We have nothing to fear but people who only know how to sell us fear
This morning, I received my usual advertisements of stupid things that I know I will never purchase. We all get those. Best Buy, trying to tell me that I have one whole day before their sale ENDS FOREVER, right before they send me another email telling me that I was lucky they extended the sale for JUST ONE MORE DAY. This continues until they realize I’m probably not reading their emails.
I’m not pointing the finger solely at Best Buy because practically every company under the sun, from Walmart to JCPenney’s sends me these “must do this deal right this instant” sort of letter, as if their ridiculous sales tactics will actually work. And they must, because they keep sending them. So I imagine some grandma in Wheatfield, Wyoming is running to Best Buy every fifteen minutes after they fire off another email.
But I’ve been okay with that, because it’s just one of those consequences of living in a civilization in the muck of all that capitalism has to offer. Yet, today, I think the bar dropped a bit too low.
I received this from The Sharper Image:
Now, I’m not saying that I dislike The Sharper Image, because I’ve spent hundreds of dollars at their store and online. But this just seemed all sorts of wrong. It came in an email, titled “We’ve got you covered. Shop virus outbreak essentials.”
Using the Coronavirus to sell products to people is so completely wrong and sets a horrible precedent. The other day, I went to Sam’s Club just to buy my normal groceries, and people are buying out hand sanitizer, health supplies, cold medications, toilet paper, and for some bizarre reason, Oreo cookies. The lines were huge, and people were hoarding things like the zombie apocalypse is right around the corner.
The President is saying that the Democrats are hyping the Coronavirus to put him out of power. The Democrats are saying the President is politicizing the Coronavirus to keep in power. The media is pointing out that more and more people are being infected by the virus. And the CDC? Well, no one’s really listening to them because they’re all paying so much attention to the hype of the situation and not really paying attention to what needs to be done.
People are rushing out and buying out face masks, even though the major reason you would have a face mask is to KEEP FROM GIVING THE VIRUS TO SOMEONE ELSE, not to prevent the possibility of receiving it. For the latter purpose, it’s probably about the same effectiveness of breathing through a towel while trying to avoid smoke inhalation. It can help, but not like something like a respirator, and as history has shown, when people take minor precautions like a face mask, they tend to do things that should only be done if you’re in full protective gear. Face it. We’re never really smart when it comes to those sorts of things.
But what would make this crisis so much easier to endure, and successful in its outcome, would be for companies to stop trying to profit off of the misery of other people by trying to sell us stuff we don’t need as fake remedies. It’s bad enough that we have former, yet completely disgraced, religious leaders like Jim Bakker selling a fake coronavirus cure, like an 18th century carnival swindler. Now, we have legitimate companies trying to sell us stuff as if it’s some kind of cure.
I wish I had some kind of answer, other than to advocate that we contact these types of companies and tell them to stop. Right now, I have zero desire to buy anything from Sharper Image just because of this, although I can’t say I’m planning to boycott them, because I like their products. But I tend to buy a lot from them, so this might keep me from buying anything from them until I’m not angry at this any longer. But, they’re a billion dollar company; they got that way by being completely insensitive capitalists. They don’t care.
Which is why so many of these companies, and our leaders, do this. They know no one will ever hold them responsible.
But I honestly don’t know what to do about it because my voice is not very loud, and not a whole lot of people listen to a squeaky wheel.