We had massive hail storms and several tornado touchdowns in Dallas yesterday, and it got me thinking about how different the reporting types of events has changed so drastically. It used to be the you had someone on a horse riding out to the storm to see how big it was, then trying to outrun the storm back to town to warn everyone that the storm was coming. Fast forward quite a bit, and we’ve got the technology to report on a storm in real time, but we still had to send someone out there with a camera and a mic. In times past, you only got a piece of the story: generally, the most juicy piece, which was the size of the storm. A few weeks or a few days later, and you’d get the other juicy piece of the story, the damage.

Yesterday’s “reporters” were real people with smart phones, recording, tweeting, and posting pictures and videos of the storm in real time. It was teachers taking a photo of their third grade class in duck-and-cover position in the hallway. It was high school students tweeting photos of blown out windshields immediately after the storm passed through. It was parents posting Facebook status updates about school closures. It was my husband contacting me on instant message, cell phone, and office phone to make sure I wasn’t in a place where people were live-streaming an approaching twister. These are real people, with real stories, from every angle.

Carwash Pricing

I’m gearing up for an insane week at work and school, so the posting will be a little spotty (kinda like last week, sorry about that!). However, I had to take a moment to write a quick post on an interesting pricing scheme that I saw at the carwash the other day.

There was a sign advertising “Unlimited Monthly Car Washes: Convenient! Save Money! Keep Your Car Clean!!!!!!! Starting at just $30 per month!!!!!!!!” When I came to the price, I was immediately trying to work out how many washes I’d have to get for the pass to be more worth it than the $4 Express Wash that they offer all the time. I’d have to get 8 washes! Now, maybe these washes with the pass are more extensive than the $4 Express Wash, but it seems like this pricing is off, at least if the consumer is smart. Who gets their car washed twice per week? Obviously, the goal with any “unlimited” pricing is to make the price high enough that the person doesn’t get the full use out of it, so the company makes money because customers have effectively paid for a car wash every day, but only end up getting their car washed once a week (or less, if you’re me). They’re hoping customers will see $30, and equate it with a $1 car wash. While this calculation was my first instinct (who doesn’t like simple math, right?), I immediately noticed that something was off about it. Now, I’m not the first person to want to crunch the numbers, but simple division? Even I can figure out that I’m getting jipped if I buy the monthly pass!

So to all the marketers that think their fancy pricing scheme will work, you gotta make it a little less obvious that you’re trying to make sure I don’t get the full value of my purchase! Make sure you look at the cost per use AND the frequency of use before buying “deals” like monthly passes.