Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

MORE RAGE (ref Dylan Thomas poem)

It is great fun to realise that, in venting my octogenarian spleen against the things I hate, I am following the advice of the poet who  wrote “Rage, Rage against the dying of the light”. (Advice to old men.)

How I loathe the concept of “marketing”. It is all about presenting the thing to be sold in the best possible light and leaving all the negatives unsaid. They are only discovered after you have paid the money. Marketing frequently involves playing up minor benefits that distinguish the product from others but have no real significance. Like, “Ours is the only product including the special X ingredient”when the ingredient is poorly identified and nobody says it makes up 10% of the product or is only half a milligram.

Marketing also benefits from our acceptance of rapid change. It no longer matters that your marketing spiel is misleading if you can say that it has now changed. What you said yesterday is irrelevant. Much the same happens with promises implied for the future. The government tells the media, for example, that there will be investment of £1.5 Billion over the next five years but when just one year has passed the whole thing is forgotten and never happens at all.

Take the national PPI scandal. Payment Protection Insurance was conceived as a safeguard for people who had taken on debt and were unable, for reasons like sickness or redundancy to keep up repayments. Large numbers of people bought it without knowing they had done so or bought it when they had on need to do so. The marketing people managed to turn it into a money-spinner for the banks.

I get equally incensed about junk mail. (Those red vans ought to have Royal JUNK Mail written on them) Why do advertisers have to send me expensive brochures month after month when I have bought nothing from them in ten years? They must have my name on a list, so surely it’s possible to record a reply and scrub my name if no response is ever received. But maybe my thinking is out of date, Maybe they say “This month we mail to the occupier of every single address in Postcode XY19”. Then they won’t have my name and won’t know that I have dumped their offering in the bin.

I find it disappointing to look at the letter box each day and find that everything is junk. But perhaps that increases the joy when a real letter is hidden underneath he rubbish.


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