Posted by: nickgerlich | November 2, 2007

Air Supply

It’s funny how people complain about the pervasiveness of advertising. It’s everywhere, from TV and radio, to print, and even the restroom. You just can’t evade it.

Except for one time in which many people actually crave advertising.

Yes, there is a time and place in which we are held captive, have little choice for entertainment options, and start yearning for something to peruse.

Just last week I endured Southwest’s “see a runway, drop down and pick up some more passengers” business strategy while flying from Amarillo to Tampa. I had plenty of time to kill. I had exhausted the newspaper, the in-flight Spirit magazine, a couple of magazines I picked up at the airport, and a chapter in a book. My mind wanted something else. I tried looking sideways at the guy beside me reading Popular Mechanics, but that’s not polite.

Sky MallSo I rummaged around in the pouch in front of me, and I found it: The Sky Mall catalog.

Imagine that. There is actually a setting in which advertising looks good. It’s kind of like sitting at home and watching QVC. Only better, because I can flip the pages and get to the next product.

You know what? They have a lot of cool gadgets in that catalog. My wife once bought a couple of pet beds from there. And I spied a product that hooks up to a computer via USB that reads, scans, and digitizes old photographic slides. This is the perfect device for my wife-the-family-archivist.

Normally, it is the advertiser who is monitoring its radar, trying to find you. But in a strange twist, when you’re on an airplane, that radar works both ways. We get bored, so we go looking for the ads.

I have always said that the first sign you are a sucker is when you pick up the Sky Mall catalog. And the second sign? When you slip it into your carry-on bag to take home.

Oops. That makes the count 0-and-2 in the consumer batting box. Let’s hope I can conjure up a little self-restraint and not strike out.

Dr “Hanging On To Me Credit Card” Gerlich

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