Permission to publish article

Stacy at Stacy at
Fri Mar 28 07:35:23 PDT 2008

To Whom It May Concern:


I am executive assistant to Mr. Alan Hess, author of the copyrighted article
"If Airlines Sold Paint" originally published in Travel Weekly in October of
1998.  Since that time, the "Paint" satire has been widely circulated on the
Internet, without any citation of authorship.  Mr. Hess is flattered that
you like his work well enough to include it on your website.  


When he has been asked for permission to print it in various publications,
including university text books, Mr. Hess has freely given that permission.
If you wish to continue to use the article, please include the following


Printed with permission.  C Alan H. Hess, 1998.  All rights reserved.


Thank you,


Stacy Hoeksel

Assistant to Alan H. Hess

stacy at




The correct text of the satire is as follows:


If airlines sold paint


Buying paint from a hardware store

Customer:             Hi, how much is your paint?

Clerk:                     We have regular quality for $12 a gallon and
premium for $18.  How many gallons would you like?

Customer:             Five gallons of regular quality, please.

Clerk:                     Great.  That will be $60 plus tax.



Buying paint from an airline

Customer:             Hi, how much is your paint?

Clerk:                     Well, sir, that all depends.

Customer              Depends on what?

Clerk:                     Well, actually a lot of things.

Customer:             How about just giving me an average price?

Clerk:                     Wow, that's just too hard a question.  The lowest
price is $9 a gallon, and we have 150 prices up to about $200 a gallon.

Customer:             What's the difference in the paint?

Clerk:                     Oh, there isn't any difference; it's all the same

Customer:             Well then, I'd like some of that $9 paint.

Clerk:                     Well, first I need to ask you a few questions.
When do you intend to use it?

Customer:             I want to paint tomorrow on my day off.

Clerk:                     Sir, the paint for tomorrow is the $200 paint.

Customer:             What?  When would I have to paint in order to get the
$9 version?

Clerk:                     That would be in three weeks, but you will also
have to agree to start painting before Friday of that week and continue
painting until at least Sunday.  

Customer:             You've got to be kidding!

Clerk:                     Sir, we don't kid around here.  Of course, I'll
have to check to see if we have any of that paint available before I can
sell it to you.

Customer:             What do you mean check to see if you can sell it to
me? You have shelves full of the stuff; I can see it right there.  

Clerk:                     Just because you can see it doesn't mean that we
have it.  It may be the same paint, but we only sell a certain number of
gallons on any given weekend.  Oh, and by the way, the price just went to

Customer:             What!  You mean the price just went up while we were

Clerk:                     Yes sir.  You see, we change prices and rules
thousands of times a day, and since you haven't actually walked out the
store with your paint yet, we just decided to change.  Unless you want the
same thing to happen again, I would suggest that you get on with your
purchase.  How many gallons do you want?

Customer:             I don't know exactly.  Maybe five gallons.  Maybe I
should buy six gallons just to make sure I have enough.

Clerk:                     Oh no, sir, you can't do that.  If you buy the
paint and then don't use it, you will be liable for penalties and possible
confiscation of the paint you already have.

Customer:             What?

Clerk:                     That's right.  We can sell you enough paint to do
your kitchen, bathroom, hall, and north bedroom, but if you stop painting
before you do the bedroom, you will be in violation of our tariffs.  

Customer:             But what does it matter to you whether I use all the
paint?  I already paid you for it!

Clerk:                     Sir, there's no point in getting upset; that's
just the way it is.  We make plans based upon the idea that you will use all
the paint, and when you don't, it just causes us all sorts of problems.

Customer:             This is crazy!  I suppose something terrible will
happen if I don't keep painting until after Saturday night!

Clerk:                     Yes, sir, it will.

Customer:             Well, that does it!  I'm going somewhere else to buy
my paint.

Clerk:                     That won't do you any good, sir.  We all have the
same rules.  Oh, and thanks for flying - I mean painting - with our airline.


C Alan H. Hess, 1998.  All rights reserved.

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