I am becoming amazed how in the consumer society I live in it is difficult just to buy one thing. If you use on line sites it is even before you check out that they tell you ‘People who bought this, also bought that’. And the pressure to consume doesn’t end there. The next few days afterwards your ‘in box’ is filled with suggestions and offers all tailor made for you by the algorithms the site uses based on your purchase, or sometimes simply your search history.
At times this can be quite amusing. As you will see from elsewhere on this site, some of my longer writings are available as ‘print to order’ paperbacks. When I was uploading one of these and building the link to this site what I received was a suggestion that I might like to buy another of my books! I wonder if this happens to better selling authors than me as well?
There’s nothing wrong with this, no matter how annoying it can be at times. It’s called related sales. I first learnt about this in a shoe shop. There, when you buy a pair of shoes, they will offer you suitable polish for them. After my last eye test the optician suggested some cleaning fluid and eye drops for my tired eyes. Just good sales practise.
But I’ve seen a new trend that I find a little more worrying.
Take mobile phones. More and more these days they are being sold by the quality of the camera in them. It can take a while to sort that out but I think I’ve got it. If you have a better camera – particularly with a video option – you’ll want to share the fruits of your labours. To do this you’ll have to use the provider’s network. And the more you do it, the more they can charge you.
A similar trend has begun to appear with new cars. I’ve seen at least two companies pushing the ability of the car to link to your mobile phone. This can be to make your journey to your next appointment easier – by priming the on board navigation system – or more enjoyable – by letting you play your on phone downloaded music through the car’s music system. Whatever happened to map books and cassettes – sorry CD’s – or am I just that old?
But with both of these examples you have to watch the small print. For the mobile phone as well as the not clear upfront cost of connecting to the service provider in the first place, you can see that some services require access to the 5G network which still doesn’t provide universal coverage. With the car/phone interface it’s even more subtle – and the print is even smaller! Not only do you require a certain version or newer of a certain type of handset, you also need a subscription to a specific ‘add on’ for that handset.
Some of you may be wondering about the title to this thought. It stands for what you see is what you get. In the two examples I’ve used above you have to look closely, very closely, to see what you are actually getting. And I believe it is the same in many other aspects of our daily lives.
But there’s one place I am certain where what you get is perfectly clear. God offers each one of us total, unconditional, sacrificial love through the life, death and resurrection of his only son Jesus Christ. And there is no small print associated with you freely accepting that love. No matter how much some others try to impose some on it.