Michael5000's Three Pet Peeves of Commercial-Speak
1. The startup screen on my computer that says "Welcome to Microsoft."
No, no, computer. You have this relationship all wrong. I own you. You are not sentient, and even if you did I am not in any way your guest. You are, at most, MY guest. You have no grounds to wish me welcome.
No, no, Microsoft Corporation. You, too, have this relationship all wrong. I have done you the favor of purchasing your product. I might, if I was in a better mood, politely wish you a welcome to the circuitry of my computer. You, however, should not be wishing me welcome to my own computer's operating system. I own that, too. I paid for it.
2. Advertisements that tell me what I "deserve."
Several times a day, a corporation informs me that I "deserve" their product. This pisses me off. First of all, how the hell do they know what ~I~ deserve? For all they know, I just finished a vigorous rampage of axe-happy bloodshed through an elementary school before picking up this magazine, or before downloading this website. Do I then "deserve" a frosty refreshing cool beverage? Arguably not.
Secondly, my understanding of the word "deserve" is that it means I have a right to the thing under discussion. Fine. Then give it to me. If, on the other hand, you are asking me to pay you for a thing that I deserve, are you not in essence holding my property for ransom? You damn thief!
3. The "Rewards" Program.
A reward is something you are given in recognition of your meritorious performance or service, right? You get a reward because, well, ya done good. You might get a reward for your bowling prowess, or for exceeding your sales goals, or for bringing a wanted man in alive. That's what a reward is.
By contrast, spending money on a credit card is not a meritorious act. Flying consistently on a single airline does not demonstrate your worth or ability. So, calling the premiums that are offered for this kind of consumer behavior "rewards" -- aside from being a transparent, smarmy, and condescending means of giving the customer some false flattery -- is basically inaccurate. They aren't rewards. They are premiums.
But really, most commercial language is kind of dumb. What elevates "rewards" to the level of a pet peeve is its connotation of moral rightness: because you spent money, you are good and should be rewarded. Thinking about consumerism this way probably doesn't really cheapen basic morality. People don't really seem to think that running up a credit card in order to "earn" "rewards" is the soul of virtue.
But it doesn't help, either.
By the Way....
It's my birthday. Yes. Thank you.