“Everyone is on the radar and subsumed by the detritus of life. Under the radar, on the ground, we find the same old rubbish: cigarette butts, biodegradable bags of biodegradable dog shit, newspapers curling in the breeze like unravelling bandages, licked out yoghurt pots, lottery cards hopelessly scratched, torn pants, and condoms. But at least it’s quiet.”
Suppliers, Utilities, Banks etc.: most of us use the services of big business to run our homes. One pervasive problem is that they all believe their needs take priority over everything else in our lives. It’s their credo and their law.
They’ll call you up any time of the day or night or bury you under a mountain of letters and emails. Their smiley representatives, accost you in the street and vandalise our towns and villages with billboard advertising. When you don’t jump to attention the instant they snap their fingers, they become neurotic and spiteful. They shout ever louder, the typefaces of their letters become more aggressive, bigger and redder like Soviet Revolutionary propaganda screaming at you through letterboxes, inboxes, the telephone, radio and TV. Reminders become commands: renew driving license! renew passport! get house insurance! get car tax! upgrade now! don’t miss the deadline! verify now! don’t miss out! send the meter reading now! List upon list of obligations, some demanding fines for non-compliance, some threatening excommunication.
We want what they supply only to make our lives easier, nothing more.
Like me, you want to heat your home, to enjoy the convenience of a telephone, from time to time I want to watch TV and buy things on the internet. What I don’t want is all the fuss and intrusion involved in every interaction with these corporations. I don’t want their newsletters, add-ons, apps or personal managers, I don’t even want to be asked and I certainly don’t want to be tricked into accepting or not accepting when I’m instructed to tick or untick a box so as to not receive or to receive whatever it is I actually don’t want.
Why all the personal assaults, the letters, and phone calls, can’t they just accept they’ve trapped me and leave me alone? Why all the advertisements in newspapers, posters at bus stops and infomercials on television? Everywhere we look every available space is taken up by one or other of these corporations cajoling us to do something. Even government licensing has become ludicrously commercialised with a hefty part of the fees we pay handed over to advertisers and marketers. I wonder if corporate executives ever ponder the impact on the business if they were to stop advertising altogether, stopped cluttering up our environment with their banal expletives? Should we tell them that there’s so much advertising pollution it’s become nothing but white noise?
In my career, one thing I have learned is that for the most part Big Business spending on advertising does very little other than feed the vanity of CEOs. Most advertising is as effective as pitching to a shoal of goldfish.
All we want from them is to supply us with whatever we need with the minimum of fuss.
Rebel Rules: Corporations have no mechanism for dealing with individuals who will not engage with them. Silence confounds them and they soon lose interest.
So, insist they put whatever they’re calling about in writing and block their telephone numbers*.
Return official-looking letters unopened, marked “Not Interested!”
Result: It took three months for the tide to reduce to a dribble. Shutting them out had absolutely no adverse impact on day to day living.
* Blocking numbers is easy with mobiles. Blocking numbers on a land-line require either a blocking service or a special phone, neither of which costs much.
>Location when written: Raffles Place, Singapore
>Music I was listening to: Visage ~ We fade to grey