Monday, August 13, 2007

Welcome to the Rewards You Deserve

I've been very positive about things lately in the pages of this online journal. This can't be good for readership. Therefore let us commence with some bitching and moaning, as L&TM5K brings you:

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.


chuckdaddy2000 said...

Happy Birthday Michael (oops, I mean Mr. Michael5000), I had no idea.

I also find the Welcoming to my computer, not only annoying, but very strange. I feel like they're trying to let us know that the technological world is really not so cold. It's friendly and welcoming!!!

Rebel said...

Booooooo Booooooo Booooooo! (not sure why you deserve Boos but there you go) ;)

Happy Birthday. I could go on and on about pet peeves with the way language is used. One of my biggest right now is the use of the term "Hero" when describing a "martyr" or even a "victim". Don't get me started!

Rex Parker said...

"They're not saying 'Boo,' they're saying 'Boo-urns!'"

Happy birthday.

And if you didn't read my blog entry for Tuesday's puzzle before writing this entry, then that is truly an eerie coincidence...

I like it when my ATM thanks me for using it.


PS get a Mac already. Damn.

Karin said...

Damn. I hate it when I should've known it's someone's birthday.

Happy Birthday!

Doesn't it feel good to Bitch & Moan? Well done. You should be rewarded.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Rex, get a freaking Mac. Or run Linux.

It's your birthday? You could've said something! Happy birthday, fellow Leo!

Michael5000 said...

@Chuck, Karin: ...and I was afraid that the event we were at on Sunday would turn out to be a surprise party. I need not have feared.

@rebel: My favorite is when "hero" means "somebody who got himself killed through recklessness or indiscipline."

@Rex: Well, I actually went to press a little before you, by the looks of it. A coincidence like this deserves a cold, frosty.... oh, wait. (Here is Rex's post.)

@Karin: But that's different! You actually judged my behavior, and found it meritorious! So, I'll be looking forward to my reward.

@MDIC: And Happy Birthday to you too, fellow Leo!

fingerstothebone said...

Ever notice that there are lots and lots of bloggers who are Leos? I know another blogger who had a bday yesterday, and I only read something like 5 blogs. So happy birthday already!

Here's my pet peeve -- the ads that suck up to you to try to get you to buy something. You know -- '...because you're so caring & superiorly above average, you will appreciate our product...'

Beth Handley said...

Re what rebel said: Also "hero" applied to an overpaid person who is good at a sport and is well known for it. Hero?

Epistemz Dialektix said...

@Fidel Castro--happy birthday to you too; you are a hero.

gl. said...

hapy belated birthday, michael5000! shu-ju's right: there sure are a lot of leos here!

Michael5000 said...

@Max: Why, that's COMMIE talk!