Would you like discount shoes with that tire change?

Over in Wisconsin, the Triple A has gotten some heat from customers who, when calling for roadside assistance, were pitched the benefits of the Show Your Card & Save marketing program.

... "It's extremely tacky to pitch someone stuck in a ditch," said Jonathan Bernstein, principal of Bernstein Crisis Management in Monrovia, Calif. ...

Only a handful complained that the Show Your Card & Save reminder was out of bounds, spokesman Michael Bie said.

... "Our call counselors are empowered to either mention Show Your Card & Save or not to mention it" during calls seeking roadside service, Bie said.

In one case, however, an operator asked a motorist stuck in a ditch after skidding off an icy road if she was aware of the Show Your Card & Save program. The member then asked for details and was told she can get discounts at "places such as Casual Corner."

But where do you draw the line? Must every consumer contact with a company be maximized and incentiveized? You would think clearly being identified as the victim of a stressful event, like a car accident, would prompt companies to be more empathic.

Maybe not. Bajaj Allianz General, an Indian car insurer, has developed the software to process an auto accident claim, from damage report to final payment, by SMS.

And how do you approach an even more sensitive subject - like a death in the family? BusinessWeek discussed how to raise awareness of new products in the funeral industry.

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