Me: (tries to visit a local restaurant’s website via iPhone)
Restaurant website: I require Flash. Fuck off.
Me: I just want to know how late you’re open.
Me: But I’m on my phone. Don’t you have a little “HTML Version” link up in the corner or something?
Website: I’m ignoring you.
Me: What if I’m on my phone because I’m out, looking for a place to eat? Didn’t that ever occur to you?
Website: Fuck entirely off.
Me: (gives up, switches to computer)
Website: Oh! Hi! What can I help you with today?
Me: What are your —
Website: Hang on, I’m loading the music.
Website: You’ll love it. It’s “Girl from Ipanema” arranged for steel drum and keytar.
Me: No, you don’t have to —
Me: All I want is —
Website: I SAID DOT DOT DOT.
Me: (drums fingers on desk)
Website: There we go. Isn’t that nice? It’s… what’s the word. Ethnicky.
Me: What are your hours?
Website: Take a look at our menu! It’s a PDF of a screenshot of a scan of a Word document printed on a dishtowel. With fonts!
Me: I don’t care. What are your hours?
Website: Don’t worry, the menu loads in a new window so the music won’t stop. Can I show you some broken images?
Me: What. Are. Your. Hou. Rs.
Website: I… I don’t know.
Me: (goes to Denny’s)
Why is it so difficult to find affordable quality in retail stores these days? Sure, we’re painfully dragging ourselves out of the midst of an economic downturn at the moment, but why does that warrant retailers to relentlessly swindle us out of our hard-earned cash? We’re all part of the same economy, it’s tough for us too!
I’ve noticed that more often than not these days, “affordable” just doesn’t cut it. It seems that in the retail world, “affordable” is just synonymous with “junk”, as retailers fervently encourage you to splash out on the “wise investment”, “necessary expense” or whatever other terms they use for the stuff that actually works. If you decide you’re gonna fight the power and insist on something affordable that seemingly does the job, quite often you’ll find you end up with a huge amount of stress, time, energy and money spent that all congeals into a snarling heap of opportunity cost. That is, in the long run it seems that, you’d be better off just succumbing to the bullies in marketing and buy the expensive model that works.
So far, quite general. Now a personal anecdote: buying a printer. This is the main motivation behind this post, because the buying process was so infuriating I could not just let it go without a rant. Printers aren’t cheap at the best of times, but if you want one that doesn’t completely SUCK and will break the first time you extend the paper tray, you’re already looking at a moderately expensive version.
Then there’s the salesmen. As soon as you hear the word “sales” in a store worker’s personal introduction as they greet you, run a mile. They’re not there to help you. They’re there to warp your finely tuned, carefully logical common sense so that you start to think buying something you don’t need, don’t want, or can’t afford (any combination or all of those three) would be a sensible idea. Utter bull. Those people don’t help. They pocket mine through lies, sales fluff, faked empathy and an unrealistic ploy that they care for your situation.
For example, I had a good chat with a printer salesman working for a specific brand (I won’t bother name-dropping) in a popular UK computer retail store, and I sceptically listened to what he had to say. I found it ludicrous listening to some of the things he came out with, all carefully rehearsed of course.
First off: the USB cable. He said no printers came with it, and that I’d have to buy it separately. Ok, kinda believable I guess, but untrue. The printer model I eventually bought came with one.
Second, I mentioned I was looking for a wifi printer, and he immediately recommended one of the top-range printers from his own brand (of course), claiming that they were “the first to do wifi and therefore the best”. Sweeping generalisation. And besides, wifi is wifi. Apart from variations in specs, it ends there.
Third, printer cartridges, the most irritating part of the printing experience. This guy claimed that the particularly expensive model he was endorsing came with totally filled ink cartridges that are equivalent to new ones, whereas all other printer models were only partially filled and would only print “2-3 pages MAX”. He was adamant this was the case. The printer I eventually purchased has so far printed dozens of pages with no signs of running out.
So all this, compounded by all the other BS he was verbally exhuming, has contributed considerably towards the the cynic of the retail world I seem to be becoming. I was forced to, in the end, purchase a printer (not the one the sales guy was endorsing) that was nearly twice as much as I was expecting to spend, simply because all the others totally sucked, looked like they would be lucky to survive a week, or had some kind of unbecoming feature that ruined the rest of the product. And I see this everywhere, not only consumer electronics, but household appliances & furnishings, utilities, technology and quite often, services also.
Is it too much to ask to get what we need without wasting time/money/effort obtaining it?
After long consideration, I decided to setup a new blog on a new domain - hence you are seeing this. This will replace my old blog (mattrepreneur.eu) as of now and all future updates will be made here (the old domain will be redirected in a few days).
If this is your first time visiting a blog of mine, basically I’ll be updating it with news about the happenings in my life and I usually post something new every 3-7 days depending on what’s new.
Well, that’s about it! Hasta luego.
I’m irrationally, disproportionally offended by affiliate marketing on the internet. Early on, when Tumblr was just three people (me, David, and Marc), we had to decide whether to allow affiliate-marketing blogs.
These are the sites whose primary purpose is to drive traffic through links for which the blog publisher gets an affiliate payment, often for scammy, non-physical products like paid “how-to” ebooks. They’re easy to spot, usually looking something like this:
Best Floor Tile Reviews Blog
Did you know that the Best Floor Tile Reviews are on the internet? Let’s explore the best floor tile reviews together so I can tell you all about the best floor tile reviews. Click here to learn more about the best floor tile reviews.
The decision isn’t black and white because they don’t fit everyone’s definitions of spam. They’re usually human-created (in the same way creepy Scientologists offering stress tests in the subway are technically “human”), usually without automation tools. They’ll pass any CAPTCHA. And affiliate links aren’t always spam, such as when an otherwise non-spammy person links to a great book on Amazon with an affiliate code once in a while.
I don’t object to online commerce in general. Furthermore, I don’t object to other content that’s often lumped in with spam, such as porn. So how can I justify my hate for affiliate marketing?
I think it’s about sincerity.
Porn makes no effort to hide that it’s porn. It puts it right out there. “You wanted to see some naked people? Here are some naked people. Bam.” No ambiguity, and no attempts to trick visitors into thinking it’s something else.
Even regular bot-spam is pretty blatant. Sleazy guys write programs to spam the internet with thousands of cheap-drug offers. There’s no pretense of humanity or sincerity.
Affiliate marketing spam is much more offensive because it purports to be legitimate content. It relies on lost, naive Google searchers arriving on these pages, thinking they’re finding real content or reviews or recommendations, and being convinced that the best way to proceed is to spend a few dollars on this helpful ebook to learn more.
It’s not just commercial — it’s dishonest. Affiliate marketing is an attempt to trick people, Google, and web services into thinking that it’s real content. This inherent deception is far more offensive and reprehensible than its commerce.