ALICE: … and we can set that up for you for about four hundred dollars.
CUSTOMER: Four hundred dollars? My brother got it done for half that.
ALICE: As a Tier Four customer you’re not eligible for our Notability Discount.
ALICE: Based on a complex social networking algorithm we determine your level of influence in both your online and physical surroundings and assign you to a Tier. Your Tier determines whether or not your receive discounts on Ubersoft products and services. If your brother is getting this service for two hundred dollars he must be a Tier Three customer — it’s unusual for family members to be in different tiers but it does happen.
CUSTOMER: So you’re saying that if I were more popular you would charge me less money.
ALICE: That’s the general idea.
CUSTOMER: I feel like I’m back in High School.
ALiCE: A lot of our Tier Four customers say that.
What is this madness you ask? Last week Slashdot posted a story about a recently published patent application from Microsoft that involves determining prices based on how influential you are. In other words, the people least able to do anything about it get charged the most money for a product or service.
I can only assume Microsoft published this now as a very special Christmas present for me.