Wednesday, February 08, 2006

last week i was guerilla-marketed to/at on the train and it's a creepy feeling, like watching someone break into your house. at first i thought i was just being paranoid, but the more people i tell, the more it seems certain that it was an out-and-out ploy.
on a pretty empty train home, a man is sitting in front of me and a woman with big hair, a rollerbag and not a trace of a midwestern accent is sitting across the aisle from him. she has angled herself toward the aisle so i can look up and see her as she executes a series of short, chirpy phone conversations on a gleaming new device. after the phone calls she fondles the thing at eye level, reveling in its additional functionality. the man in front of me cranes his neck- not even necessary- in her direction. she turns, gives him a pert smile and a cheerful, "oh, are you looking at my phone?" by now i've abandoned my book altogether because this is a highly unusual train interaction between strangers. "aw yeah," he replies, "i've been meaning to get me one of those." she explains that she just got it for free for renewing her contract with [name of provider here] and she's been so happy with their service for the past year that it was a win-win since "they're the best deal around." now i'm really intrigued because we just terminated our service with the same provider after 3 years of highly shitty service, and i've noticed [name of provider here] recently unleashed a spate of new commercials championing themselves in very similar terms as this real live human with big hair is parroting in front of me. a side note, same company is desparate to regain marketshare as they are now ranked last among the big competitors. i can't believe i'm sounding so business-like, but if this is going to pollute my environment at the level of human relationships, i want to have a little heads-up.
i still haven't accepted flat screen tv's spewing ads at me in my coveted "in-between" spaces like the grocery store line and in elevators, and the print ads in women's bathroom stalls are pushing it too. friend from sweden says at least we don't have them covering entire buildings here.. yet. but really, how much of the world will we condition ourselves to tune out?


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