Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A pet peeve

One marketing strategy we have here at work is to give some of our product away free. However, since no one has developed a way to make a profit off of giving things away, we try to be very judicious in our decisions about who will get free items. Almost every day, we get these "I have a job, give me free shit" letters. The letter-writers do not want to see our product so that they can decide whether to make their students buy 50 of them; they have not been ordered by their bosses to write up a review of our product. No, all they have going for them is a job and a huge sense of entitlement. This makes me irrationally angry. I do not write letters to Kroger asking them to give me free groceries because I have a job. I do not waltz into Walgreens with a request on letter-head for them to give me free contact solution because it's expensive and I have a job. But the thing I hate the worst about the whole "I have a job, give me free shit" attitude is that it's rarely, if ever, the grad students and junior faculty who are running around expecting us to hand out product just for fun. No, it's the senior faculty who've made names for themselves or gotten installed as department chairs or center coordinators--the ones with some money in their pockets--who act as if I should be flattered that they'd deign to ask for something of ours. This, America, is one thing fucked up about our country. Everybody bitches about how much free shit poor people get, and the richer and more famous folks get, the more free stuff they feel entitled to. I'm beginning to suspect that "conservatives" cut federal funding for free shit for poor people not out of any sense of fiscal responsibility, but out of a fear that, if everyone's getting free shit, no one will be able to tell who the really powerful people are. No, they must reserve the right to expect and get free shit all for themselves.


Blogger the Professor said...

I've always been baffled/annoyed by the gift baskets for presenters at movie and tv award shows. First, I am baffled that they even exist. Do we really need to give away tens of thousands of dollars worth of shit for people to have the opportunity to further promote their careers? Second, I am baffled that the contents of these baskets are news worthy. I know, it's only news on entertainment news programs. But really, who can tell those from other new shows anyore anyhow? Well, maybe that second step makes sense because at least those companies that donate stuff for the baskets are getting the marketing attention. But still, why does someone who just got $10 million for 3 months work need, or in any way deserve, $35,000 worth of free stuff?

2/08/2005 09:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is funny how when rich people make their generalizations about "the poor" and "their sense of entitlement" how they don't think about their own sense of entitlement. Which you've detailed better than I could.

Kind of like the professor's gift basket comment...those charity things where it is like buy this and we'll give part of the money to charity...half of my cynical mind thinks well, they might get more money by offering an incentive but the other half of my cynical mind thinks I'm sure the charity and who or whatever it is helping are really glad there was a fine dinner/raffle ticket purchased for the people that gave them money.

And recently I got some email about helping a medical research organization by volunteering at a beauty pagent to help earn money for the organization. The pagent would pay the charity for all the volunteers on behalf of the charity. My personal aversion to beauty pagents (scholarship contest my ass) and opinions about them are a big part of this, but it is too late at night for me to even begin to mention the many ways this is sick and wrong.

I gave at the office and all I got was this lousy t-shirt - SuperGenius

2/08/2005 10:14:00 PM  

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