Snake Oil Dream Shopping

About dreams, shopping, mailshots.

The other morning I got this slim packet in the post which told me to open this golden wallet and see what was inside. Inside I found a 'Prestige' cardboard credit card enabling me to buy a coat from this catalogue that normally would be 70 Euros, but I also found a cheque for a thousand Euros. Wow! The cheque said 'specimen' though in very faded small writing. Still, I scrutinized for the small print. I didn't have to make a purchase. It was mostly old fashioned clothes anyway, but surprisingly I knew it was actually good quality.

So had I won a thousand?! I kept looking at the glossy papers, now with a magnifying glass - a thousand would be very useful to me and I could feel myself wanting to believe it. Then I noticed in a small square in the bottom corner of one sheet the tiny words that explained how the specimen cheque allowed you to try to win 1000 if it was the one picked. So of course I should have just chucked all this crap away, it was just trying to get me tied in to this catalogue shopping.

Now, I suppose this often works because a lot of time and money is spent on designing this stuff and tricking people. And it is the same with selling mortgages and loans. The big corporations have the advantage of the media at their disposal. They are the pushers. At the same time, if I'm struggling to survive financially, I need a way out and want to believe in miracles, in the dream that I am or could soon be rich and carefree. Having a dream isn't a bad thing surely, but those who exploit it knowingly, well...

Once an acquaintance of mine recounted a story that when he was in a pub everyone was asking what he and his friends did, and when it came to him he said he was a drug pusher. There was some consternation and disbelief, but when he insisted that was what he did it began to turn a bit ugly, tending towards violence in fact.

Actually he was a drug pusher, he pushed around the trolley of drugs in the local hospital for the doctors, he had a rather droll sense of humour, this acquaintance.

How do you sell a good product that you know will be useful to people and that they need? If you sell it like snakeoil you have a problem, but if you don't sell it at all you risk just being invisible.

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