I recently took an online IQ test. It was actually pretty interesting, with some of the questions being absurdly easy and others being absurdly difficult. After a good half hour or so spent staring at puzzles, trying to find patterns, with varying degrees of success, I got to the end page and was informed that they now had my IQ.
And it would only cost me ten bucks to get it from them.
Now, here’s the thing, I don’t really have ten dollars to spare. Let’s be honest, I don’t have five bucks to spare. I mean, I’ve got a little bit of money here and a little bit there, but none of it is free. I’ve got bills. I’ve got lots of bills and very little money coming in. I need that cash.
But after half an hour of work, i was invested in it. I wanted that damned score! So I used money that was supposed be set aside for bills.
Honestly, if those assholes took off a few points for everyone who agreed to pay for their score, I wouldn’t blame them.
But the thing that bothers me is that it was a move made in bad faith. And it’s so common that I feel a little silly having been taken in by it.
I remember an episode of Southpark where the parents get suckered into a ‘free weekend’ at an Aspen resort, in exchange for listening to a thirty minute seminar. The thirty minute seminar turns into days trapped in a room being advertised at.
Essentially, this happens all the time. We’re tricked into investing our time and energy, our hopes and dreams, a little piece of ourselves into something with the understanding that we’ll get something pleasant in return. Then, after we’re invested, they add on the monetary price tag. So you’re faced with the frustrating decision of declaring what you’ve already put into it as wasted, or investing just a little bit more. And let’s face it, money doesn’t FEEL like it’s as valuable as time. Sure, when you get a job you sell off your hours, and sometimes you sell them for what feels like a rather steep discount, but emotionally, when you hold up a ten dollar bill and compare that to, say, half an hour of your time, the money SEEMS like it should be worth less.
Part of me feels like this is a lesson in sales tactics. Perhaps I should find a way to use this knowledge to trick people into buying my books. But a larger part of me is just offended that trickery is used in this way. It’s an asshole move, and everyone involved knows it. But dammit, it gets the job done.
After all, I spent ten dollars to find out that I have an approximate IQ of 129. I’d hoped it was higher, but, let’s be honest here, if I was smarter I wouldn’t have taken the damned thing to begin with.