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Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Miraculous Save

While I’m not going to name culprits, sufficeth to say that an influential rogue group within the advertising industry has been trying to push the whole idea of being saved on western culture until it has become second nature. Or maybe we’re on third nature by now. I have a few indications of this.

They first guilt you into being a responsible fiscal planner by imploring you to save for the future through investing your funds into savings plans. Their bank is saving your money, and thus your hide. In essence, they want you to have yourself saved at their bank. But this is not all...

Some tactics are more devious. With the advent of the personal computer over the past few decades, we’ve become oblivious to how computer language has slowly transformed us into being willing accomplices. You realize now, of course, that you have no choice but to save your work if you want to keep it. This is by design. More than simply the perfect religious metaphor for the technological age, it’s now a patterned response. A file, as you’ll remember, is hereby condemned to the scrapheap of computerdom if it is not righteously saved. And then for any of you religious progressives out there, there’s also ‘Save As’. For all their other faults, at least computers aren’t prejudicial. Don’t want to be saved the traditional way? Fine. Just as long as you pick something, like a secular pdf format. You see, pdf's are kind of the non-sectarian way to go through the motions of being saved — producing a more generic result not fit for the altar, because nobody alters a pdf.

Remember that if you fail to save a computer file, it goes into oblivion. The PC user therefore has the potential to determine the fate of a microcosm of society. That’s a lot of power in a mouse click. The file even begs your forgiveness if you get distracted and forget to save. It says, "Are you sure you want to prevent me from embarking on my journey toward digital salvation?" And so you unhesitatingly click on "Yes, you lousy plebeian file. Besides, you don’t deserve to be saved... You load slowly, you don’t follow orders, you get lost, and you crash frequently. Why should I do anything for you?" They have a button that says that.

I thought I might be overreacting, but then after crossing over to other media and listening to the wall-to-wall radio ads pushing the same agenda, a pattern emerged in what was not unlike an epiphany. Without the need for much analysis, I’ve gotten the distinct impression that they want me to save. That’s kind of the theme I picked up from their 30-second ramblings. Did you know that there’s never been a better time to save? And guess what else? Savings like this won’t last long. Yup, hard to believe, but I heard it myself.

They’re saying that for some reason, this current point in time is the ultimate opportunity to be saved. It kind of makes me feel privileged to be living right now. Whatever you’ve saved before, and whatever you’ll save later, it won’t be able to compare with that level of savings you can partake in within our glorious present. They’re practically preaching to us, folks. And the only fundamental difference between ad narrators and evangelists is that evangelists get caught.

I didn’t know what they were selling or how much it would cost me, but as they were hypnotizing me at least I knew that in the grand scheme of the council on saving money, I was coming out way ahead if I heeded their words of advice. They were even likely to put me in the Savers Hall of Fame for those clever purchases I was so expertly negotiating. Frankly, I couldn’t believe how much they were letting me get away with there. I believe they were losing all their money just so I could get the best deal possible. I felt compelled to make an extra donation to them or something so they could spread this joy around to more people.

And in becoming a master purchasing agent, I was quickly learning that it’s not how much you spend per se, but rather how much you’re not spending by getting a better deal. So they taught me that even better than getting a dollar off a $2 item is getting a hundred dollars off a four thousand dollar item. You get those bonus points for how much you swindled those unknowing merchants for. In some cases, they would even let me lock in a price, which I think means that they’ll subject themselves to handcuffs and go on a 14-day fast on my behalf while I’m getting this ripping good deal. This is all against their will, by the way. They are so desperate to make a sale that they’ll let me determine the conditions.

The neat thing is that they were considerate enough to help out with the psychological aspects of confidence buying by first raising their regular prices, allowing me to save even more. The bottom line is in the save factor. Normally I’d be saving only $5 by paying $45 for an item, but thanks to them I was saving an extra $25. It still costs $45, mind you, but now I’m saving a whopping $30 off the $75 markup, dang it. That’s 40% off, and that’s something to sing hallelujah about. Those percentages, you’ll note, are more important than the actual dollar amount. A couple months ago I got 30% off on a washing machine, which is like the GNP of some small countries. Granted, I have no idea what the original price was or how much I paid. But as long as I was saving money, I was happy. That is, until I started noticing a vicious trend...

I’ve since had a great awakening and seen the light. One day I woke up, and I smelled that percolating coffee (though I didn’t drink it and didn’t inhale). It all became clear to me why they wanted me to save.

To top it all off, Gottschalk’s was holding a going-out-of-business sale, meaning their progression was stopped. They advertised 40-70% off of everything in the store. It was interesting to note that some items were marked the normal 40% going-out-of-business rate, and then they had some other items that were marked the special 70% clearance rate. No wonder they went out of business! If they’re dumb enough to think a going-out-of-business sale can have clearance items, then they can’t be saved in such ignorance.

I’m wise to all of their shenanigans now. And I’m saved — from the ignominy of falling for sales pitches forever more, amen.


Terry said...

You forgot the holy grail of being saved: Free Shipping!

Sean said...

I was going to vote in your poll about where to live, expenses paid, for one year. The first option was Hawaii, which sounded good since I live there now and would like someone to pay my mortgage and buy pizza once in a while when I don't want to cook. I was going to choose that one, but then I saw the bottom choice: United States. Wait. Would I would be living in a Hawaii in which the Hawaiian sovereignty movement has reached its fondest goals? Would I be subject to a King Kawananakoa? Would I need a passport to see my mom in Atlanta? Something sinister was going on. Some larger political force at work behind this poll.

I picked Russia, where it's safe.

Byte said...

Slaved is one letter away from being saved. You can only be saved if you don't go to L.

Sara said...

Very very true. People are so drawn into sales. Myself included to a degree. I'm trying to think of the latest "big" purchase I've made where I paid the 'regular' price. I can't.

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