Friday, August 12, 2016

Bait and Switch

Bait and switch is when you entice the customer with one offer and then close the sale with another, often inferior product. It's not always a bad thing .. but that's the way to bet.

Scott Adams ('Dilbert') had a recent series of blog posts describing his doomed attempts to buy a truck. The features he wanted were never available and the salespeople jumped through well-practised hoops to persuade him of the superior virtues of a 'deal' for a variant he hadn't actually asked for.

Bait and switch is ubiquitous and often works. The secret is to surreptitiously reprogram the customer. For example, I have ancient memories of going to PC World to buy a beige box computer with surprisingly good performance for the price. I left with a higher-margin laptop, the assistant drawing my attention to the great virtues of portability. I had somehow managed to forget about processor speed and RAM capacity during his spiel.


I visited my aunt a few weeks ago and she waxed indignant about 'Messy Church'. I had not previously heard of the practice of removing the pews and chairs to create a large free area, and then inviting the local youth in to skateboard. They paint and do other 'messy' things too.

My niece, however, was supportive: "How else will we get the next generation of parishioners?"

So this is a bait and switch. What I'm not seeing is the segue between the bait (games) and the final product (religiosity).

The very liberal woman with the high jargon-ratio we heard on YouTube reminded me of the osmosis theory of books. I suppose we shouldn't underestimate the magical miasma emanating from the church walls.

So 'Messy Church' undermines the church as a sacred space, alienates the core believers while failing to actually execute the switch. The tragedy of trendiness, we might call it.


My final example of bait and switch is the attempt by banned Trotskyist groups to re-enter the Labour Party. They claim to have become enthusiastic Corbynistas or Momentum supporters (bait) but covertly wish to reprogram said supporters to good old fashioned revolutionary Marxism (switch).

Which would be fine if they'd had an original thought this last couple of generations.

It would be a foolish organisation which embraced such parasitism.