If you nail together two things that have never been nailed together before," said George Carlin, "some schmuck will buy it from you." But that was a quarter of a century ago. Today, if you nail together two things that have never been nailed together before, you go and hire some schmuck to sell it to everyone.

In an economy seemingly totally driven by consumption — and if you have misgivings about that premise, you haven't been to the mall this week — the one person you cannot escape is the marketer. So long as you are perceived as having cash, or exploitable amounts of credit, you're a target. What you have is never good enough. You've got to keep up with the Joneses.

Personally, I always thought it would be much more fun, not to mention a lot less expensive, to drag the Joneses down to my level. Of course, they don't want to go. It flies in the face of everything they've been taught. Those who don't do their part to keep the economic machine humming are viewed as cranks or curmudgeons or communists. For myself, speaking as a person who gets called at least one of those things at least once a month, I'm starting to develop some small immunity to the art of the sales pitch. It's not always easy — it requires that a lot of mail be discarded unread, and that the phone be turned off most of the time — but it's something I have to do to retain sanity and/or solvency.

Now if I can just figure out some way to snag that new motherboard before Christmas....

The Vent

#80
7 December 1997

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