Friday, January 13, 2012

Sneaky Science

For the past year I have had a family membership at the Science Centre.  Generally we have really enjoyed the experience with a few disappointments here and there and on our last visit a couple weeks ago our membership was about to expire.  On the way out the door a random staffer stopped us and asked us if we had considered becoming members.  On finding out that we were already members I was pestered to renew and offered a special rate only available to current members who renew:  $100 for the year.  The "Regular" price is $120 so this special one time only offer was a very big deal and paid for itself in no time don't you see!  I was not particularly interested in being pressured into buying something I am not sure I need at all so I passed on the "Never to be repeated!" offer.

Last night I got a call from the Science Centre offering me a special discounted rate on a family membership - $100!  Of course our membership has since lapsed so this isn't a special 'early renewal' discount but rather a 'please please please give us money' discount.  The funny thing is that the current membership pitch emphasized that I could delay the start of membership to any date I want rather than having to start it up today.  This makes the original pitch of 'renew before you expire' pretty weak, I must say.  The offer came from a real person who actually spoke English, which was a nice change for a telemarketing call, but the person in question was not a very good salesperson.  This is what you get when you hire random desperate students for minimum wage I suppose.  I fully expect to get pitched and sold when I go to a business or when somebody calls me out of the blue but I really didn't expect such flagrant pricing shenanigans from the Science Centre.  Somehow I have an impression of them as a bunch of geeks who just want to share their passion for science with the children of the world when of course they hire a sales director to get membership numbers up just like any other organization.

Despite their pitch being disingenuous and slimy I might still take them up on their offer.  Elli loves going to the Science Centre even though she often spends half of our time there pretending to be a beaver princess in their sad little 'beaver lodge' exhibit.  The science isn't really of much interest to her but it is a fine big place to play.  I wonder if I should try to leverage this to talk to somebody at the Science Centre about my concerns with the place and see what they think about them.  They really do need to get current science exhibits like climate change and the ozone layer up to speed and lots of exhibits need repairing in a big way.

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