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.

Cleaning Out The Closet, Literally

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At best, many of the younger readers here have never had the opportunity to ever own, what is now considered, a piece of iconic history, something we used to call a “boom box” or a “ghetto blaster” back in the day. And, if you are wondering, the picture above is just such a relic from my younger years, this is what our “portable music device” looked like. Many, like this one, could be plugged into a wall outlet or have the ten (10) D size battery option. But, we could take our music, carried separately, to play anywhere we pleased. But, enough about my very vague history lesson, that’s not what this post is actually about, it is partly about how we personally like to hear, listen, and feel the energy our music choices.

So, anyway, y’all may have read that I’m unemployed once again, boo hoo me, so I decided to go out to my shop and “piddle about” for a while, listen to my heavy metal music loudly through my ear buds plugged into my cell phone. Its not an uncommon site to see me, yes even at my age, having my music playing directly into my head, cooking off brain cells left and right, for the pure enjoyment of it. As a bonus, it blocks out the “noise” of the world around me. My wife calls my music my “security blanket”, I call it bliss. Let’s just say I have enough digital music on my devices (two devices) that if played straight through, 24 hours a day, I wouldn’t hear the same song twice or repeat for around 27 months (that’s just shy of 20,000 hours of music). Now, add in that I have over 100 eight-track tapes, over 300 vinyl albums, 200 plus cassette tapes, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 450 plus audio CDs. And yes, I have ” old school ” devices from back in the days to listen to it all. Anyway, I was looking for an old wood chisel set buried somewhere in the shop storage closet to clean up some detail work on a old mantel piece I rescued from this last place I worked for the two weeks. It was a beautiful piece of hand tooled wood that was replaced with a more modern piece of polished marble. Anyway, I saved this 7′ behemoth from the dumpster, knowing I could bring it back to its original 40’s glory.

As I dig, I move shit from here to there and there to someplace else when I find the antique wooden box (circa early 50’s) that had been passed down from father to son a few times over the years, sitting on a shelf under something covered in an old sheet. Lifting the sheet revealed my old boom box. I quickly became sidetracked, yanked the sheet off, and took the old friend out to the work bench. When I plugged her in all the lights came on and everything, I don’t think it has had power put to it since ’99, so I was impressed. I noticed a cassette tape in the in one of the spaces, pressed play, and out of the speakers came, very clear I might add, the voice of Ronnie James Dio, singing “Don’t talk to strangers”. I was transported back in time, to another era, to the day I bought this cassette, upgrading for mobility, to have another format besides the vinyl, that could be played on the go. Do you remember going into music stores just to browse? The musty dusty smell of a place where every generation was welcome and had a place? I sure do, very fond memories indeed. There was certain satisfaction, an anticipation if you will, of walking out of the music store, not being able to wait to get into your room, close your door, and slowly open your new music. And then, then the feeling when you pushed play for the very first time, a virgin tape no longer, hearing the pre-song static, and then, only then, would the sweet music of your choice start leaking out of the speakers, I call this moment one’s musical listening climax, because now you can lay back and just listen. Too dramatic?

Needless to say, the ear buds were out for the rest of the day, as I listened to Dio many times, front and back, never skipping a song, it was a bliss amidst the chaos for me, I was consumed with it, I even caught myself smiling a time or three remembering the past. Funny how music works that way, funny how music can change one’s mood almost instantly, and funny how when life blows or life glows, I turn to my friend, I turn to music. A few of y’all will understand me and the rest of y’all are still scratching your heads. Read the caption in the picture below, if you understand it then you know what I have always known. And, thanks to Rexi, I borrowed it from her Facebook wall, I thought it would really bring my point home.

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The Death Of A Journey’s Ghost

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I’ve wrote my fair share here about how I worshipped at the alter of Crown Royal for many years. However, I have never told the story of the journey I thought I was on, the journey where I was looking for the questions to answers I had, and how my journey came to an absolute sudden stop. Over the past weekend I came across a ghost from my not so distant past. I wasn’t looking for the ghost, but I think I was lead to finding it for a reason. I think my finding the ghost let me reflect about the past and how it led me to be where I am today. Over the years I have given alcoholics a very hard time because I don’t believe being an alcoholic is a disease or a disability because it’s absolutely not, being an alcoholic is a choice because drinking is a choice. Personally, at this point in my life I don’t care if a single person agrees with me or disagrees with me, it’s a choice and that’s a damn fact. Oddly enough, I’m listening to “Whiskey In The Jar” by Metallica as I write about all of this. I can’t help it, I like the song, it drowns out the chatter of the conversation happening in Spanish 10 feet away. I didn’t need to be put in a “mood” because I was already there, already at the point where I had opened the wounds far enough where I was ready to write without any struggles. But I am struggling, I struggle with the feelings and emotions that have come out since opening the coffin of my dead journey. The big question y’all might be having is what journey died and how did it die. First of all, the short answer is I didn’t like where my life was going so I killed it dead, then I stomped a mudhole into it, then I kicked the shit out of it, then I burned it until it was a crispy critter,  and then I buried it. Obviously I didn’t kill it or bury real well, I killed it alright, but my burial lacked conviction because I found it or it found me, however one chooses to look at it.

Now, before we begin exploring, let me just add that I’m not glorifying drinking or downplaying alcoholism as a prominent problem in American society. You might here me poke fun or saying derogatory things about both, but they are based on my experience, my observation, and my own opinion. So, with that, let’s start at the end because that is where my actual journey began. When I’m done writing this today this the journey might be over, it might get buried again, and for sure the reminders (triggers) have been dealt with accordingly. So, anyway, I was looking through some boxes in my storage building for a box, which as I found, was un-labeled, that contained files I needed, to include my DD-214 (discharge paperwork) and some other VA paperwork. Back when I packed all this up it would appear that liquor boxes were what I had. Mostly because I worked at a bar, so I always liberated the sturdy boxes. I didn’t know what box the files I was looking for actually looked like because I have slept since that day. As I went through the boxes, opening around 50 or so boxes, I came across a long forgotten collection, I found 3 boxes of Crown Royal bags of mixed and varied sizes. I sat down in my chair and thought damn, this was a slap in the face I wasn’t expecting. Way back when, back in the day if you will, I used to drink allot, you may not actually be able to comprehend how much, just know it was more than the average social drinker. My drink of choice was Crown Royal on ice, and many times I just skipped the ice altogether because I kept my Crown in a freezer. When I was in the Air Force I stockpiled Crown Royal, when I say stockpiled I bought it regularly by the case or two to three cases at a time. It wasn’t because I had parties all the time, it was my personal drinking stock. When I drank with friends I drank what they had and usually allot of tequila.

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I can’t even began to phatheom the amount of Crown Royal I drank just while I was in the Air Force. Need I remind everyone that I built explosives for a living? To this day it still surprises me that I still have all my fingers. When I got my retirement orders I began to really stock up because I knew I would need Crown Royal on the cheap after my departure. I priced it out on the economy and found that I could buy it at the package store on base for right around 1/5 the cost. After I got out I drank as I pleased like there was no end to my supply for around 2 years. I always had an excuse to drink, if there is such a thing. My brother-in-law at the time, married to my baby sister, was an entertainer of sorts. He had a small band that consisted of himself as lead singer and guitar player, his sister who also sang and played keyboard, and her husband who played the drums. On occasion there were other members but my brother-in-law was such a dick that they didn’t stay that long. Anyway, every weekend starting Friday night they would play all the local dive country bars which were all b.y.o.b. (bring your own bottle) holes in the wall in the middle of nowhere at times. I don’t care for the wanging and twanging of country music much but I figured what a better place to get laid than by some drunk redneck girls. It has been my experience that redneck girls can ride for well over 8 seconds. After an ugly divorce I wanted two things in life and only two things, I wanted to drink to forget my own name and I wanted to fuck anyone who didn’t need me to remember her name.

Bonus, I could do as much as I wanted of both and nobody batted an eye at me. Not that it would have mattered because quite simply I didn’t give a shit about anyone’s opinion. About six months after getting out of the Air Force, while working for my father the concrete contractor, I found myself working on the other side of town. After an extremely long day in the heat, humidity, and the hot Texas sun, I was ready to call it quits for the day. Making my way home I drove by a bar with an advertisement I could not ignore, they were have a wet t-shirt contest, and drink specials. I was all over it. When I went in, after paying cover, I was entering the club with a mission, get drunk and find some tail. Bingo! The first thing I saw was a fantastic ass bent over the bar grabbing something from behind. My reaction? I walked up to her and smacked that ass with all my might! She jumped up so fast I almost got whiplash watching her. I knew something was up because it was all happening in slow motion and I was still 100% sober. She looked me square in the eye and TOLD me I owed her some drinks, some dancing, and a good fucking to take her mind off of how bad her ass was stinging. It’s a deal. We drank. We danced, well, she danced, I just moved around in a stuper. We drank. We made out a bit. We drank. Then I took her home, she was special.

We got married a year and a half later. Before that we spent allot of time together, I eventually moved her and her young daughter (1) into my apartment on the other side of town. She got a job and we were moving on. I introduced her to my weekend habit of going out to country gigs and life was one big party. Shortly after we got married, within the first month or so, after a night out partying, I woke up in my own puke. This wasn’t the first time, but I vowed that morning it was going to be the last damn time. And y’all know what? I’ve never looked back. Shortly after that my dad retired, leaving me without a job, so I contacted a friend of a friend of a friend who hired me as their front end bartender. My wife was worried that being in that close contact with alcohol that I would be heading back down the path of least resistance. She had no problem with it being a full nude strip bar but worried about me around all the alcohol. She had always heard it only takes one sip and all hell can break loose.

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Fortunately for both of us I had no interest in the drinking any more. No, I never really quit drinking, but I quit drinking myself just shy of a coma every night. In fact, these days I don’t drink much at all, we don’t go out to bars, and most of my friends are actually family. So far so good. Personally I can’t see myself going back, I know, never say never. What happened to the Crown Royal bags? Currently my mother-in-law has them in her possession. She wanted them to make a quilt for me. I explained I didn’t need a quilt because I don’t want the everyday reminder of what an asshole I was when I was drinking. So who knows what she will eventually do with them. No, there was no Crown Royal remaining, which is unfortunate because that makes an easy Christmas present for most of the people I know.  You’ve heard of cleaning out one’s closet, well this was my version. Oh, I found all the records I was hunting for in the first place. No telling what is in the rest of those boxes, probably shit I don’t need to be seeing anyways.