Why Toilet Paper Needs Advertisement

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I was looking at my Facebook feed last night, normally a great way for me to keep up with friends and it also provides a great sources of reading material I try to follow regularly, when I came across a picture that wanted to know why toilet paper needs to advertise. I know everyone reading today has seen it. My first reaction, like most of y’all I can only assume, was to smile and agree. Why indeed? After all, everyone is buying toilet paper because they need to buy toilet paper, right? Companies need to advertise things like Android phones, so people will buy them instead of iPhones, Galaxys, or nothing at all, but who, in a modern, in a developed country’s economy, will go without toilet paper? Is it you?

Let’s take a more in depth look at toilet paper advertising. Y’all understand that a company actually does need to advertise for toilet paper as do all the other products, its all about supply and demand sprinkled with a little business economics. Let’s start with the assumption that the marketing staff at Company X, who make Brand X, are properly compensated, and are not out there wasting money on television, radio, Facebook and Google ads like some kind of raging group of fucktards. Company X must have a good reason for spending all that money on advertising. What is it?

Advertising actually serve several distinct purposes. I’m sure the picture of the toilet paper with the overlay joke confused most of the marketing zombies, with everyone else just ignoring it or just not getting the fucking joke altogether. Perhaps there are more important reasons to advertise toilet paper than appears on the surface of this mystery. All companies who produce products need to sell those products to make profits. Companies are not still open today because they lose money now are they? The answer is a big fat fucking no, so they need to advertise to get their products in front of as many consumers they can, like you and I. Advertising serves many purposes, let’s look at them together now.

Product Awareness: This is critically important when you have a new product, either new to the industry or new to your company, and want to make customers aware of it. If we still lived in the days when people wiped their asses with stones or leaves, and you had this amazing new product called “toilet paper”, then the purpose of advertising for toilet paper would be to make consumers aware that a much better alternative exists for your sensitive little bottoms.

Market Share: This is important when the products are generally known, but alternatives exist in the market. To return to our Android phone example, just about everyone in the US knows about cell phones, but they can choose from many brands besides Android. So, the makers of the Android phone advertises its cell phones to drive potential customers to buying an Android over the alternatives.

Increase Consumption: Even if you know of the product, and you prefer a particular brand, you can be brainwashed into purchasing even more of it. If you already know about cell phones, you even have an cell phone, but now you’re considering one for your teenager who is in school. Commercials featuring cell phones in a setting filled with school aged children can again brainwash you to convince you to increase consumption.

In developed markets such as the United States, absolutely everyone knows about toilet paper. Company X doesn’t advertise Product X for product awareness, since everyone knows it exists and we are going to buy it (hence the joke picture). Similarly, no one will increase consumption beyond what they would otherwise. People from Company X use the shitter as often as you and I do, clean themselves with toilet paper, flush the soiled toilet paper, and are done. Unlike cell phones or oranges, no one will buy more than they normally would. Unless you are a prepper, then you have an 8 years supply of it that you guard like gold bars. Maybe, one day in the future, scratching paper will replace paper money like cigarettes did in prisons.

But there is fierce competition among the brands. Company X wants you to really believe in the benefits of their band of toilet paper; while Company Y wants you to prefer their brand. They battle for your market share in toilet paper via commercials and advertisements.

In the end, these competing companies always need to understand why they are advertising a particular product and for whom. The original joke image (not shown in this post) is almost correct. It just needs to end with: “Who is not buying toilet paper to wipe?”

Let’s let this post serve as my good deed for the day. This particular Public Service Announcement (PSA) has been brought to y’all by The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog (T.S.O.T.S.B.) and is in no way affiliated with Company X, Company Y, or the toilet paper industry. I’m merely a consumer of toilet paper as I can only assume many readers here are as well so I wanted to explain the joke, not that y’all needed it explained, but it just shows how money, even money we wipe our ass and flush with, still drives our market. Understanding the economics of toilet paper might get us to think about how and why we spend our hard earned money. The day may come when we need to ration toilet paper or even use it as currency. Enjoy your next trip to the toilet and remember that underpaid workers depend on you flushing as much toilet paper as possible so they have a job tomorrow.

Spending The Entire Day Waiting

US-veteran

Yesterday I spent the entire day at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston waiting for assistance at the pharmacy. When I say all day what I really mean is I was in line for mandatory valet parking at 7:04 am, by line I mean there were already 64 vehicles ahead of me, for a service which doesn’t even start until 7:30 am. This is after a 55 minute drive from my house. But, before I begin my monologue about my personal frustrations with the VA Medical wait times or my personal complaints, my experience is minor compared to most others trying to get more critical treatment. In no way am I saying I have bigger problems, just I have my own problems. Regardless of what a person’s reason for visiting a VA Medical center, things should happen in a more timely manner than what it does currently.

My reason, and I had only one reason, for visiting the VA Medical center was a very clear and simple mission, to find out who and why my insulin changed. I would waste time explaining the significance to everyone but only a diabetic and doctors (most) would understand. Let’s just say we don’t change insulin for no reason at a whim. What started this quest was simple, Friday I got my new 30 day supply of insulin which was the wrong “brand” and the wrong dose. Names change so I did a little research and found what they sent me was wrong altogether. I called the pharmacy, and the short version is, I was told I must be mistaken and if a mistake was made it was because I ordered refills for the wrong insulin. Really? I’m that fucking stupid? I referred to my Rx # and so forth directly from the myhealth website and I was again told the mistake was all me. After hanging up I contacted my PCP in Conroe, spoke with her nurse, and was assured nothing had changed in my prescription details. Well, at that point in the day it way too late to drive into the VA so I made plans for Monday morning. Unfortunately those plans got scrapped and I was delayed until Tuesday. For your curiosity purposes I have included a screen capture from today to illustrate how vets can use this website to order and track prescriptions and yes this is my own personal list.

After driving, after waiting for mandatory valet parking, and after getting my number at the pharmacy, I sat there prepared to have a discussion with the pharmacist. I had my last vile, the vile they sent me, and the printed version of what you see below. So, I waited. after 2 1/2 hours my number came up so I got in line to wait another 20 minutes. Finally, when it was my turn to speak with a pharmacy technician, I was told that he could not help me with my problems and that I would need to take a different number so I could be consulted by the pharmacist. WTF? Again, I sat and waited in the sparsely populated waiting room of the pharmacy. Now, we are in lunch time so the slowness begins creeping to an almost halt. I’m hungry, but not hungry enough to leave and lose my place in line. Good thing I had brought a baggie full of spicy roasted almonds for a snack. Somewhere around 2:30 pm I was again alerted my number was up and got back in the line to wait behind the others whose numbers were called. Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel appears, I’m next. I was so close I could taste it.

The pharmacist very nicely asked what my problems were and how could he assist me. After explaining it all again to him he looked at me and told me any and all changes had to come directly from my PCP. Really? What changes did she make which changed not only my insulin but almost triples my dose? Of course, there ate no changes on record. The he pulled the “you must have ordered the wrong insulin when you did your refill request” bullshit. How in the hell can I do that? I have one fucking choice and that is what in the fuck I clicked. Here is the real kick in the balls, he tells me regardless of anything that is said that the current 30 day supply of insulin has already been verified, processed, and shipped which means he can not refill any more until July and if changes through my PCP happen then those will need to happen prior to that date. WTF are you smoking? If I am in need of this insulin immediately then I need to purchase it on my own. If I thought I would look good in prisoner orange I would have just ended his smart ass right then and there. FUCK I hate this fucking place!

And, by the way, one can not simply go to a civilian pharmacy and get insulin without a fucking prescription. I can, however, go on line and order it from a pharmacudicals supply in Canada with no prescription for a mere $260.10 plus express shipping. Yea, like that’s gonna fucking happen. Who knows what the fuck would be in that vile. As a result, my civilian PCP was nice enough to see me this morning. That only cost me $167.30 but he did give me a prescription for the correct insulin and the correct dosage. Which was generous of him, probably since I have been a patient of his for the last 15 years. So I got lucky, this time. At the pharmacy I had to pay the self-pay cost of $208.08 but now I have what I need for the next thirty days. I also am able to get in to see my VA PCP at the end of June so things hopefully work out and get back on track, hopefully.

No, I do not think I can ever get them to admit this whole thing was their mistake. I have come to a conclusion in the short time of dealing with the medical portion of the VA, they have to not have a soul or something to work there. I wonder how in the fuck they sleep at night. I do know, it is because they operate with no conscience. But, to be fair, I base this opinion solely on the people I have encountered myself. However, I have met ex-VA doctors, nurses, and technicians who say that they did not agree with how things worked but their hands were always tied when trying to make a positive difference. I can’t say I know what every veteran is going through and I know my problems are simple compared to most because my are Rx related. I would hate to see the state of my “health & wellbeing” if my only option was the VA. I am deeply sorry our Veterans must endure such bullshit as a course of their own survival, they truly deserve better, they deserve the best that is offered, and maybe with their asses in the news now the VA will clean their act up. I know, I know, wishful thinking.

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Brand Loyalty vs. Customer Service

Over the years, that’s over many many years for you young pups, I tend to buy the same name brand repeatedly when I find one that offers quality. Usually I am not too picky on price since I take care of my stuff and I usually get my money’s worth. Y’all have read, here and before, that I have found brands that I’m loyal to as well as brands I steer away from for one reason or many reasons. Which is why I’m here today, I have been an Oakley fan since back in my days in the Air Force. I still have a pair of clear safety glasses as well as a pair of impact resistant racquetball safety glasses I bought in 1989 and they still function as brand new, no scratches on the lens and only minimal wear and tear on the frames. Up until about a year ago I had bifocal prescription lenses in a pair of sunglasses and a pair of safety style glasses both provided by Oakley. I have always been pleased with the Oakley brand altogether. I don’t know that this has changed now, but I will definitely consider my latest experience with my latest pair of sunglasses. About a year ago I started wearing contacts after 20 years of wearing glasses, 10 of that wearing bifocals, so I needed some new sunglasses without my bifocal prescription in them. Easy enough, I knew what I wanted and I knew what I was going to get, a pair of Oakleys of course. I have wore the pair pictured for around 10 months. I wear them all the time when out doors, especially when driving or riding. Right around three weeks ago the coating on one of the lenses began to deteriorate. I contacted the Oakley customer service and they instructed me to send the glasses to them with my original receipt and they would determine a course of action. Fair enough. Done. Overnight FedEx because this was my only pair.
 
After eight days I had a box from Oakley waiting for me. I was very excited to get this box. However, my excitement was squashed when I opened the box since the glasses I sent them were indeed the glasses they sent back to me in the same condition. Enclosed in the box was a nice form letter explaining their decision not to repair or replace my glasses.
 
“Dear Valued Customer.
ref: Inquiry # XXXXXXX-XX
 
It has been determined that there is not a defect with the lens or the coating on the lens. Oakley does not cover or repair intentional damage(s) to Oakley products. All returns are subject to the following criteria.
 
—RETURN POLICY:

Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, please call Customer Care for a Return Authorization (RA) number within 45 days of receipt of product (15 days for wearable electronics). Customized product or product that has been abused may not be returned under any circumstances. For all other products, if the item is returned in the original packaging, we will exchange it or provide you a refund based on your original method of payment. The product must be returned to us within 30 calendar days of the issuance of the Return Authorization Number. All products must be packed in the original, unmarked packaging including any accessories, manuals, documentation and registration that was included with the product. Returns that do not meet these conditions may be subject to a restocking fee.

 
Oakley would like to offer you a 15% discount on your next pair of Oakley glasses if purchased on-line within 10 business days. Please use promotion code XXX-X-XXXXX-XXX when checking out.
 
Questions? 1-800-XXX-XXXX
 
Thank You!
Signed: Bla Bla Bla”
 
I was a just a wee bit disappointed. In fact, I felt just a wee bit insulted. Why? Simply because when these glasses are not on my face they are in the protective back provided by Oakley when I originally purchased them. One might say, as my wife does, that I baby my glasses. I looked at my original receipt and invoice to remind myself what I paid because I couldn’t remember, I just recall they weren’t freaking cheap. Ah, yes, on 12 Feb 2012 I purchased this pair of Oakleys on their website for $190.00 with $17.93 for shipping. Making this pair of glasses worth $207.93 and I intentionally damaged them? Granted, I am way out of the “return by” days by a long shot. But, I did contact the customer service, I did give them my original purchase date, I did give them the invoice number for them to verify, and they did provide me an RA with all the information I provided. That right there I find, after getting them back, very misleading. The customer service lady could of explained all of this to me on the phone. Now, I will never badmouth Oakley, I have always been pleased with their products and mine tend to last forever. In fact, soon after I got mine I bought my son a youth pair since he went to wearing contacts at the same time. I spent $60.00 on his and he abuses his pair. Yet, his still look brand new, well, slightly used and worn. They are pretty damn durable glasses. I just wonder if I got the one pair out of millions that didn’t hold together well. I cannot be upset with them because of their return policy or their price since I have always had a good experience with their glasses. But, damn, I cannot get a break here.
 
I don’t know what I really expected. I know I did nothing to cause the degradation of the coating on only the one lens. I know it is a product quality defect. However, it’s a bit irritating, based on what I paid for these glasses, that they are not willing to cut me some kind of deal on a lens replacement or something. If y’all are thinking I will buy myself another pair of Oakley glasses then y’all are probably right. They have a loyal customer solely because even though I had one bad experience with a pair of their glasses doesn’t erase close to 25 years of good performance I have got. Anybody who wears Oakleys knows that they are worth the money. I know now to never try to return them after 45 days of purchase. It might make this all easier to swallow if I did abuse them and was at fault. If I stop buying them out of protest the only person that will suffer will be myself. This whole thing is such a paradox. But, I envision myself going in to an Oakley store later today too see what they got and if I want it, if not I will do it all on-line again. I hate going to the mall to shop. I also hate high pressure sales people, which is how the Oakley sales people are in this store here locally. Just let me look, just let me browse, and if I have a question I will ask. When I am ready to check out or leave the store empty handed it will all be based on those people. It’s sad but true.