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Does Marketing Have Us By The Throat?

Funny look at consumer marketing.

This is a good question but the answer is about as elusive as "did the chicken or the egg come first."

The reason I thought about this in the first place is because recently I went to my local gas store (hate to throw any names out there but lets just say it's name is full of numbers, shhhhh) to get a lotto ticket and my favorite ice cold coffee frappuccino (again we will leave out the brand name, lets just say the name has something you look at in the sky and a male deer, who thought up that one anyway?).

When I went to get it, the rack was filled with some new flavor that I did not like. This is not the first time this has happened. This is the first time I started asking questions. I was told a variety of things such as, the product had been recalled, oops we must of run out and on and on. Every excuse led to another until it became nothing but comical lies.

Finally, an hourly employee who had recently left their employment, filled me into the truth. When this company gets a new product, it puts it out there with little or no regard to the people actually buying it. Some person sitting at a desk in some city somewhere was taken to lunch or given a call and sold this product. Since the company is large, it bought a lot and when it buys a lot it expects to sell a lot whether you and I like it at all.

With most products they may have been able to slide by but never mess with a persons coffee, that's like messing with your family. I know by now you may be saying why is this a big deal, it's not, unless this is the new norm for all large corporations. Is it?

We all know some products just don't make it. They wear out, get old or the company makes poor choices and goes under. What about the seemingly successful company's? Are they playing us for fools?  Ever feel like it's not what you want but what they want for you? One of my favorites is the pork sandwich at a certain fast food joint that comes out only when they bless us with it.

It's not even a real pulled or sliced pork sandwich it's pressed yet we gobble it up like were at a fire sale! How about milkshake flavors. You start liking the flavor only to have the company pull it without any real reason.

Could this all be marketing conditioning? Are we now working models of Pavlov's dog? Small business's don't seem to do this. So why do big business's think they can get away with it. People like what they like. People also usually are willing to try some new things especially if there is a chance the product is better, lasts longer or tastes better. Some products are just about perfect though and I wish they would leave them alone. The reality is it's not whats about good for us, it's about whats good for big business and their corporate profits.

Anybody remember when you would never see Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving? I remember when only a few live trees were sold early. There used to be lots of people that would not put up a tree until two weeks before X-mas and take it down by the 6th of January.

Now we see lights and crap on the shelf as early as the week before Halloween. The day after Thanksgiving has become a huge sales day for live trees and if you don't get your lights by 3-4 days after Thanksgiving forget about it!

You will have to go on a quest to find the right stuff and in the end you will settle after 87 stops at various hardware stores. As consumers we have become the running joke that the day after Christmas there are 364 shopping days left till Christmas.

Now if you ask someone in marketing at a big corporation, they will tell you everything is market driven but is that really true? I don't recall asking for a huge cup with my meal, even if I did get a couple of refills with my small cup, I at least did not feel like a complete pig.

I don't recall asking for asking for ergonomically shaped soap that you charge me more for and provide less soap. We all can come up with dozens of different examples for hours on end. I guess the question is when are we going to say enough is enough.

Somewhere along the road of life, we stopped being humans and now We are the farm animals at the trough accepting whatever is sloshed down in front of us. Well Suuuueeee Weeee! lol I can't help but comically picture Oliver Twist at the orphanage in the food line asking for more, "more sir please" lol.

Seriously, I think we all need to take a long hard look at what we buy, how we buy it and where we buy it. Cheaper is not always better. In fact short term cheaper always ends up costing you 10 times more in the end. It's no different than being in a prison with no real walls and being guarded by three guards with night sticks. It begs the question of why we stay? Why do we continue? No one has to tell you what you like or don't like you just like it because you do.

Sorta thought this was one of the perks to being free as opposed to being controlled by profits. So yes, marketing does have us by the throat with one hand and the other on our wallets. It's up to each of us to make changes.

Even small changes can have a lasting ripple effect. Maybe I will give up those frappuccino's once and for all...well, maybe not just yet.

But Hey! What do I know! I'm just a plumber!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Martha Dunningham February 07, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Enjoyed your blog and I agree!
Adam Wilkes February 07, 2013 at 09:32 PM
You said a mouthful this time, it's time to tell them all NO!


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