Sunday, December 11, 2011

Selling Christmas

Yesterday Clementine had written an email to Rudy asking her to explain, if she could why there was all this advertising for things that people couldn't afford to buy.  She just didn't understand it, and felt that Rudy would, since she was a very smart cat.  Plus, she had Peep and LT to discuss it with, as well as the other Cat Club members who lived nearby.  She figured that between them all, they could give her a reasonable answer.

She checked her email when the yarn lady went out, saying that she'd be gone for several hours.  The yarn lady always told her how long she'd be gone.  Clem knew she was trying to reassure her that she would return as well as giving her a time frame in which to expect her.  She didn't realize that it also let Clem know how long she could use the computer safely before she was likely to come home.  She'd learned early on, though, to wait at least fifteen minutes after the yarn lady left.  She frequently forgot things like her car keys and had do come back to get them.  It wouldn't do for her to walk in and find Clem perched on the computer table maneuvering the mouse and staring intently at the computer monitor. 

There was an email from Rudy, and she read it with dismay.

Subject: A primer on business and the commercialization of Christmas

(that was enough in itself to dampen Clem's spirits.  It didn't sound like she would like any part of this answer)

Clem, you are a very young kitten, for all that you are half-grown.  Television stations are businesses, and they exist to make money.  The service they provide is shows and news and such, but they wouldn't do it if it didn't make money, and as much money as they can get out of it.  It costs a lot of money to make television shows.  Actors in the shows have to get paid, as well as all the people who work on them (you know, all those lists of names at the end of the shows).  So, the television stations sell advertising time on their shows.  The stations want to sell the most ads they can in order to make that money.  They really don't care whether the ads are for things that people can't afford, don't need or don't even want.  There are *some* rules they need to follow because of laws. There is a limit to the amount of time (12 minutes/hour on weekdays) for ads in kids’ shows.  It used to be that there were television ads for cigarettes, but because they're not healthy for humans, they aren't allowed to have ads for them on television anymore.  On the other hand, drug companies didn't used to be allowed to advertise prescription medication on television, but now they can.  From all the warnings in the ads, I'm not sure they're any better for you than cigarettes, but the laws say they can accept ads for those drugs, but not cigarettes. 

The people who make the ads are a whole business in themselves.  They come up with ways to make stuff look the best and make people want to buy it.  You mentioned in one of your emails about prices being for $9.99 or something like that.  The advertising people did all sorts of research with humans, and believe it or not, humans' brains are fooled into thinking that $9.99 is really a better price than $10.00 even though it's just a penny less.  And the humans in commercials are always smiling, and better looking than most of the folks you'd see on the street on any given day (especially if you live on my street).  That's so that the humans will think that if they buy the stuff they'll be happy and surrounded by good-looking people. 

And as for why there are so many toy and television ads at this time of year, I don't have a really good answer.  I did some research, and from what I can tell, up until a little over a hundred years ago people didn't make such a big fuss over Christmas presents.  People gave their family members a practical thing or two, or something they gave handmake presents.  Somehow in the last hundred years humans started thinking that Christmas would be better with lots and lots of presents, and that the presents had to cost a lot of money. 

Our Mommy and Daddy are more like the old-fashioned folk.  There's not a lot of presents, and the ones there are really mean something.  They're things that are needed for the most part.  And they never forget me, Peep and LT.  We get treats for Christmas and usually some bacon and other stuff.  I'm kind of sad that Mommy and Daddy will be away for Christmas this year, but I know the yarn lady will come over and give us an extra special Christmas dinner and spend some time with us.  She did that the last time Daddy went to Mary Land for Christmas.  I'm kind of hoping she brings the food you put in your blog - you know the one with the shrimp?  I don't think I've ever had a whole shrimp to myself. 

Well, enough from me.  See you on the interwebs!

Clem understood about half of what Rudy had written.  She had heard of business, but really didn't understand it.  She knew that people needed money to pay for things they needed and wanted and that most people got that money from jobs.  She guessed that maybe the jobs were with the businesses.  She figured that the business made money so that it could pay its employees so they could pay their bills.  Did they want to make more money so they could hire more employees?  Maybe pay them more, so they could buy more stuff?  She didn't think so, or the unemployment rate she kept hearing about on the radio wouldn't be so high and the yarn lady's friends wouldn't talk about how their jobs didn't pay them very much money.  Even LuLuBelle, who was a chef, of all things, said her job didn't pay her very much.  Chefs should be at the top of the pay scale from Clem's point of view, especially one who cooked as well as she did. 

This was too complicated, and the yarn lady would be home soon.  It was time to log off, clear out the evidence of her computer time and collect her yarn balls.  She really needed a good game of yarn balls to clear her head.  Hopefully the yarn lady would be home soon and ready to play.

Photo courtesy of


Adorably Dead said...

Very cute, your cats are adorable. ^_^

Adorably Dead (Gain comments and readers) swapbot

ilona said...

That is a great photo of Ronald! Gosh he was a great leader. I look at who is running now and wish there was a man like Regan...I wouldn't mind another Clinton too. This country needs a good leader. Nice to meet you! Ilona @ swap-bot

Glory said...

The absurdity of that Chesterfield ad cracks me up.
Glory (Sauterelle) from Swapbot