Which store would you rather patronize, the one that quietly notes everyday low prices, so come in anytime? Or the one with the muscle-throated announcer who screams “the greatest sale in our history ends at midnight Saturday!”
JC Penney just found that out the hard way. A few months ago, the venerable chain trumpeted a new strategy of everyday low prices with few if any discount sales. They changed their logo to JCP and started running pretty ads with pretty young people and lots of white space.
The public reacted with one-handed clapping. White space begets white noise. Americans want technicolor wardrobe malfunctions, ear-breaking buzz, sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll, smash-bang flying car crashes, lying, cheating and stealing. That’s entertainment, dammit.
My favorite hard-sell advertising line is “never before, never again, this is it.”
Well, at least until next week.
Many customers want to be ripped off. Some gullible dorks will only buy heavily advertised brands even though generics are just as good and often the same thing with a different label.
Some really believe that if they are not paying an exorbitant price, the product just can’t be very good. (A lot of people get married for basically the same reason, but that’s another column for another time.)
A few years back, a world class New York museum announced establishment of satellite galleries in major malls.
When a reporter asked why, a curator groused “shopping is the principal cultural activity in the United States.”
The mallrat mentality paves the way for election of exorbitantly priced politicians. Candidates who raise little campaign cash are trashed as non-viable and irrelevant by money-driven media satisfied with reporting simple “horse race” numbers about contributions, polls and ad spending.
As comic wise man Bill Maher opined, “Americans don’t do nuance.”
The truth is dangerous. Witness Walter Mondale. Who?
“I’ll raise taxes and so will he. He won’t tell you. I just did,” he said in accepting the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination. President Reagan butchered him with the quote. After the election, Reagan proceeded to raise everything: taxes, the deficit and the national debt.
Even in the depths of depression, governors, presidents and prime ministers have to be gaga cheerleaders and assure people that things are getting better. (“It’s morning in America.”)
Myth Rumpney channels King Ronald the Vague when he says “America’s greatest days lie ahead,” the operative word being “lie.”
Think the truth is your friend? The man who will give a truthful answer to the following question has not yet been born: “Honey, does this make my ass look big?”
Amazing TV offer, quantities of this special factory purchase strictly limited, first-come first-served, no reasonable offer refused, profit is forgotten, at-cost near-cost or below-cost, we’re overstocked, seller very motivated, make offer, what do I have to do to get you to buy today?
All this is not far from “vote for me and I’ll set you free,” as The Temptations once sang.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in England, afraid for his life if he is extradited to the U.S. Once upon a time, we shielded dissidents. Anybody remember Hungarian Cardinal Josef Mindszenty?
Wikileaks sparked the Arab spring and showed us that foreign policy is based on lies. American diplomats report the truth in internal communications while publicly backslapping and schmoozing bloody dictators.
The establishment just can’t handle the truth. Assange now stands tall in a rogues gallery of great outsiders: Copernicus, Galileo, Jan Hus and Drs. Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren. Who?
The latter are Australian physicians who were ridiculed and threatened with loss of their licenses because they advanced a theory that went against the prevailing orthodoxy. They said that many ulcers were caused by a treatable bacterium. Marshall finally resorted to infecting himself to prove it. They were awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize for Medicine.
They could handle the truth.
Most U.S. political leaders cover their asses by lying to us. After all, it works with wives trying on new dresses.
No respect department
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley just released a poll showing her slightly ahead of Sen. Dean Heller statewide. Actually it was probably a tie, as no margin of statistical error was disclosed.
The pollsters’ summary and her own campaign’s press release mis-spelled her name. A bunch of times.
Berkley’s whiz kids should be schooled in the old political axiom: Call me a son of a bitch, just spell my name right.
It didn’t occur to me until I was posting last week’s web edition, but Paul Ryan is simply Sarah Palin in long pants.
We don’t need
If you’ve missed the eight-part (so far) Barbwire series, you will find it archived at NevadaLabor.com. Next month, one of my predictions comes true. The Washoe County School District will announce a basically flat graduation rate for the latest year. Former school superintendent Heath Morrison blew town after two years of juggling the books, stalking praise and hustling awards, then leaving us hicks holding the bag.
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Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.