Pay to play

Trout Republic

No matter where you look these days it seems that the new fad is that you have to pay a fee to be a part of something.
Not including TV preachers and their money laundering scams, every day we are inundated with retailers wanting us to pay to even enter their establishments.
Back in Kansas during my younger years, to scoot around blue laws banning alcohol, people would need to become a member of a drinking establishment. Somehow paying a membership fee got you immunity from the law and you were free to imbibe of the spirits of your choice with impunity. Pay to play?
Not to be left out big box stores started charging memberships to people so that they then had the “privilege” of shopping there. Now Ol’ Dutch has been around the proverbial block multiple times and that to me is the ultimate marketing ploy of the century.
Gone are the days when stores would run sales to entice a customer to come in the doors and it’s been replaced by the need to have permission via a card.
Not only that, but they even have “bouncers” stationed at the doors to “eject” any nonmembers along with a good dose of shame for not being one. If you try and enter a brass band comes out playing a loud tune, a clown runs circles around your shopping cart and your name and shame are announced loudly over the intercom for the entire store to hear.
I guess that’s the costs of being able to buy toilet paper by the pallet load and poor Miss Trixie misses out on that as I am not paying to play or paying to pay as is the case with these stores.
Amazon that great big box store in the sky, also has their own form of pay to play as they have what they call a “Prime Membership.” Miss Trixie ever the savvy shopper (she just got $40 brand-new Halloween Costumes for $1) had one of these prime deals when I met her and soon, I was indulging in free shipping and better yet, free returns on almost every product they carry.
But to play along on this adventurous home shopping game you have to pay a fee upfront every year thereby lining the pockets of Amazon even further.
The list of stores requiring paying to play is long and now include Sam’s Club, Costco, BJ’s, FedMart and Price Club who are the big boys on the block but even some of the sporting goods places have memberships now that you have to buy in order to get the discounts as advertised.
What is amazing is the marketing that had to occur to get people to “want” to be a member and be willing to pay to be one.  If they had tried this 40 years ago no one would have even shopped there. But now it’s somehow considered a privilege to be able to enter the hallowed doors of the mega stores or online plethora of goods and services.
The State of Colorado has their own form of paying to play with the Big Game Lottery held every year.
Seeing the massive demand for hunting licenses each year, the powers that be soon latched onto the idea that those same people would be a great source of revenue if they were forced to pay a fee just for a “chance” at drawing a license.
And even though Ol’ Dutch is the ultimate tight fisted Scotchman as far as money is concerned, I have to play that game regardless of the costs and I hate it.
Being the son of a preacher also causes issues with that process and the others as it seems like a form of gambling, which I am told is unchristian, as you pay for a chance to win or to get a better price.
So I got to thinking (a dangerous activity according to Miss Trixie) that maybe I can get a religious exemption for all these places that require said memberships thereby saving a ton of money every year on shopping. And in doing so be able to fund more hunting and fishing expeditions to boot.
Long live the Church Of The Non Membership Assembly! May we ever be free to exercise our choices in life and avoid the conspiracy to bring us under the control of Mammon.
 Kevin Kirkpatrick and his Yorkie, Cooper, fish, hunt, ATV or hike daily. His email is [email protected] Additional news can be found at or on Twitter at TroutRepublic.


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