Monday, February 06, 2006

Bad ideas made worse

I was at a grocery store (a bigger one than I usually go to), when I saw the most terrible thing being offered in those stupid toy-dispensers....

The two in the middle there are little rubber bracelets, like the ones originally put out by Lance Armstrong. But these are much much worse.

First, let me explain why the bracelet idea was a terrible one to begin with (The Asylum Street Spankers have a very good song and dance on a similar topic: "Support our Troops" car magnets):

  • They serve no function; and are therefore a waste of resources (I suspect they're also not recyclable);
  • They come individually wrapped in plastic packaging, and these are further packaged in packs of ten;
  • They represent that you bought them for $1, ONE FREAKIN' DOLLAR, the proceeds of which will go to (in Armstrong's case) the (US?) Cancer Society. The amount you spent on shipping went to USPS and, if you live outside the US, your local government customs bureau.
  • They are used as a status icon. People even collect these bracelets to get the different colours! It doesn't even matter that some measly part of the money you spent on them actually went to a good cause!

These piles of plastic paraphernalia being pushed in the supermarket also serve no function, and are also individually wrapped. However, they come further packaged in hard plastic bubbles (which, whether or not they are recyclable, you know the kid's just going to toss it in the trash).

They also cost a dollar, only the proceeds of this go to the company that you bought it from. Not that it will stop others who see your status icon from thinking that the money went to charity.

They are a complete bastardization of this concept. It's exactly like Christmas. Christmas was originally (never mind the pagan/Christian roots) supposed to be a way of celebrating charity and humanity (giving money to charity, in this case). Then, this charity took the form of giving gifts--material objects that represnt charity (the original wristbands). Now, the entire Christmas industrial engine is about getting, and about having, and the ties to humanity are lost (the grocery store wristbands).

If you look closer, you'll see the one on the left actually is a children's bracelet. Exactly like Christmas I say! Hook 'em in as consumers as early as you can!

I'll be writing a letter to the manager.... [Edit: I didn't.]

- RG>

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