I don’t like spending money. I’m leery of signing up for ongoing contracts for service unless I really, really have to (want to).
So when we bought a new “pre-owned” car that came with a three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM™ satellite radio I was not overwhelmed with joy. But here’s what happened. I kinda like the Sixties radio station, the Margaritaville station, the Classic Vinyl station, and my wife loves the Seventies station. When the three months were up I looked at the cost of keeping just the music and thought I could swallow that for a year. But when I tried to do that it was a bit complicated (more on that in a minute) but they also were offering a one-year price on the bells and whistles version that was less than the price of the music only version so, well, I bit.
Then a few weeks ago I had a self-knowledge revelation, tumbling to the fact that inertia (feel free to substitute mental sloth for that word) will very likely cause me to re-up at the end of the year. This whole process is Sales 101. The free trial worked. I found I liked the service and would never, ever, ever, have chosen to pay at the beginning. The big discount for year one also sucked me in. My quarrel, of course, is with the hoops to jump through if you don’t want to choose the path they have laid out for you. It reminds me of what it takes to downgrade your Time-Warner Cable service. (They can’t trick me by changing their name to Spectrum. It’s still the same company.) That process was like running a Marine Corps obstacle course, complete with mental bruises. But I digress a bit.
I’ll grant that the connection to community engagement of all of this is tenuous, but here’s my thinking. I would never have purchased the service without the trial. The equivalent need not be a “pops concert” because some communities would have no interest in such a thing. It can simply be the opportunity to observe (or discuss) how an arts experience might actually enhance one’s life and improve one’s community. The nurturing process, moving from one stage to another, was scripted, intentional, very much like the one proposed by Morison/Dagleish in Waiting in the Wings. I would argue for a more relationship-building approach than a clinical Step 1 to Step 2 to Step 3 one-size-fits-all scenario, but relationship building is a progressive process. Maybe there are lessons to be learned and applied.