March 19, 2019

good evening, john anderton

Go to Hell, Alexa.
The break room on the first floor of my building has two Pepsi machines in it, one dispensing cans and the other, bottles.  Across the bottom of one of the machines, it reads, "Thank You For Choosing Pepsi".  Because we have a choice, I always think when I walk past it, and mentally snort, which is a trick I've learned.

I have a business administration degree, which P.J. always conflates with marketing, even though I only had two marketing classes and I stuck my fingers in my ears and sang "la la la" during both of them.  I did read the books, though, and came away disgusted.

That was in 2001, back when baby formula companies would send me canisters of free DHA-enhanced powder every two years, just in case I was a typical American middle-class mother driving a Hyundai wagon.  Now our society doesn't give a rat's about slogans and postal mail distribution lists and retail clustering.  It has the Internet.

I got an e-mail this morning advertising Gorilla ladders.  I bought a ladder about a year ago and I think they assume I must need another one.  Am I weird for keeping a ladder for longer than a year?  Do ladders go out of style?  Are they disposable?  Why, in short, would Gorilla advertise more ladders to a ladder customer?

The issue of how they got my e-mail address is cast aside.  Information collecting algorithms are the brain child of a shrewd, evil genius.  Remember that scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise, playing a normal person, walks into a mall?  It's like that now, but without the blatancy.

We also have cookies and tracking.  Marketing is, after all, the Dark Side.

Advertising algorithms, unlike info-combers, are the brain child of a demented marketing executive hooked on meth.  My favorite is the perpetual ad for "local men in my area".  Something out there is doing a shit job of casing my demographic profile.  Also, the men in the picture never change, meaning that it wants me to believe that these men, who apparently have not been able to get a date for at least seven years, are irresistibly desirable.

Amazon toys with me on Facebook.  I'll never understand where the assertion that I need an electric unicycle originated.  Breastfeeding-friendly dress ads are another mystery.  The rest of the items that appear in Amazon's suggested purchases and "daily deals" (which never are) can be pinpointed to some statement I've made in a status update, a comment, or even elsewhere, in a Google search or an e-mail to my wife.  I complained in an e-mail about seeing a mouse in our home, and that evening, nestled among the Trevor Noah clips and deliciously rude memes posted by my favorite people, Amazon presented me with tons of products aimed at cats.

Target is no better.  I love them both, but if Amazon and Target were in a relationship with me, it would be Single White Female without the red hair and boiler room scene.

They're listening.  Always listening.

Ask this techie girl why she won't have any "smart" technology (e.g. Alexa) in her house.  Not even electrical outlets controlled by a phone.  Oh, hell no.


  1. Because I read manga, my iPad is constantly telling me that an Asian girlfriend is the solution to all my problems. Also I need dental implants and to lose weight and to increase my testosterone to help bulk up. I am a pathetic, lonely, gross weakling of a man.

    1. Well ... let's think through this. The Asian girlfriend might draw out your testosterone-y side, and (this is so unacceptably stereotypical so forgive me, Everyone) you'd have to start drinking a lot of green tea, so you'd lose weight ... I certainly don't think you need to but I'm not an ad, so what do I know? You'd just have to hold out for one who's a dentist. So what's the problem, loser-man? XD

    2. Sold. I need an Asian dentist girlfriend.
      Just kidding, I'd get some kind of a complex. I need somebody at least as hairy as I am.

  2. The great internet of things - I was wandering around our local Hardly Normal's and saw a refrigerator with a massive screen implanted in it's door. Apparently, by using the bar codes on products, you scan in the produce and scan it back out again - and the 'screen' will kindly send you a shopping list via your e-mail, text message to your phone ad infinitum.

    A man and a woman were happily pressing all the virtual buttons on the screen and talking to themselves, were in awe and wonder - and actually told each other that 'this is great!!' and 'We really need this'. My mind went *shudder*, quickly followed by a full body *shudder* coupled with a 'for fuck sake, I've enough work to be doing unloading the grocery shopping without all that farting about with bleeding scanning - to which one of the voices added, [naturally, because it's me], what happens if I put stuff in there that I haven't scanned - does it sound an alarm, 'UNKOWN PRODUCT, PLEASE REMOVE IMMEDIATELY!! WARNING, UNKNOWN PRODUCT....'

    The only thing I've found interesting about the individual currently disguised as Alexia is that DF has taught his how to blow raspberries and make farting noises.

    1. I've just been told by the Princess, why we don't get that sort of targeted advertising here - EU has blocked directed advertising unless you've given the ok for companies to do so. So you have to opt in, rather than opt out.

    2. That's it. We're moving to Eire.