters for newspaper circulars is downright remedial. The real drama would be watching someone track, sort, and use all their shopping points.
Enter the RPI – Retail Point Investigator. (Think of it as a CSI combined with the shopping acumen of Black Friday groupie.) This breed of scientist would look at your points and determine their DNA (ie what store they really came from), if there’s any cross contamination between retail establishment thus rendering your points invalid, use the latest in mass spectrometry to find important clues like if your points have been combined with your husband’s or if there were cast off points and if there’s trace evidence to suggest if you should be receiving double or bonus points. I can’t be the only one who thinks this would be must watch television. If there’s a CSI:Cyber there’s no reason why there can’t be a CSI: Retail Points Investigator.
Plus imagine the viewing audience it would pull in. Thankfully most of us have lives that aren’t touched by a murder, but all of us have retail points. I’ve already got a great idea for the pilot. A woman walks into an oil change shop and just as the guy is trying to sell her a new filter she whips out a points card. Does the woman buy the new filter with points? Does the oil change guy declare that they no longer honor those points? Is there a throw down? Is it time to call in the Retail Point Investigator? Stay tuned.