i am particularly sensitive to the manipulative & coercive (not redundant) merchandising utilized by chain stores. if i’m going to be manipulated, for heaven’s sake, put a little finesse into it; be gentle, tease me, play with me, just don’t beat me over the head with your tactics.
the most egregious example is our local cvs pharmacy on coast highway in laguna beach. it is the “electric kool-aid acid test” come to brilliant, candy-colored life. the forced perspective of the aisles, the hysterical colors (hyper-realism), the bland carpeting/tile/fluorescent lighting mimicking the direction of the aisles all leading you to some alleged nirvana, in this instance the liquor department. it’s enough to make you want to drink.
in a desperate attempt to make your visit drag on & on & on, they display a roman legion of cards for every imaginable event in one’s life (unless, of course, you’re gay, then you’re left with making do with heterosexual imaginings of love, marriage, death; trust me it is different.)
& while you’re waiting to pick up your medications, you can slip quietly into the ‘family planning’ aisle & root for your home team (go USC!) buying every kind of trojan (oh? they’re not associated? oh my, there goes that analogy, wilted like a spurned lover.)
i guess we are. now, i’ll give them this: they are located directly across the street from one of laguna’s most popular beaches & who wants to read some crap about how our world is dissolving into a vortex of war, poverty, taxes, tea-bag parties, famine, war, nuclear warheads, oil spills, natural disasters (earthquakes! volcanoes! planes falling from the skies!) dissolution & bankruptcy when you’re laying on the beach & all those bodacious babes are parading past your little square of paradise? harumph.
but then, but then, i turned the corner & men were on sale! something for everyone at only $6.99! smiling, handsome, white men & the lone african-american sports celebrity hawking youth! vitality! women! no one will know! our little secret! you too, can score a lasting (or fleeting, it all depends on you!) relationship with just a little hair/moustache/beard coloring. who could refuse such a world of promise?
i left cvs with only what i needed, glad to escape this madness and headed south on coast highway homeward bound.