Vector8 Journals

Friday, August 20, 2004

Aggressive Marketing

There's a new brand of aggressive marketing. It involves people shoving unsolicited flyers, leaflets and brochures at you. These leaflets and flyers are advertising various courses such as IT and English as a second language. I see the marketing people at Oxford Street, the shopping capital of London. They line the pavements with their hands reaching out to you. "Take them, take them, they're free."

We all have our coping strategies. I either stare straight ahead of me or walk with my head down. Sometimes I cross over the road, only to bump into another one. I wonder what their job title is called. What are the promotional prospects?

The other day I was in a generous mood so I accepted a flyer from this young man. He said thank you. Poor sod! I was probably the only one who had accepted his flyer, which went straight into the nearest bin.

There are other people who carry placards or sandwich boards advertising a particular shop with a sign pointing in the shop's direction. At least they don't pester you. Haven't these people realised yet there are easier ways to get people to buy your products, just use mind-control methods. We're bombarded with them all the time anyway so what difference does another one make?

As I was walking down Oxford Street the other day, a man approached me and told me I was very lucky. Did I want to have a psychic reading? I said I didn't and made a hasty retreat. He's nothing but a charlatan! Any psychic worth his salt would have known I had no intention of having a reading.

There are also the charity workers who are trying to raise awareness for a particular cause and stopping people to support their charity. Generally, I avoid them unless I'm feeling generous. Even when I'm generous they often regret speaking to me. The last time I spoke to this guy rasing awareness for Parkinson's Disease. I directed the conversation to healing and various belief systems and whether Parkinson's disease wasn't a social construct. The poor guy was bewildered. We spoke for about 30 minutes and I went on my way. Oh well, you did ask!

Two weeks ago I was going for a walk at Hampstead Health in North London. There was this young man giving out what looked like flyers. Oh, no, not another one of those! Can't someone have a walk in peace? I was just about to say "no thank you" when I heard him say "Would you like a poem?" A poem! This can't be happening! It has to be a ploy to buy something. I accepted it all the same. I examined the piece of paper for any signs of subliminal messages advertising IT courses. It was actually a poem about someone missing his loved one. The man had written it by hand and he'd made some lovely designs on the left side of the page. Is this what it's come to, when you get so cynical you mistake a gift of a poem for advertising?

Maybe I've been living in London for far too long.

Have a marketing-free day, unless you're one of them.


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