... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

270: The world’s most mundane conspiracy theory

Blue Trolley, Liz West

The world’s most mundane conspiracy theory:

You know when, right, you’re in a shop, like buying toast, I mean bread, and Pop Tarts, and tea bags, and bog roll, and all the important stuff, yeah?  And you’re walking past the tooth paste and all of a sudden you notice a random Easter egg just sitting there in the wrong place.  Or you are looking at crisps and there is just one bag of apples all by itself, just left there.  You’ve seen that right?  Well, you know what?  They do that.  The shop people; they do that on purpose to make you buy stuff you aren’t looking for.  People get paid millions to come up with this; it’s, like, sumblinimal, or subliminal, or some shit.  I’m telling you, that’s what they do.

I’ve heard this shit a few times from various idiots over the years.  Admittedly it’s not as stupid as believing that NASA faked the moon landing(s), and it’s not as destructive as believing your god is a jealous god, but it does starkly display a person’s weak thinking.  It’s so obviously bollocks, I don’t even know why I’m rabbiting on about it.

Buy N Large
It’s not like the thing about certain kinds of music can influence the behaviour of shoppers.  That can be researched and then sold to businesses as a CD, whereas the concept of moving random shit around the shop is just wibble of the highest order.  Either it would have to be done openly amongst staff members, or it would need to be top secret and only done by one double-agent staff member.  In the first instance it would be common knowledge; everyone has either worked in a shop, or knows someone who has.  In the second, it just wouldn’t work; staff members in shops spend their lives cleaning up after customers who whimsically move shit around.  What would be the point – customers move stuff, and staff put it back.

On second thoughts, maybe it isn’t done by staff at all; it’s done by a sort of mystery shopper entity.  Faceless, numbered drones whose job is to masquerade as a consumer, trudging around pointing at overpriced spoons and twittering ooh that’s cute, that’s funky, ah that’s proper nice that is.  Picking stuff up and quietly depositing it at carefully planned out locations, designed to maximise the suggestive effect on all y’all gap-toothed automated buying-bots.

I work in a shop.  I am a ghost overhearing snippets of the same conversation spoken by a thousand different shoppers.  I cannot be seen or heard except by the rare questioning customer.  They say excuse me, but they don’t say thank you.  No one says thank you to a ghost.

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