IF AIRLINES SOLD PAINT
THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE / HUMOR DOCUMENT WAS
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY ALAN HESS, OWNER OF "AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL" IN
BOUNTIFUL, UTAH. HIS WRITING WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN TRAVEL WEEKLY, OCTOBER 1998.
I RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM MR. HESS THAT THIS WORK BELONGED TO HIM AND THAT PROPER
CREDIT WAS NOT PREVIOUSLY GIVEN ON MY SITE.... WELL, AS OF EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 15TH,
2001, I AM HEREBY GIVING HIM CREDIT FOR HIS ORIGINAL MATERIAL. THANK YOU MR. ALAN
Someone recently checked on round-trip fares between Boston and
Washington, DC. There were 105 different fares ranging from $78 to $2028, for the same
flight, same plane, same day, same time. It is entirely possible that no two passengers on
the plane paid the same fare.
If airlines sold paint instead of travel, here's how it'd go:
Customer: Hi, how much is your paint?
Clerk: Well, sir, that all depends.
Customer: Depends on what?
Clerk: Actually, a lot of things.
Customer: How about giving me an average price?
Clerk: Wow, that's too hard a question. The lowest price is $9 a gallon, and we have 150
different prices up to $200 a gallon.
Customer: What's the difference in the paint?
Clerk: Oh, there isn't any difference; it's all the same paint.
Customer: Well, then, I'd like some of that $9 paint.
Clerk: Well, first I need to ask you a few questions. When do you intend to use it?
Customer: I want to paint tomorrow, on my day off.
Clerk: Sir, the paint for tomorrow is the $200 paint.
Customer: What? When would I have to paint in order to get the $9 version?
Clerk: That would be in three weeks, but you will also have to agree to start painting
before Friday of that week and continue painting until at least Sunday.
Customer: You've got to be kidding!
Clerk: Sir, we don't kid around here. Of course, I'll have to check to see if we have any
of that paint available before I can sell it to you.
Customer: What do you mean check to see if you can sell it to me? You have shelves full of
that stuff; I can see it right there.
Clerk: Just because you can see it doesn't mean that we have it. It may be the same paint,
but we sell only a certain number of gallons on any given weekend. Oh, and by the way, the
price just went to $12.
Customer: You mean the price went up while we were talking!
Clerk: Yes, sir. You see, we change prices and rules thousands of times a day, and since
you haven't actually walked out of the store with your paint yet, we just decided to
change. Unless you want the same thing to happen again, I would suggest that you get on
with your purchase. How many gallons do you want?
Customer: I don't know exactly. Maybe five gallons. Maybe I should buy six gallons just to
make sure I have enough.
Clerk: Oh, no, sir, you can't do that. If you buy the paint and then don't use it, you
will be liable for penalties and possible confiscation of the paint you already have.
Clerk: That's right. We can sell you enough paint to do your kitchen, bathroom, hall and
north bedroom, but if you stop painting before you do the bedroom, you will be in
violation of our tariffs.
Customer: But what does it matter to you whether I use all the paint? I already paid you
Clerk: Sir, there's no point in getting upset; that's just the way it is. We make plans
based upon the idea that you will use all the paint, and when you don't, it just causes us
all sorts of problems.