Two elements are important here:
1. It is generally the case that if a person expends more effort in an endeavor, the person appreciates it more. See also 2017’s Art Obstacle Course proposal. (Incidentally, this is also described as a factor in the popularity of hazing and initiation rituals in the “purpose and effects” section on the Wikipedia hazing page)
2. Providing customer support (including product returns and complaints) is expensive for any large retail business.
In order to reduce customer support costs (and product return rates) and make customers feel more kinship with “the brand” (ugh), we can fix the process of obtaining customer support. Usually, getting support involves either standing in a long line, filing paperwork, or waiting on hold on a phone forever. Those are all annoying, yet passive activities.
Let’s fix this by making the customer support process into a physically grueling ordeal! See Figure 1 for one possible approach.
This should reduce the customer support burden somewhat (is a person REALLY going to climb 1000 steps to the top of a pyramid to return an extension cord?), and will increase the likelihood that anyone who does successfully get to the top has a legitimate complaint
Additionally, a person who reaches the summit might also feel a sense of great accomplishment (like they’ve “conquered” a mountain) which should encourage positive feelings toward the company.
This system is likely to gain widespread adoption across all retail businesses. If you own a business, act now: don’t be the last one to get in on the trend!
PROS: This will encourage exercise (specifically, stair climbing), among the customers, which will increase national physical fitness and well-being. (Unless they fall down the stairs.)
CONS: This specific example might be in violation of certain wheelchair-accessibility requirements. Possibly a law will need to carve out a specific exemption in accessibility regulations to prevent those laws from applying to customer service desks. Start lobbying now—the lawmaking process can be slow!