Modern Conveniences

Modern marketing really scares me.  And I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse.

A few years ago John and I needed to replace broken toilet that had a built-in shelf above the tank top.  (Not the kind of tank top you wear, but the kind with all the parts of a toilet that break.)

We needed a special size and type.

Toilet with shelf 2

Naturally, I looked online to find the best price.  Then off-to Home Depot John and I went expecting to flush away a wad of money.

As we were trying to choose between two models, the salesman tried to help us make the decision:

“You can flush an entire bucket of golf balls down this American Standard toilet and it won’t clog,” he said.

John tilted his head, dog like, and looked at the salesman trying to figure out if he was joking.  He wasn’t.

I looked at John and then at the salesman.  Somehow I maintained an interested customer demeanor.  “Why would we want to do that?” I asked.  “We don’t golf.”

“I’m just sayin’ that you could,” said the salesman.  “I mean, if you did golf.”

“We probably wouldn’t be golfing in the bathroom,” John said, thoughtfully.  “I mean, if we did golf, we wouldn’t golf there.  We’d probably do it outside.

“And if we take up golf, I think I’d rather keep the golf balls in the garage,” I added.

“Plus we have a septic system.  I don’t know if it is designed for golf balls.”

“It might be hard to explain to the guys when they pump it out.”

We had to leave or we would have wet our pants in the toilet aisle of Home Depot.  In spite of the fact that it would be expensive, we opted to replace the innards of our own non-golfing toilet instead of spending – I kid you not – more than $1,000 on a toilet that would fit the spot and accept golf balls.

Since then, though, I have been getting ads for toilets.  But not just any old toilet.  Strangely shaped toilets.  Apparently, to the marketers of America, I not only like to flush strange hard things down my toilets, but I like my toilets to look like anything but.  Or butt.

Toilet 2Toilet 1Toilet 3

So imagine my dismay when I read this article that explains where modern advertising is heading.

They’re going to mine our DNA

to figure out how to market stuff to us.

The article gives the example of someone who is lactose intolerant getting special coupons for lactose-free stuff.

Oh joy.

I wonder if my DNA will tell folks that I’m not interested in what they’re selling.

Which gene says "NO SOLICITING"?

Which gene says
“NO SOLICITING”?

 

All the pictures are from Google Images.  I can’t wait to see what they try to sell me next!

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81 Comments

Filed under Conspicuous consumption, Gizmos, Health and Medicine, Humor, Technology

81 responses to “Modern Conveniences

  1. The ole Royal Flush, huh? (Somebody hadda say it) :)

  2. You two made that poor guy look silly. I bet he was glad to see the back of y’all heading outta that store. But you know, some folk will say anything to sell a product. But it’s never a good idea to say anything and turn out to look silly. You shoulda asked him if he tested what he said. I mean, really. How does he know?

    • In reality, he was chuckling along with us. There was a big picture on the box of a bucket of golf balls. Apparently they were supposed to use that schtick. But nobody had ever questioned it, I guess.

      (I would only be that mean in my imagination!)

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  4. I’m nominating you for the Liebster award. It’s an award for up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers (which I don’t even know if that’s true for you) and I think you should win.http://risexfromxthexashes.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/liebster/

    • Thanks, Wanderer! I just wandered over to your place. Nice blog!

      I’ve actually already gotten the Liebster — it was my first award. But I’m honored that you thought of me.

  5. Clinton

    Wait, still laughing… waaaaiit… Okay.
    You could have replied, “Do you have one that will flush footballs?” And then acted disappointed after he replied no.

    But yes, I agree. I yearn for the days when manufacturers spent more on product design instead of marketing research. I think the FTC should force manufacturers/retailers to offer good products rather than over market bad ones. Maybe I’m merely jaded.

  6. So I want a toliet that beeps when you don’t put the lid down. I also want a toilet that pints when you miss, you know when you hit the back, the sides or the floor. Would my DNA tell them that?

    I kinda like those toilets you found, very avant guarde.

    You do realize even if they found a gene that said, “No Soliciting” they would ignore it.

    • Yeah, they would ignore it. But someone would develop a “do not solicit” list and the marketers would get in big trouble if they ignored it. Right?

      When we lived in France you could put a sign on your mailbox that said “Pas de solicitations.” No solicitations. No junk. No crap. It was wonderful and saved the forests of Europe.

      Wish there was an electronic (or a USPS) equivalent!

      • So was it the postman’s job to separate the mail before putting it into the mailbox?

        • I think they separated it into crap and non-crap ahead of time — we do too with the bulk mail stuff — notice it’s always at the back of the pile. Then they only gave it to people who didn’t have the sign. It was great. Seriously, I’d love it if I could say not to the 25 catalogs and mailers I get every day. And while I recycle them, producing them still eats up trees by the tons and creates a huge amount of pollution. For something we all hate. Great investment!

  7. I would’ve questioned who the heck poops golf balls, myself. I mean, yeah, maybe a few 75-calibre musket balls, but golf balls? ;)
    I can’t WAIT to see what marketing ploys my DNA triggers. After all, I’m not aware of any warp-drive wholesalers out there…. :D

  8. Hey! We got that golf ball story, too! Only ours was a pretty cheap 400 dollar toilet……And it may work just fine for golf balls, but it does occasionally have a hard time flushing….well…..”other stuff”. The stuff that isn’t golf balls. You know.

    • I do think that you are my long lost twin, Moms. We have waaay too many things in common! And now toilets. Wow.

      As I recall, the box the toilets came in displayed a bucket of golf balls. What a stupid, stupid gimic! “Stun your customers with stupidity!”

      We’ve never tried to flush a golf ball down the toilet we had repaired. Other stuff goes down just fine, though. Oy.

  9. Melanie

    I love that you don’t pardon your puns. I don’t understand that. If there is “no pun intended”, choose a different word or phrase.
    P.S. yay! for working toilets.

    • Melanie, as someone with Crohn’s Disease, working toilets are right up there with oxygen. And I rarely return to a restaurant that has a single serve bathroom!

      I love puns — you seem to too. Sadly I’m not really very good at them. I groan quickly when someone else comes up with one, so I figure that’s something.

      • Melanie

        My sister puts working toilets and oxygen on the same level, but for a different reason. She knows where every restroom is in every place she goes before she gets there so she doesn’t have to waste precious seconds searching.

        I do love puns. There’s a level of cleverness required to pull on off, so, to me, excusing a pun is like saying they don’t think they’re witty. I say if you’re going to pun it, own it. I’ve long wanted to put together a post on my fun blog where I pun like a madwoman and excuse not a one, but, alas, every pun runs from my madwoman mind when I sit down to compose.

  10. I get waaaay too many disturbing online ads.
    No toilets yet though,,,

    • I think it has to do with cookies (or is it cakes?). Whatever you look for on Google — in my case, toilets — they will pester you with until you die. I literally got pictures of toilets for about 2 years. How many did they think I was going to buy? Didn’t someone guess that either I’d bought one, fixed the old one, or dug a hole in the yard? Sheesh!

  11. anniedm778

    Well, knowing children, who are much influenced by watching what others do, a child might see that picture on the box and actually try to flush golf balls down any toilet at hand, lol. Then mom & dad would be sweating, not the toilet. I know my kids would have tried it, lol.

  12. Do you have to yell “fore!” when you flush?

  13. When you invite people over, do you explain that you have a cheap toilet and ask them to please refrain from swallowing excessive amounts of golf balls before visiting?

    • I usually try not to serve golf balls, and fortunately not many of my friends or family members are inclined towards golf as a sport or dining experience. (And unless you have a problem like my Crohn’s, I think most people try to stick closer to home and their own uh, golf carts.

  14. Forget the golf ball-flushing toilet, you now need one that could flush all that toilet-related junk mail.

  15. I’m guessing that would be a strong selling point for those who poop buckets of golfballs?

  16. Really funny, Elyse!! I just loved those thoughtful answers from you and Sir John!! :)

  17. The post was hilarious and now the comments are killing me. Thanks for my morning laugh, Elyse.

  18. twindaddy

    Those toilets look like oversized coffeemakers. If the scour my DNA they’ll find an overabundance of profanity. I hope they enjoy that.

  19. As a golfer, I was wondering why I would want to dump a bucket of golf balls down a toilet! Obviously, someone decided that is a great sales pitch, and the sales person was excited to use it!

  20. Those are some pretty fancy looking toilets! I wouldn’t want to get them dirty they look like art.
    That poor sales guy probably had to go in the back room and have a good cry after you left, mumbling all the while, “How it go so wrong? I followed my script perfectly.”.

    • We were actually a little nicer to the salesman than I let on in the piece — he laughed along, a little bit anyway.

      And there are some weird toilets in the world — I got ads for all of them online. But I have simple tastes, I just prefer working ones!

  21. I love the way a product I view online then follows me around like a stalker. Eventually, it may even offer me a better price or free shipping. It obviously does know my DNA.

  22. moi

    I think it has been that way for ages, I just ignore all online ads.

    • I try to, but it is a little bit creepy how they know what you’re looking for.

      • moi

        it is, it is all down to the tracking in the browsers that you use and the websites that you visit, facebook and all those issues with privacy are connected with things like this.

        Everything you do on the web is used to target advertising to you which they think is tailored to what you are looking for.

  23. I could have had some fun with that salesman. Poor guy. I bet he gets a lot of crap for that gimmick. Great post and the comments are a great read as well.

  24. I’m not sure most septic systems are designed to treat golf ball waste. I’d also want to know what makes him think that golf balls and human feces are really comparable. What the hell has this guy been EATING??

  25. You should have told the pushy salesman you were looking for a model that would flush volleyballs.

  26. Trinidad E. Huff

    I love all the hype over how a toilet will flush stuff. I have told customers, if you think you need a toilet that will flush 16 golf balls, it is more likely that you need a Doctor and not a Plumber.

    • This comment got stuck in spam. Welcome.

      I agree with your assessment of the need for a doctor not a plumber, but I wonder how you decided on16

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