Advertisements to women, what are they selling?
As a teen I worked in a call center, gridded partitions of prefabricated carpeted half-walls dividing us into individual bees with an action item list. I worked in the “premier support” grid which would cost you a few dollars per minute to have me answer your phone call.
Winter sales expanded the reach of our customer base, which would have been thrilling had we received bonuses or some compensation for being the actual pleasant voices heard by consumers. Instead we were plagued with desperate inquiries to resolve the problem of a packaged, though optional, program over-writing an INI file used by a an application that was pre-installed with the operating system. In the spirit of being completely open, the desktop PC is unboxed with some Barbie video game installed and certain packages included the Doom video game. When installing Doom it overwrote an important something-something.ini file which caused the Barbie game to stop working.
This is likely the appropriate time to explain that our logo reminded us of Kurt Cobain. Day and night conversing with technophobic and irate customers, while peering at the face of a man that had done the right thing. We all contemplated the possible ways we could end it.
To my surprise, people wanted to play with the Barbie game, so the phone techs came up with an INI file that resolved the issue and included the parameters for both games. This caused so much phone traffic we were allowed to get overtime.
Cause and effect led us to sleeping on the tables in the cafeteria and going back to work. The alternative was sleeping in my car. Not for a nap before clocking back in, but for sleeping at any time. For a blip in my life, that is viewed as a long and oppressing era, I had no where to live. But I did have a 1977 Datsun 280 Z Coupe. This means I had a car with no back seat and no ability to recline the front seat. This is where I slept when it was time to escape the world. I would wake up every hour or so because of noise or the sheer cold of the Rocky Mountain winter.
During this period of daily work-nap-work the company had decided to loop the first and only US commercial in the break room. It had the feel of a late nineties Nine Inch Nails music video and a Tim Burton film. While watching it I could feel the hopelessness of George Orwell’s dystopian Nineteen-Eighty-Four.
With the sound muted I would roll over to see the wall covered with the corporate blood-splattered logo, the suggestion, the urge, the bearing, the compulsive pressure bearing down to incline myself to stop dog-paddling and commence with the drowning.
I would move over again, facing the never-ending video that promised hope and change from the dark cyclical life of soul-crushing meaningless work. The monotony of pretend happiness at the end of the single-file line, if only we could chose that other path. If that option were actually available to the tolitaria.
I closed my eyes and remembered I hate purity, I hate goodness!
I wasn’t raised in a culture of haggling over listed prices. So I’m somewhat unprepared when someone walks into the store to buy something and then starts trying to edit the price they will be paying. Do these people bargain for the cost of groceries or petrol?
What actually irritates me though is when I’ve posted classified ads for an item and listed “price firm” and still get extreme low-ball offers. I recently posted three similar items. Each costs about $1200 brand new, used in a store they’d cost about $1100 in the condition they are in. In poor condition they still bring in about $800. I repeat, in poor condition. So I posted one of the like-new items at $500 simply because I wanted the cash that day (for a hobby, not because I am desperate) and because I was into the item for a lot less than even dealer pricing as it had been a demo model used by the rep and was sold to me at half of retail. I’d be losing a small amount of money and someone would be getting a great deal.
Within minutes, I had text messages coming in. I posted the it, pissed, and returned to texts of, “i can trade you [$100 item]”, “i can trade for [$300 item] but I expect [your item for sale] to work correctly”, “will you take $400?”
Where does this behavior come from? I’m not arguing that it doesn’t work, I bet the get great deals now and then. Maybe even incredible deals. I’ve seen bargain arguing in Mexico and I’m sure it is common in Europe and parts of America. If it’s common where I live it’s reserved in anonymous remote queries or in places I wouldn’t be able to find if I had all day to drive around and look for them. The ass-rape requests continued to come in for days.
After one week, I no longer even wanted to sell the item (my goal had expired), but I was determined to fuck with people. I changed the ad to $900. Some people commented that I’d changed the price and were very “golly-gosh I’m disappointed” about it. I only replied it had been a typo originally. I then posted another ad listing the same gun, without photos, for the original $500. I posted another ad for the same item as brand new at $1150. And finally I posted an ad for a “beat to shit [item I’m selling], “barely works”, “needs some attention” for an equal $500. So there was now the following:
- $900 actual used item for sale
- $500 the original used item ad
- $1150 fake brand new item for sale
- $500 fake beat to crap item for sale
I had a few full-price offers on the item at $900, an offer of $1100 for the brand new item, and I continued to get the desperate-sounding low-ball offers. More interesting, and not something I was trying to test, is that the attention to spelling and grammar decreased with the level of the price offer. Anything under $500 could be expected to consist of incomplete words and abbreviations usually associated with prepubescent.
I opted not to sell.
What’s a Tithing Store House exactly? Could anyone shop at the Bishop’s General Store House or just LDS bishops? View more Mormon money here if you are curious.