EMBEDDED ADVERTISEMENTS (at the blood pressure machine) Bye John Watts

Doesn’t it drive you mad to encounter so many insidious advertisements nowadays?
Why just the other day I was at the self-service blood pressure station at the pharmacy of my local grocery store when it happened again.
You know that station. It’s where you always having to WILL yourself past the doughnut section and say “excuse me” to the grim line of costumers in line at the pharmacy ready to advocate fiercely for their filled prescription.
After typing in my birth-date, age, weight, and gender into the flat screen options; I expected my usual treat: the soothing sound of the female computer voice telling me to “relax—you’re doing great.” “Clear your mind. That’s it!” In fact I had come to really enjoy our relationship—me and the blood pressure machine ladies voice. I looked forward to hearing her voice so much that it was frankly becoming impossible TO clear my mind. I wondered what she looked like. This saintly lady that expected nothing but my happiness and never got upset when I disobey like the GPS lady I drove around with (“recalculating!”)
But this time, instead of just listening to my meditative ladies voice and getting my blood pressure reading results promptly, I was delayed another 50 seconds by a mini drama commercial on the screen with some actor playing a real person suffering from Shingles who couldn’t keep his golfing appointment. The guy even lifted his shirt to show the world what his shingles looked like on his torso. It was hideous! Terry Bradshaw couldn’t even have lived with that!
I mean—I didn’t even know this guy but here I was being subjected to all of his trials and hopes and dreams. My arm cuff wouldn’t even relax its grip on me even though my test was over—until I had been subjected to another actor pretending to be somebody I should care about, showing me how vital he or she is now that they take this prescription.
I could just feel my blood pressure start to rise!
I see this all the time as a late night internet user who is constantly waging war on invading pop up boxes that obscure the web-site I am trying to read. How many articles have I found that I had to speed read through due to Pacman gobbling walls of advertisements blowing in like a bad weather pattern over the exact section I was still reading?
About the only break when opening up a Utube video is the welcome announcement that I can CLOSE an ad in 10 or 20 seconds (sometimes longer).
Sad to say, it seems my life is destined to be spent as a guy who can only get the limited time only FREE web-sites and not the paid ones!
But back to my lamenting.
When I want to download a video, I can only get the article. When I want an article I can only access the video. The frustration goes on and on. Intrepid internet hunters like myself; looking for the perfect assignment or source of information, often finish their hunt hours later with haunted looks from deeply set, dark circled eyes—coming up as empty as a fisherman using the wrong bait.
And as a classroom teacher, I am constantly stymied by ever shifting and morphing commercials that lay their eggs deep inside some video clip that I have prepared and reviewed the night before (which went flawlessly the night before), to show my students.
It’s not enough to just have a print ad splashed across the blood pressure machine. Now we have “Cross-Merchandising” examples all over the grocery with healthy reminders by the blood pressure machine just as surely as ping pong balls and limes can be found in the ABC section.
But all of this is OK by me because, in the end, we are all hopelessly duped consumers who actually become very fond of even the commercials too. I realized this when I was watching taped, DVR TV shows with my wife.
Despite the breakthrough of speeding through the block of endless commercials (extended by the usual mini drama plots of prescription drugs and actors playing real people) with just a touch of the clicker—I found myself wanting to go BACK and see the commercials that I deemed to be of interest and worth checking out.
I mean how could I miss out on the latest witty twist of the new Geiko ad? Am I suddenly too high and mighty to not hear a good sales pitch? We need something to talk about at the water cooler at work don’t we?
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About John Watts

I like to write transcendental community based essays and stories along with photo journalism pieces.
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