Refunders vs hoarders

This is completely irrelevant and overly nuanced, but it’s what I want to write about today….

Duane Jones, in his wonderful little book about advertising and human nature, gets hardass at times. He talks openly about forcing a purchase. Here he’s discussing the money-back guarantee:

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Mr Burke was silent for a while. At last he said: “Jones, that’s the craziest idea I ever heard. Why man, it would break the company! Redemptions would put us out of business!”

“No, redemptions will be nil. Lethargy and procrastination will hold redemptions to a minimum. Housewives will buy the soap, intending to write in and save the cost, but procrastination will intervene. It takes time to write even a 25-word letter. Most housewives will put it off till tomorrow, and tomorrow will never come.”

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Calling it lethargy is unfair. He’s starting with an economist’s assumption of robotic money machines who always seek minimum price.

Normal people, especially in the era when Jones was writing, are strongly inclined to hoard against bad times.

When I receive a free sample, or when I accidentally buy an item that isn’t the ‘right’ kind, I don’t even think about guarantees. If it’s useless I toss it. If it’s likely to be useful I keep it. When I unexpectedly run out of the ‘right’ kind of shampoo or soup, the ‘wrong’ kind is better than nothing at all.

I demanded a refund exactly once. Last year I bought a license for Poser version 12, and then found out that v12 “innovatively disrupted” all of my hard work.  It was a direct personal insult and personal theft.

In general, non-refunding is a productive attitude, not mere laziness. Habitual refunders are cheaters.

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