Friday, June 3, 2011

Preorders: Like Credit Cards, But Backwards

Really, this time. We swear.

I'm told credit cards are a display of trust, on the part of the credit companies. They trust that I'll be able to pay them back later for fronting me some cash.

They also trust that if I'm even a little late, that they can surcharge and fine the hell out of me, up to the point where I have to declare bankruptcy and can't ever again get a credit card with anything resembling a interest decent rate. That's called getting "black-balled," kids and kidettes.

Really, it's a lot like loan-sharking; or, I more accurately suspect, loan-sharking is a lot like credit companies, insofar as it's closer to the original, dirty, pound-of-flesh, Jew-run industry/sin of simony. I think the only difference is that loan sharks retain the right to physically assault you, instead of just ruining you with an endless loop of financial miasma.

Suffice it to say a loan shark will help you pay off a legitimate hospital bill, and a credit card might pay off the hospital bill for not paying your loan shark, but neither will loan you money to pay the bill they send you. (Except those little checks credit companies send asking you to transfer balances.)

Something needs to balance out this social policy. Even money says it's internet preorders.

I pay a company some money up-front, and I trust them to deliver the product when they say they will. Duke Nukem Forever aside, this generally tends to hold up. I even get a discount for agreeing to buy so early. It's like I get to charge them for unreasonably withholding from me something currently unavailable. (Or they're banking that the product will be over-produced and hit the SALE aisle within a month.)

The few times things just die, you also generally get your money back. Hell, the website KickStarter has risen to prominence recently because its whole purpose is to take donations/preorders for projects and then only charge buyers' accounts if a set minimum for funding is reached within the originally allotted timespan. It's like preordering charity.

But here's the magic:

As much as you dread getting that credit card bill come January, bits of tinsel and wrapping paper still cloistered in the far corners of your living room, the potato-y taste of latkes still on your breath weeks hence, internet preorders are just as wonderful an experience.

I preordered the complete Star Wars Saga blu-ray collection six months ago. With the discount, I think I paid like 38% of the retail price. It was glorious. More glorious because back in January I had money. I could afford to spend $80 on a 9-disc collection of six movies I've already bought trice-over. Now? Not so much? But back then I was rolling in it. And I knew this was something I was going to inevitably buy, so I might have well have gotten the best deal I could.

Then I forgot about it.

I honestly forget about it every few months, until another brief geekery news site makes brief mention that it's still forthcoming. And for one split second I worry about affording it–since I still know I need to have it–until that glorious moment I remember the deed is done.

I swear to god, it's like Christmas morning, mixed with Christmas morning with the Red Rider BB Gun from A Christmas Story, mixed with three other Christmases and that spooky-but-awesome feeling of saving the day through time travel magic at the end of every Bill and Ted movie.

I trusted somebody enough to give them a lot of money half a year ago, and in another five months, my favorite thing in the universe is going to simply arrive on my doorstep as if by some kind of Jedi mind trick. It could even arrive early thanks to shipping miscalculation.

And I even put it on my credit card to improve my credit score.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.