All We Are is Dollars in a Wallet

The husband and I run an online dice store, Game Master Dice. I’ll write about the whole, sordid history of acquisition and the daily running of it one day; for now, I wish to discuss a phenomenon one experiences in sales:

Everyone is a walking wallet.

My husband told me that awhile ago, when I complained about how pressured I feel at stores. These days, I feel it everywhere. Websites, billboards, friends, store aisles -they are all trying to get a bit of my money. No –all of my money. It’s just a matter of who can grab it first with the brightest ad and the most compelling sales pitch.

Most of us learn to resist, mostly. Otherwise we’d not be living with a roof and walls whilst wearing clothes.

But the onslaught is relentless! I know that advertising has been around since before Pompeii. I know that companies have always sought the best way to purchase ad space in our brains. I also know that ads were less insidious, even when the mental takeover involved a catchy jingle.

If businesses could, they would literally brainwash us to buy. I incorporated that idea in my serial science fiction story.

I’ve thought about all these sales tactics lately because we’re trying to ramp up sales in the dice store. We are therefore pulling out the tricks I use(d) when doing paid content writing: keywords, tags, linking, Instagram and Pinterest and Facebook…

We want to make a living, but sales and marketing have always made me uncomfortable.

My consolation is that we’re marketing to people who want to purchase what we sell. They’re going online to find a dice set or a Reaper miniature or a dice cup, and we’re trying to point them down our little aisle of the internet. It’s not like we’ve popped up during their drive with a BUY OUR DICE NOW!!

Right?

I remember a job interview waaaaay back when, during which they asked me if I’d be comfortable selling their product to customers who called in. I had nailed the interview up to that point; I knew it. My answer to that question, I also knew, shot me right in the foot.

So how comfortable do you feel advertising? Do you tell friends and neighbors about a great deal without any qualms at all? Would you rather stay out of the Rat Race entirely and go live on Walden Pond?

If you get 10 of your friends to read and comment …yeah, nevermind.

—————-

If you read what I wrote this week, I guarantee you won’t be pressured to purchase anything:
Wednesday, July 24: “Summer Days Ain’t Lazy at All.” I complained about pregnancy.

Thursday, July 25: “The Top Ten Reasons I Can’t Write Romance.” Also complaining, but in a humorous way.

Friday, July 26: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Rasmus K. Robot and Charles!

Saturday, July 27: Announced the 36th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is your ‘favorite’ relative (who’s really not). PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, July 28: “One More Day,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt. Someone else was complaining.

Monday, July 29: An inspirational quote by Joseph B. Wirthlin. He says to stop complaining.

Tuesday, July 30: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Eight.”

Wednesday, July 31: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Manic Kids? Try Snacks!,” “Why the Heck Would Anyone Get Pregnant?,” and “Pregnancy Limerick.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Do You Know Your Influences?

One of my favorite stories is a chapter in Louis Sachar’s Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger. A dubious character named Dr. Pickell hypnotizes a woman to help with her smoking addiction. He tells her the cigarette will turn into a worm in her mouth; then, as is his wont, adds a twisted behavior at the end of their hypnosis session.

“[Dr. Pickell] rubbed his beard and smiled. ‘Whenever your husband says the word “potato,” you will slap him across the face.’

‘When – Fred – says – ‘potato’ – I – will – slap – his – face.'”

A few paragraphs later, we learn the effects of Dr. Pickell’s meddling.

“It was an interesting thing about the word ‘potato.’ Whenever Fred said it, she slapped him. And he’d ask her why she slapped him, but she never remembered slapping him, so they’d get in a big fight, each calling the other crazy. Then they’d kiss and make up, which was nice because her breath didn’t stink.

“They never figured out it had anything to do with saying ‘potato.’…

“But deep down they both must have realized it somehow, because while they used to eat lots of potatoes, they gradually ate fewer and fewer, until they finally stopped eating them altogether.”

You would be surprised how often I think about this story in real life. Sachar is a master children’s author, crafting a deep story in a few, easily understood sentences.

Although I could go on for a bit longer about children’s authors, Louis Sachar, and pickles vs. potatoes; I bring this story up to discuss influences in our lives and whether we notice them or not.

Just think: when you walk into a store, what do you see? Someone has planned what you will see. Someone has looked at studies that say how much space a shopper needs upon entering before he may encounter something on sale. That someone knows that angled aisles are better but not as space-efficient (so they hang tags off the shelves), that we shoppers look for sales, and that we need enough space in an aisle to avoid the ‘butt-brushing effect.’

Advertising is a sneaky business, and one we often think of when considering this subject. As prevalent as purchasing bits of our mind is, however, that is not the influence that I am interested in discussing.

Instead, I want to think about less-evil, subtle influences we are ignorant of; things like choosing to act like our hero, striving to never wear red because you think it’s evil, and picking a genre of music after a coworker won’t stop listening to it.

In my life, I’ve seen examples of all of these behaviors. My brother is in medical school because one of his scout leaders was/is a successful doctor. One of my relatives will not wear red. And our family all got hooked on dubstep because my husband’s coworker played it nonstop.

For me, personally; I do not sew because my mother did not, I read and write because she did, and I abhor shopping and matching and new trends because she always tried to get me to wear (what I thought were) ugly combinations at the store. On sunny days I feel more capable and happy. If a friend makes a nice comment, I feel more confident. A jarring chord or fighting at home raises everyone’s anxiety levels.

When I think about it, the influences seem obvious. When I don’t, they don’t. Either way, I behave impulsively.

When the day is grey and ordinary, do you huddle up and wonder why everything’s dark and depressing? After hearing a favorite song from your youth, do you find yourself fondly (and ignorantly) reminiscing? Or, are you self-aware enough to buck the trends and have a happy-ever-after without any pickles princes?

pickled-cucumbers-1520638_1920

—————-

Check out what I wrote this week. These posts may affect your day:
Wednesday, March 6: Wrote “It Takes Pains to Be Beautiful but I’m No Masochist,” a discussion of whether beauty is skin-deep and how much some people need to help that.
Also, “A Ghost of a Pinned Chance,” in response to Peregrine Arc‘s writing prompt.

Thursday, March 7: “The Cure for Depression: Get Outside,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
And, typed up a free-verse poem, “Seasonal Perspectives.”

Friday, March 8: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Michael Fishman!
I was prolific this week! Wrote “The Seedy Underbelly of Writing.” Be careful out there, people.

Saturday, March 9: Announced the 17th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Under-the-Table Deals. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, March 10: “I’d Like to Mouse Wheel a Motion,” my entry for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this week.

Monday, March 11: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Five.” Pants Hands-down, one of the funniest in the series so far
Tuesday, March 12:  An inspirational quote by @Girlbebrave.

Wednesday, March 13: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Selfish Selflessness,” “The @#*&% Diet,” and quoted Erma Bombeck.

 

Photo Credit:
Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay