Thursday 08 Dec 2016

Burgers and Fries
Matt Seinberg

My wife and I both work full time. The question we often ask is simple. “What do we want to do for dinner?”

I like to do things the easy way, as do most men. It’s not a matter of being lazy or boring. It’s a matter of what we like to eat. What we like to eat is usually the easiest to find or prepare.

My answer is to fire up the grill. I cook burgers, hot dogs, steak or chicken. I cook whatever is in the fridge or freezer.

My kids are usually happy with a dinner of burgers and fries. Melissa is especially happy if we use cheese and bacon. Of course, we have to have a vegetable of some sort, so once again I’ll take the easy way out and make some corn. Michelle is very happy if I give her some broccoli.

When we go to a restaurant, the server always suggests or asks if you want anything else if you didn’t ask for it, such as an appetizer or an extra side dish. When you go out for fast food, do you notice that the cashier always asks, “Do you want fries with that?” My favourite is, “Do you want to supersize that value meal?”

What the server is asking is, “Do you want to double or triple your calories and get fatter than you already are?” Many people are noticing the USA has the most overweight and obese men, women and children, in the world. It’s no wonder, what with all the restaurants pushing food on us.

“Up-selling,” that is, do you want fries or whatever, is also called suggestive selling. It happens to each of us, all the time, whether we realize it or not. No matter where we shop, someone is always suggesting that we buy something we didn’t intend to buy.

If you shop for electronics, there are plenty of extras. We don’t often think about the extras, which are not even similar to adding fries to your triple burger, with bacon. When you buy a new HD flat screen television, do you want the basic 32” set, but end up with the Internet connected 47” LED HD model. You might be open to suggestive selling.

Did you buy the HDMI cables? You need one of these cables to hook up your cable box or DVR. Do you have a Blu-ray player? Those new HD movies are awesome on a Blu-ray player, but you’ll need another HDMI cable.

To enjoy, fully, your HD television and Blu-ray player, you need a sound bar, probably with a wireless sub-woofer. No, that’s not a small dog, it more of your pocket money staying at the store. Wait, there’s more: you need an optical cable to maximize your sound experience and it costs about $20.

Now, you need to buy a few Blu-ray movies to watch on your new 47” television set that’s two inches, all around, too big for your apartment. Each movie costs $10 or $20. Don’t forget to replace the movies you own, on tape or ordinary DVD, which you haven’t watched. More of your money stays at the store.

Protect your investment, with a pennies-a-day plan offered by the store. Once the original warranty runs out, the extended protection plan helps you. The store will repair or replace your busted electronics, at no charge to you.

If you buy the protection plan, you’re betting on defects. Why are you buying much, much more equipment as you need or can house when you think it’s all defective? Maybe you don’t want to appear cheap in the mind of the sales associate.

I bought warranties in the past; used some, but not others. When I bought my 47” LED HD television last year, I purchased a four year extended warranty. Although I haven’t the need to use it, yet, I did have to use the original warranty several times. To me, that extra four years now seems a good investment.

The next time you go to a nice restaurant, with the family, and the server suggests something else from the menu, look them straight in the eye. Tell them you’d like an extra serving of Blu-ray movies and cables on the side. Don’t forget to make the burger medium well and the fries extra crispy.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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