[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published May 30, 2022] ©2022
Sometimes it feels like there is hardly a moment in my day that I am not being marketed to. The reason for that is that there truly isn’t a moment in my day that I’m not being marketed to.
The thing is, it’s a total waste. I am probably the hardest sell in America. Unless it’s dog food, I’m pretty much not buying. Signing up for Ad Block only seems to slightly reduce the onslaught from pretty much any internet site I look at, and even Instagram friends now subject me to ads if I want to see their content.
If there’s one group whose salesmanship I am especially impervious to, it’s celebrities. I guess one of the perks of being famous is that you can sell your name and that people who are not me will buy stuff just because you said so. For me, it’s an anti-endorsement if a celeb’s name is attached to it.
Some celebrities, even ones I find appealing in their own ways, are so over-merchandized that every time I come across their latest consortium-building endeavor I want to scream, “Stop! Please just stop! You’re an actress! Why would I want to buy cookware from you?”
And is there a celebrity who does not have his/her own fragrance? How many fragrances can the market and/or the CVS beauty counter bear? (For the record, my signature fragrance would be a heady mix of Chardonnay and Mounds bars, with notes of chicken wings.)
The Kardashians, of course, are legendary in the merch world, a new line of products seeming to “drop” every week. Ditto Chip and Joanna Gaines whose ever expanding empire includes multiple TV shows, magazines, housewares, a store and enough other projects to keep anyone busy 72 hours a day. I can only wonder how the Kardashians and Gaines even remember their collective kids’ names never mind spend any quality time with them. (I fantasize a future reality TV show Who Are My Parents? where these kids have to pick their folks out of a line up. And are rewarded with merchandise from the folks’ conglomerates if they do.)
Even Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond has now branched into candles, denim apparel, floral quilts and ice cream makers in addition to opening a restaurant and a boutique hotel. I mean, can’t she just cook? Actually, if she were hawking butter, I’d probably buy it. This woman knows fats
It’s not just celebrities whose charms I am happy to resist. I know that some people have to make their living cold calling but who in their right mind turns over their hard-earned money to a total stranger who calls them over the phone? Especially if that caller is selling financial products.
This being La Jolla, I’ve had my share of cold callers offering me a “free” review of my investment portfolio to see if they “might” be able to offer me a better return.
Hard to imagine that this cold caller would ever look over my investments and say, “Nope, you’re good! Can’t do any better for you!” Harder yet to imagine that I would ever let someone even look at it in the first place.
I do have to confess that during my 12 years of impoverished single parenthood, I might have been tempted to say yes, since my entire portfolio consisted of $54. If that investment sales guy could have offered me an upgrade from spaghetti to hamburgers, I might have gone for it.
I think pretty much everyone who owns a cell phone is getting robocalls from those automobile warranty people. One of these days, if I’m not busy, I’m going to engage one of these folks just as I did recently with the Grandma Scam. Frankly, I’m not convinced they want to give me a warranty on my 2005 Toyota Corolla. Of if they did, whether the premium would be more than the value of the car. And by the way, those folks must have a thousand numbers. I have blocked literally 100 numbers from the auto warranty folks on my iPhone but they just keep calling on a different line. You think they’d have their own Do Not Call list (“Has old Corolla. Don’t bother.”)
I’m starting to figure out that monetizing anything and everything is pretty much the norm anymore, whether it’s a personal blog, Instagram account, or any type of internet communication. But if anyone starts sending me an email with an ad in it, our relationship is over.
So sorry, U.S. economy. We’re strictly in downsize mode at this stage in our life. I just hope technology can come up with a both a phone and internet command, Control N, short for “No Ads Ever! You’re wasting your time! And annoying the s—t out of me!”
Not going to happen, but everyone needs a dream.