"Wow!" What an amazing selection of jewelry you're offering in this store."
"Thank you Sir. We try to have everything a discriminating customer might be looking for. What might I help you with today? Something for a lady perchance"?
"Yes, I'm interested in a ring for a lady."
"Would that be friendship or something more"?
"Well, I'm not sure at the moment. It might be friendship or perhaps, I'm not sure, but maybe for an engagement. I don't know...but why don't you let me see a sample of something that could be for either. Kinda modest price, but not too cheap, if you know what I mean."
"That's easy Sir. We sell only one ring for that type of situation. It's just the price that varies depending on exactly what occasion you want it for."
"Wait a minute! Do you mean that the same ring can cost me more or less just depending on what I want to do with it?"
"That's correct Sir. For instance, if it is to commemorate a one-night, or less, stand we practically give the ring away. But for an engagement, well, let's simply say that it can get expensive."
"Hell, I can't see how the ring could cost you more at wholesale merely because at sometime later a customer wants to give it away as an engagement ring instead of as a friendship throw-away kind of thing. Seems to me you're simply out to rip people off in some cases. I could simply lie and say it was for one thing, when it would actually be for something else, couldn't I?"
"Sir, we deal with a quality customer base. It used to be called the 'carriage trade.' They don't need to lie. People who need to lie should shop at the bargain basements where they are among their own kind! Anyway Sir, it's not the cost to us, but the cost to you that is the controlling factor here."
"Aw crap! I just don't get it. If it's the price I have to pay, then it already is the cost to me that we're talking about!"
"Sir, I think I see the problem. Among our customers, money is really never a concern. 'Cost' to them is always a question of what choices they have to give up. Wealth, after all, is simply a question of what options a person has or doesn't have. If they are giving away a 'friendship' trinket and making no commitments about their future, there is really little or no cost to them. But if they are commiting to something such as, say, an engagement, their loss of choices would be so drastic that they would consider the ring extremely expensive. Therefore, they would rightfully expect to pay an extremely high price for it. Do you understand me better now?"
"I sure do! It's plain that you have a way of getting a lot of something for nothing. It's not fair to charge more based on somebody's commitment to a relationship or lack of it, while that ring is the same piece of junk either way."
"Excuse me please Sir, but you're wrong. Doesn't a giver value the sex given in a realationship differently on the basis of whether it's a one-night stand rather than a promise of marriage with lifetime love and affection? But, in reality, aren't they just giving away the same old sex that they always give but at different prices depending on whether somebody has been lucky enough to catch a live one ?"