Image:Would you like fries with that? I was in Best Buy yesterday, picking up a few cables for my new home theatre system (which I will soon blog about).  On impulse, I decided to buy a Wireless Thermometer, which seemed like a great deal at only US$12.99.  I think I'm going to end up nuking myself with all the wireless/cordless things around here, but this one makes sense -- put the outdoor temperature sensor someplace innocuous, and you can put the base station someplace practical.

Anyway, in a sad testimonial to pre-programmed sales clerks, the guy at Best Buy asked me if I wanted to purchase the extended warranty for this thermometer.  Yes, a US$13 purchase -- with a US$6 extended warranty available.  Can anyone explain a) the economics (50% of purchase price) and b) why bother?  

There seems to be a resurgence of the "would you like fries with that?" type of transactional interaction in US retail of late.  Buy a cable at Radio Shack -- the come-on is "you always need some more batteries, right?" (Ironically, that's what Best Buy's geek should have asked -- this thing needs six AAA batteries, and I don't have 'em).  My local supermarket has an "extreme value of the week" that the cashier mentions at the start of every check-out transaction (which is why I use self-service more and more).  And I don't know how many times I've been offered to "save 10%" of late with pitches for store-branded credit cards -- I even get this pitch when I am in fact using said store-branded card!

I think I'm going to go back to buying everything on eBay.

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