A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times



My mum looked a little confused when I visited her the other day. No, she did recognise me and she still remembers my name. She handed me a catalogue that had been pushed through her letterbox. 


In case you don’t know, Betterware is a company that sells household goods door to door, by way of a catalogue dropped off and picked up by agents. Betterware, Kleeneze and Avon all work in the same fashion. On the top of the catalogue were scrawled four hand-written words.

“I can see it says ‘Will pick up…’” said my mum, “but what’s that last word?”

The word was ‘2MOZ’.

Now you may or may not know that 2MOZ is text shorthand for tomorrow, but what you need to know is that this sort of thing is marketing suicide. I’ll tell you why in a moment, but first I can’t resist a short diversion to one of my pet hates (What do you mean, ‘another one!’?”)

I have to own up and say that I haven’t totally embraced the text messaging method of communication. I just don’t have the thumbs for it. Send me an email, and you could easily get a 500 word reply, but send me a text, (and you won’t - because only 6 people in the entire world have my mobile number and you’re not one of them) and you’ll get one of two things…

Either a Yes or No answer, if appropriate… or nothing at all.

Just ring me if you’ve got something to say, or bugger off and bother someone else with it. I’ve shared this viewpoint with most people I know (now you’ll begin to realise why when my phone pings a text alert, it’s either a wrong number or a sim card update from my operator) and the typical response is “Ah, but it might not be convenient to take a phone call. A text isn’t intrusive and you can deal with it when you’re free.”

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you why this is absolute cobblers - but I will!

One of modern life’s greatest irritations and annoyances is when you’re in a social situation… maybe in a restaurant or bar with someone, having a conversation… and their phone pings a text alert. Rather than do the polite thing and ignore it (or switch the dammed thing off altogether) they pick up the phone and view the message immediately Maybe they give a little smile, and then they proceed to reply to the message… ignoring you, and everyone else in the room.

In rudeness terms, I’d suggest this is on a par with farting in a lift and then getting out at the next floor.

What are these people effectively saying when they do this? (The texting not the farting.)…

“Yes, I’m here with you now, but I have a far more interesting and important life elsewhere. It’s a life you’re not a part of. I’ve just received a message from that life that is far more interesting and important than anything you might have to say. You just hang around like a spare part for the next few minutes, while I relieve the tedium of having to speak to you by engaging in a far more fulfilling discourse. When I’ve finished, I may well decide to fill the void between then and my next text message by talking to you again.”

For that very reason, I’m contemplating taking a golf club out with me in future, which I will produce with a flourish as they start texting. When they ask what I’m doing, I’ll just say that I thought I’d practice my swing while I’m waiting. If they don’t get the message, I can smash their bloody phone up with the club!

Sorry, I got a bit carried away there then… where was I… ah yes, 2MOZ on the Betterware catalogue.

One of the most important factors in effective marketing is to create a real connection with your potential customers. We are usually most comfortable buying from someone who thinks like we do… someone who’s like we are. Language plays a vital part in creating a connection - creating empathy.

Jargon and slang can play a part in doing that… only if the audience is right. Whoever scrawled 2MOZ on that catalogue couldn’t have got it more wrong though. The market for Betterware products is for typically older people. Not only are they likely to be turned off by text language… regarding it as sloppy and lazy (do you really want to buy products from someone you perceive to be sloppy and lazy?)… Or just like my mum, they might not even understand it.

To quote her when I told her what it meant… ”Bloody idiot!”
   



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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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