Speaking of consumerism, let me tell you about our experience this weekend. Dena has been bugging me to go to this Direct Buy open house. You've seen the ads on TV? They'll save you money buy allowing you to buy direct! Yeah, right. I knew I was in trouble when I found out that it's an invite only, "open house" to a membership club. Sounded sort of time sharey to me.
But, in true supportive spouse fashion and a little "I'll do anything to make my girlfriend happy" thrown in for good measure, I went. I was a skeptic when I watched the ad on TV and turned more sceptical the moment we were greeted at the front door. We were immediately assigned a "greeter or guide" who takes us to a table, chats us up, feeds us donuts and coffee and tries to make us at ease. Mr. Slick #1 we'll call him. Then at the appointed hour we are ushered along with other "families" to the presentation room. Mr. Slick #2 gives a little spiel and we watch some truly horrible presentation. The presentation was so repetitious I thought I would knife myself. It was definitely written to the lowest common denominator but really points towards brain washing. Join and we will save you money on all your large purchases. After all, you're going to buy it anyways, right?
Also during the presentation Mr. Slick #2 engages the audience in direct participation, a very basic tactic in direct pushy sales. Near the end of the presentation the bomb is dropped. $6,000 to join for the first two years and $ 200 per year thereafter. You'll save that right, because after all, you "consume" ~ $ 15,000 in consumer large goods every year, so imagine what buying power you'll have now! Who are they kidding? In this economy? They tried to tell me that you buy a fridge every 8 - 10 years. Are you kidding??? I make that son of a bitch last til it leaks all over the kitchen!
After the presentation we are ushered out into the showroom (a big room with tons of manufacturer's catalogs) and our "guide" meets us. We're back to Mr. Slick #1. Dena wanted to find out about their kitchen cabinets. She wanted to know if they were green. I wanted to know their price on bamboo flooring because I thought it was my chance to find out inside info because G-D knows I'm not joining! I'll give you that six grand over my dead body. So we met their very inexperienced kitchen designer and during that process we are suddenly surrounded by 4 people. Seriously, surrounded. my mind immediately shifted to the flight or fight philosophy. Neither won and instead I gave an excellent barb into Mr. Slick #2. In his effort to "get to know me" he admitted he was Microsoft Certified. I replied, "If you're a propeller head then what the hell are you doing here selling memberships?" I left him speechless and the circle of sales terror was broken. hehe
I did however, find out the price of bamboo "hand shaved" flooring, $ 3.99 per square foot. It varies from $ 2.99 to $3.99 manufacturer's cost. I'll let you know if that's really a bargain when I go to the flooring store. You MUST join right then and there, no thinking about it. You wil never be invited back. That's some high pressure. Oh, by the way, if you join, you can never use the pricing info to bargain with retailers, an 8% "handling fee" is added to all orders except some electronics, all purchases must be picked up at the Direct Buy warehouse and there is like a five week delivery on just basic normally in stock stuff. Run I say, RUN!!! If you are susceptible at all to high pressure sales, do not even enter the building.
Search the web if you don't believe me, use direct buy opinions as a starting search.