On a Plane
July 25th, 2006
I was on a plane earlier this month, flying back from a dry wedding. I was already a little cranky and completely sober. I'm convinced the two are related. I settled into my seat, attempting to relax even though we were still in the 'no electronics, no reclining your damn seat' phase. And just as I'm dozing off, it happened. A piercing screech on the loud speaker from the overly-annoying stewardess. Er, flight attendant, if you want to be politically boring.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the plane is about to be hijacked – by consumerism!!”
Okay, she didn't really say that, but she might as well have. With the volume on the PA system cranked to 10 (It only goes to 10, people. Not 11. Anyone else sick of that joke from 20 years ago, made unfunny by people who probably haven't even seen the movie it comes from?), the woman announced that because we chose this flight and spent our hard-earned money to use their services, we can be a part of their very special credit card offer! For 5 minutes, the voice droned on and on about the benefits of owning a credit card, as if nobody on the plane used one to pay for the flight. At this point, I expected a mutiny, with the passengers overthrowing the service crew, serving the first class food to coach, and playing porn on all the video screens instead of Failure to Launch, which has been known to incite riots on its own.
Alas, there was no mutiny. No steaks for the fat guy stuck with a middle seat. No double-team action to offend the children. Instead, the stewardess walked the aisle, her hands full of propaganda, and the captive audience didn't seem to mind much. Some people even took an application from her. Those same people laughed during Failure to Launch.
I couldn't believe people weren't as insulted as I was. Have we been so bombarded with advertisements that this is the next logical step to becoming a zombie, and everyone else is going along with it? I guess I prefer my zombies to bite flesh from their victims, not buy flatware with a Visa.
I can just imagine the asshole marketing guy coming up with this brilliant idea. “Look, we've got these people locked into a huge tin can, they're stuck at 30,000 feet in the air. They've already given us money to be here, but I know there's a way to get more out of 'em. Why not unleash a sales pitch from which they can't escape?”
After mulling over the idea for 3 seconds, the executives get in line to make like starving prostitutes. “Paul, this is the best idea you had since adding 30 minutes of commercials to the beginning of movies!”
We deal with enough advertisements in our daily lives to put up with paying over 300 bucks to be a captive audience. You deal with it on television, on the internet, driving to work, in the newspaper, in magazines, in the mail, on the backs of boxers. Perhaps if these credit cards refunded my money from the flight, then I'd listen for a minute. And you thought snakes were the worst thing you'd encounter.
I can deal with on-land advertising, or ads that create a mild annoyance (it's actually enjoyable to rip up junk mail). But junk mail where my only options for avoiding it are to be deaf or to shoot faces with harpoons will not be tolerated. It's bound to drive someone to load their carry-on with pythons. The next time you encounter this, and I guarantee you will, don't sit there with the rest of the zombies. Rip up those applications, grab some champagne from first class, and celebrate what little freedom remains from advertisers. Oh, and don't forget the porn.
If you know how to get these motherfuckin' advertisements off the motherfuckin' plane, sell Guerrs on the idea.