So, um, I have a little problem.
I don’t have the kids for Thanksgiving this year, so a few months ago Otto and I talked about me heading down there to spend the holiday with him. But then we decided to be responsible adults or something, I don’t know, and upon realizing that 1) plane tickets are expensive and 2) he’d be back up here a few weeks after Thanksgiving, we decided I should probably skip it.
And I was okay with that. Before. But you know, I like him bunches, and as time passes I miiiiiiiiiiiss him. So I thought I’d look into getting down there.
Well! Lucky for me, there are still plane tickets! For the low, low price of a pound of flesh!
So I spent a few days checking the various ticket sites, and then I decided that desperate times called for desperate measures. And I went on that site… you know… the one that’s synonymous with… ummm… Costbar! Yes. Costbar.
First I asked it for a normal ticket, and it came up with a nice list of options for me, ranging in price from “a semester of tuition” to “buy your own plane.” That wasn’t too useful to me, so I clicked the “Name your own price” button and got ready to take my chances.
[Me: So, do you think this’ll work?
Otto: Dunno. Try it and see.
Me: What should I put in as an offer?
Otto: Up to you.
Me: You are… not all that helpful.]
Now, Costbar swears that you can save up to 40%. I figured I’d start off by offering, say, about 20% of the cost of a regular ticket.
[Me: There’s no way it’s going to take this.
Otto: Well, try it.
Me: I am. It wants my credit card information. Does that mean it’s actually going to give me a ticket?
Otto: No, I think they just have to take that so that you’re committed if they find you something.
Me: Hmph. Okay.]
I filled out all of the information it requested and got a blinky “Please hold while we purchase your ticket! Just a few more moments!” screen.
[Me: Holy crap. I think maybe it worked?
Me: It’s still thinking. It can’t possibly have worked. Could it?
Otto: I don’t know.
Me: It’s taking so long. Would it take that long if it wasn’t going to give me a ticket? What’s it DOING?
Otto: I don’t know.
Me: But. But. Oh, hey, the screen is changing!]
Oh, the screen changed alright. It changed to tell me HA HA HA, PUNY CHEAP HUMAN, NO TICKET FOR YOU.
And you know, I expected that. My offer was really low. That’s fine. What I didn’t expect was that, for one thing, it put me back at the starting screen again. If I wanted to make another offer, I had to enter all that information again.
But the kicker was how Costbar tried to reassure me that I was REALLY CLOSE to a viable offer.
[Me: Oh, this is PRICELESS.
Me: It says my offer was rejected, but get this: “If you raise your offer to [price removed due to obscenity and possible coronary-causing effects] Costbar can secure a ticket on your behalf.” That’s only $10 less than the published fare! Don’t do me any favors, Costbar! Sheesh.
Otto: Yeah, but, you save $10 AND the whole pesky choosing-when-to-fly thing. What a bargain.
So much for saving 40%. I may go check a few more times, as Thanksgiving gets closer, just to see if prices drop at all. But my hopes aren’t terribly high. Also I have decided not to trust any other Star Trek personalities who promise me savings. They clearly work on a different commerce system up there.