Thursday, April 24, 2008

I can't believe the deal!

You're watching your favorite show on television and they break to commercial. Ugh! Now you'll have to endure 2 to 4 minutes of ads for products that you don't even want. You would mute the commercials or change the channel until your show came back on but the remote is too far away and you're tired. You work for a living and you need your rest. So you submit. First there's a commercial about a new cleaning product that will revolutionize the act of cleaning. The man on the television says that he doesn't know how anyone could live without it and that he personally guarantees the effectiveness of its renown cleaning power. Next comes a commercial for the local burger hut. I've yet to have food served to me at one of those restaurants that even looks close to the one in the advertisement. I blame illegal immigration! Well, not really but that is what some of my right-wing friends would have me think. But that is another issue. Lastly, a commercial for the newest sleek looking car on the road. Oh, you have my attention. Who doesn't like a nice looking vehicle. The announcer tells me how my life will change and somehow I'll be the successful, super-macho man that I've always wanted. Then he tells me that if I come in before Saturday that all I have to do is sign a contract and drive it off the lot. I am really excited now! Over the next 15 seconds I am assaulted with images of 'my car' cruising through the city or on the perfect windy country road. But wait, I hear muttering. Is someone talking? Oh right, the sign and then drive promotion does not include taxes, licensing, and fees. So really I'll have to lay down $2 to $3 thousand, then sign and drive the car away.

What is it about advertising that requires they sell you on the product and then quickly tell you about of the things that make the deal or product unattractive? They must think that the average consumer is a moron, and maybe they are right. I personally don't mind disclosures. I think that they are there for a purpose, but they should be obvious... not hidden or delivered in rapid-fire speak.

I recently visited a sandwich shop. You know, the one where the guy ate like three sandwiches a day and walked 2 miles each way to get them. Yeah, that's how he really lost the weight. You try starting out morbidly obese and then force yourself to walk 6+ miles a day just to get your food. You'll lose weight too. Anyhow, a couple of coworkers and I decided to hit the shop and try the newest promo... a foot long sandwich for only 5 bucks. It seems simple enough. We walk into the store and there are signs everywhere about the promotion. 'Just pick your bread, meat, and toppings, and we'll do the rest.' I decided that I was feeling good and was going to get the roast beef on Italian cheese bread. I added pepper-jack cheese, jalapenos, olives, green peppers and a stripe of Dijon mustard. (I like spicy food.) The attendant was cheerful and quick. My coworkers and I commented on how could the chain be making money on a deal like this. I get to the register with my carefully wrapped sandwich in hand. I tell the cashier that I have a foot long roast beef on Italian cheese. She tells me, 'That will be $9.02.' 'There must be a problem,' I said. After a rundown in the screw job, I come to find that only 4, yes 4, sandwiches on the menu are eligible for the deal. All three of us purchased sandwiches not on the 'approved list'. We were informed that only the sandwiches with a check mark next to them are part of the $5 foot long promotion. For those of you who haven't seen a Subway menu recently, they have changes the low-fat sandwiches that qualify under the amazing weight losing endorser's plan from being specially marked to their own category. The menu now has a Fresh Fit section (these are the <6 grams of fat sandwiches, then there are the Fresh Toasted, and lastly Local Favorites (These are the cold cut combo and tuna. Are they really 'favorites'?). Anyway, had the sign, the sandwich maker, or even the commercial told me this I would have made sure that I looked for the check marks. Incidentally, one of the choices is turkey and I love turkey. I'm not saying that I won't go there again, but just that I will watch out when buying a sandwich on a deal.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Land not so Enchanted

So I just finished spending another week in the heart of New Mexico...Santa Fe. When I think of Santa Fe, I think of the things that I learned in history class when I was a teenager. Santa Fe was established over 10 years prior to the Plymouth Colony. This was to be the centre for the Spanish Empire north of the Rio Grande. Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in North America and the oldest European community west of the Mississippi. The 'square' in the heart of town is very similar to what it would have been over 150 years ago. The streets are narrow and cobbled, and the buildings are made of adobe. Santa Fe has a height ordinance in effect that restricts structures to 2 stories of 15 feet each. The ordinance limits the height of structures so that the surrounding vistas may be enjoyed by all those in the area and not just those who can afford to build higher. The county is strict in enforcing the code and exceptions are not made. Even McDonald's is required to limit the size of the 'golden arches' and plant them on the ground. I have to say that it is nice to see some trees and not just buildings when driving by on the highway. You can almost pass the area by without noticing the city. But all of these things aside, I don't find the attraction. The town is very 'old school' in the ways that things are handled and bureaucracy is king. I am not a fan of southwestern art, so the shops filled with hand crafted rugs, turquoise jewelry, and endless paintings of a desert sunset do nothing for me. As Santa Fe is a tourist destination, everything is expensive. I even got the shaft a Subway shop in the downtown area that charged me nearly 9 dollars for a foot-long roast beef sandwich. I was not impressed. I lived in New Mexico for 9 months in 2006 and drove around most of the state. I don't have anything against the people that live there, but it's not for me. I probably won't visit the city outside of business trips. If you have the time and money to take a vacation and the choice of where to go, I would pick somewhere else and just browse the pictures that others have posted on the Internet.