Convenient Perspectives Insult My Intelligence

Have you ever looked at those glossy tourist brochures promising you bright and colorful adventures that look like this?

Prague cropped

Oooooh, pretty!

Of course you have because that’s what’s best for business.  However, you inevitably arrive at your destination and discover something a little different…

Cheerful, isn't it?

Cheerful, isn’t it?

I took this photo in Prague, which is a beautiful city in a soot-covered sort of way.  It still looks a little run down in places because of its time under communism and a lot of the sights haven’t been scrubbed clean… or so it seems.

Moral of the story: when planning a vacation, make sure your perspective matches that of the travel agency.  Or better yet, do your own research.  Your sleep deprived spouse and children will thank you while you’re all cooped up together in that tiny hotel room with no escape from each other.

“You” Insults My Intelligence

It’s Sunday and you’re sitting on the couch watching TV instead of doing something useful with your time.  Okay, maybe that wasn’t entirely fair.  With the economy being so rotten, let’s assume that you’re performing your patriotic duty by watching commercials.  Maybe you’ll even buy something.

Today, I’d like to help ensure that your much needed purchase doesn’t turn out to be crap.  The method is simple: look for the word “you” in the commercial and, when you find it, avoid the product.  Claiming that a product is “perfect for the perfect you” or “fits the way you live” relieves businesses from having to make specific claims about their product’s quality.  Perfect for you, how?

Because it has “the quality you’ve known for years.”  True, but if the product is garbage, that’s not a selling point.  Telling me that I know the product is garbage shouldn’t make me want to buy it…

Unless I’ve had a lobotomy.  Sad thing is, these commercials work.  You can tell this by their continued proliferation on TV.  And they work because we’re all little children.

File:Mirror baby.jpg

(Photo credit: roseoftimothywoods)

Get a clue!  You’re perfect and you’ll be even more perfect with our product.  (Obligatory grammar note: I realize that “more perfect” is gibberish, but since when is gibberish prohibited from commercials?)  We can sell a new you to you because you love you, don’t you?  And if you buy our crap, it behooves you to believe us when we tell you that you are really buying you.  And it’s all true, too, because you belong in the loo.  And we can rhyme “you” and “true” and “too” and make a nifty little jingle out of your pathetic little self.  And then you will think you never knew differently, at least until the bill comes due.  Then you’ll be blue.

ooooooh…

Just be sure your pathetic little self forks over the $24.99 for shipping and handling.  You handle the payment, the mailman handles the delivery, and we handle the long pointy object going towards your [adult content, censored by blogger.  However, in the spirit of the post, it should be noted that the body part sometimes resembles a giant U.  How convenient.]

Misunderstood Graveyards Insult My Intelligence

English: English Cemetery, Málaga, Spain

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you apply for jobs, every detail of every sentence must be free of factual errors and grammatical mistakes, not to mention typos.  Applicants have to spend a lot of time preparing these perfect materials for HR departments and other employer contacts who probably couldn’t recognize accurate language use if they saw it being copied from an English textbook.

I am not here to gripe today.  I’ve already written about how people with bad grammar and spelling habits probably move ahead in the employment process because the HR folks think the errors are correct.

Instead, I wish to entertain.  I was looking through job postings today and found an organization that is seeking someone to work the graveyard shift.   And they decided to use the word “graveyard” prominently in the job ad’s headline, presumably to scare off people who would reject such a work schedule.

You already know this can’t end well, don’t you…

They have put up an ad for a “Bi-lingual Spanish Graveyard Youth-Care Worker.”  I’m not quite sure what graveyard youth-care is (much less Spanish graveyard youth-care) but I can’t believe people would send their children there.  Or, if it’s care for newly buried corpses, why the need for a bilingual caretaker?  I’m pretty sure corpses can’t understand Spanish.

So maybe I should apply…

Irony Insults My Intelligence

English: Italian tripe Français : Tripes Itali...

Tripe.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The time has finally come.  That’s right!  This is the 100th post on this blog.  The first 98 were a lot of fun.  I slammed Bank of America, Earthlink, Haagen Dazs, and lots of other businesses that insult my intelligence.  I wrote about all sorts of terrible products and services that people ought not spend their money on.

And then came post 99.

I was previewing post 99 and noticed something new in the window.  I saw a little box that said “Occasionally, some of your visitors may see an advertisement here.”  As it turns out, WordPress had started displaying ads on my blog.

If you were a business, would you want your products advertised here?  I’m the type of person who would google my own blog just to see the ad and then write a post about how idiotic it is.  (FYI: you can’t be logged in and see the ads on your blog.)  It’s product placement at it’s finest.

And on this momentous occasion, I would like to congratulate WordPress for extracting some financial recompense from my blog.  Even if it’s just a few pennies, it’s a few pennies that prove just how little oversight goes into the spending of (at least some) marketing dollars.

And so…

Best wishes digesting my next 100 posts!  You may interpret my inclusion of that tripe photo any way you like.

The Kia Warranty Insults My Intelligence

Korean-spec Kia Soul photographed in Wheaton, ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve all seen the Kia commercials.  Except for the ones that inspire an interest in oversized rodents, they make a big deal of Kia’s ten-year warranty.  Since I needed a post topic for today, I thought to myself “hey, they sell this warranty so hard that it must contain something that insults my intelligence.”

Little did I know what I would find.

(A little history:  Kia instituted the lengthy warranty because they’d had a reputation for selling notoriously unreliable cars made from cheap materials.  The warranty was supposed to inspire confidence in the product; judging from Kia’s sales figures, it worked.)

For purposes of this post, I am using the 2014 warranty.  It can be found here.  I immediately noticed in the table of contents that the warranty spans the length of 40 pages.  That struck me as excessive, but I visited Nissan’s website for purposes of comparison.  Nissan’s warranty equaled the length of Kia’s.  Nevertheless, you do wonder why the automakers have such bloated warranties.

I never studied law, so I can’t tell you how much of this extra legalese is wise or necessary.  As a practical matter, it probably keeps most people from reading any part of the warranties until it’s too late.  (Could that be the purpose?)

If they wanted to, Kia’s lawyers could easily bury something nefarious in there that would transform the warranty into nothing more than an empty marketing gimmick.  Ladies and gentlemen, I believe I have found that something.  I bring to you a couple of things the warranty explicitly does not cover:

“The choices made in designing your vehicle, including the materials chosen for parts and components.

Note: A material is not defective or underperforming under your warranty because a better, stronger, more durable or more suitable material could have been used.”

(pg. 10)

Am I to understand that they will not replace something if it breaks because it was made cheaply?  If so, here’s the takeaway:

1- Kia still deserves its reputation for selling cars made from cheap materials.  (I’ll let Consumer Reports pass judgment on the reliability part.)

2- Kia’s warranty offers less protection than a shredded condom since their product’s biggest shortcoming isn’t covered.

3- The advertisements unintentionally provide an accurate description.  Problem is, the oversized rodents reside in the legal department and they lack that unmistakable cuteness.  They do have their own song and dance, though.

Haagen Dazs Insults My Intelligence

I love Italy.  I spent a few weeks there several years back and, as you might expect, the food was excellent.  My only complaint would be the folks on the tour bus whining about how we were “always” having to eat pasta.  However, on several occasions, I got to have gelato; if you’re ever in Italy, you should do the same.

And lately the TV has been saturated with ads from Haagen Dazs announcing their new gelato product.  Now, when I think of reputable Italian food companies, the first I always think of is Haagen Dazs.  The name just oozes, uh, Scandinavian or Dutch, I suppose.  It’s hard to know because Haagen Dazs is an American company that adopted a faux European name to help it sell ice cream.

That marketing ploy was sensible.  When you look at all the world’s cultures, the ones that obviously have the greatest need for top-notch ice cream are the ones buried under six feet of snow for much of the year.  I know I love a good sundae when there’s a blizzard.  (On the other hand, very few people may realize that it snows in Scandinavia, assuming they can even find the region on a map.)

So what we have is an American ice cream company pretending to be Scandinavian while expecting us to buy Italian gelato from them.  I’m not entirely sure it worked.  My grocery store had it on deep discount recently, so I decided to buy some.  (I actually like some of their regular ice cream flavors.  My arteries don’t like it so much; they’d prefer I drink a gallon of lard.)  Speaking as someone who has had authentic gelato, I can tell you that this product bears no resemblance to the real thing.  However, it is different from regular Haagen Dazs ice cream, mostly in that it’s as hard as a brick and I was afraid of breaking my spoon in it.

In case you weren’t aware, gelato is supposed to be softer.  And if you weren’t aware of this, maybe Haagen Dazs was wise to assume ignorance among consumers.  If people don’t know what the product is supposed to be like, they can’t say it falls short.

In this case, ignorance isn’t bliss. If you want bliss, go to Italy.  If you can’t afford plane tickets, Talenti brand is pretty good and slightly less expensive than a hotel room.

In spite of everything, there is a bright side to all of this (sort of).  No matter how questionable the company’s antics are in this country, at least its American marketing executives aren’t as outlandish as their foreign counterparts.  In Germany, I once saw a Haagen Dazs billboard for a tropical flavor of some sort and they were advertising it as a taste of Africa.  And the image, which took up most of the space, was of a Black person being swirled into a container of ice cream.

Dibs on the calf muscle!

Listerine Insults My Intelligence

You’re in the hospital waiting for surgery, but there’s a delay. The nurse gives your family the reason for the wait: the hospital staff is scrubbing the operating room and doctor’s instruments so they’ll give you a great feeling of clean. 

“But wait,” says your sister.  “Who cares about how clean the scalpel and operating table and everything else feels?   Don’t those things exist to serve a different purpose, you know, like to create a medical benefit?”

“But we want you to be satisfied with your purchase of hospital services,” says the nurse.  “Surgery should be a pleasure.”

“But will the equipment actually be clean, or just feel clean?”

The nurse goes silent.  This wasn’t in her script.

And so it goes with Listerine’s new products.  They changed the name (got rid?) of a lot of their old “advanced” heavy-duty stuff and replaced it with new varieties that, as the advertisements go, give users an intense “feeling of clean.”

Okay, it feels good, but does it work?   I don’t remember the commercials saying too much about that.  Listerine isn’t the only dental product company to give us this feeling of clean BS.  But then, most people are too dumb to know the difference between clean and feeling of clean.  And Listerine encourages consumers to forget this distinction; why else would they name the new product Ultraclean instead of Cleaning Party? Doesn’t the name Ultraclean imply that your mouth will end up being cleaner than clean?

Being clean, in a medical sense, is a lot like being dead.  Once you’re clean or dead, you can’t get cleaner or deader.  I bet tainted pool water feels clean before you catch e. coli and die from it.   After that happens, your corpse can get cleaner but it can’t become ultradead.