Dissolve into Evergreens
Blink Blink White House Approved Departure of S...
Blessed are the Taxed Watching tonight's editio...
He's so Heavy Today for a brief moment during l...
Just Don't Celebrate at Work For labor day, I p...
Since You Asked About the Upcoming WTO Gathering ...
Freeper Poetry Random snippets of thought from ...
Martin Luther King "Where Do We Go From Here?" ...
Why is it that every time North Korea is in the ne...
Pop Quiz! I draw the majority of my income from...
Andy Stochansky good andy, andy used to play wi...
The Flaming Lips
The New Radicals
Death Cab for Cutie
Badly Drawn Boy
Coheed and Cambria
Atom Site Feed
Bright Lights, Dirty Spoons
LILEKS (James) The Bleat:
"I was standing in line at Target - and you might ask, when aren’t I standing in line at Target? Well, I haven’t made a run in three weeks. My wife is still at home, and that’s upset the Precious Routine. But we were down to the emergency bar of soap - either very old Lava or a very fresh brick - and so off I went with Gnat. "
Everybody and their dog quotes Lileks, so up 'til now I haven't actually wandered over there to take a peak. But Bitweever pulled up this quote about a Target experience. I just had to put my two cents worth into the cup.
Reading Lilek's short ruminations about an imaginary competitor that would swoop in and steal him away from Target was an insight into the consumer mind. One that I have to understand but cannot share.
Actually WORKING in a retail environment you quickly realize that the carefully orchestrated color schemes and slogans are merely a thin veneer over the same machinery that works everywhere else. As employees we are expected to pretend that our company is unique and special, but memories of your last company's similar claims makes that a bit hard to swallow. Its like working in a restaraunt, watching the same food company that supplies all the other restaraunts in the town pull up to your back door and unload the same white boxes with blue lettering. You notice the silverwear that never really gets clean but gets clean enough for the dimned light of the dining room. Occasionally, you witness an epiphany similar to the one described by James Lileks where for a brief moment the willingness to accept the illusions breaks down and they look at the dingy floor, the chipped counters, the dusty shelves and notice that despite the cheerful paint and colorful uniforms they're buying the same products here as there.
As a facilitator of the buying process (ie. sales staff) it is my often explicitly stated goal to help consumers create illusions about how a product will positively affect their lives, by either making tasks easier, more exciting, faster or cooler. You quickly learn to recognize two classes of shoppers; those that are there to get the tools they need to accomplish a task, and those that are looking for some vague, yet to be determined product that will bring a little excitement to their lives. I prefer the former, they are awake, aware, the latter is half asleep and all too often preyed upon by salesmen that have less scrupples than I do.
On this end of things I constantly marvel at the ability of consumers to transform their shopping experiences into acts of suspended disbelief. The music plays, people are moving all around you and products beckon from the shelves. They say that you exist in a semi-conscious state while you shop, and I believe that. As I work I navigate around people that float around in zombie-like states. The employees are cowboys amongst the herd, helping shoppers get a quick buying fix before we send them out the doors where they will re-awake and go about life as usual. During the heights of the holiday rush we sit around in breakrooms and wonder about the seemingly endless sea of consumers that seem unable to grasp even the most simple of concepts. Stores promise to suspend the laws of reality, if only for the short moments you spend shopping there, and when they fail a pact is broken and the consumer awakes from his stupor.
And he goes off in search of a shiny new illusion.
Open up a competitor with a cooler color scheme, a comparable pricing structure and a promise to open up another line as soon as the customers start to stack up, and I’ll abandon Target in a second.
Dissolve into Evergreens