Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thanks, Visa! I Almost Stopped Hating People

I'm sure you've seen the "When the Saints Go Marching In" commercial, but if not, let me now (sort of) be a corporate shill and actually encourage you to watch a commercial on your own time. I want to do that because you might be struck by how tasteless the commercial is.

Don't see it? You might notice that the commercial revolves around the convenience of using your Visa card to purchase a variety of trivialities while in New Orleans. Some of you may, like me, have a Visa debit card. Notice, too, that a certain gentleman is being painted in the New Orleans Saints colors in preparation for a football game, and another has a fleur-de-lis (the Saints symbol) shaved into his head. Later on, an almost painfully white man purchases tennis balls with cash, from a black cashier, in sharp contrast to the down-to-earth New Orleans Saints fans buying, well, whatever worthless thing they're buying.

How delightfully harmless! Except, well, there are certain, uh, negative associations with "New Orleans" and "debit cards."
The post-Katrina spend-fest in Louisiana will be remembered as one of the greatest taxpayer wastes in U.S. history. First came the FEMA $2,000 debit-cards fiasco intended to pay for necessities that were used for things like flat-panel TVs and tattoos.
So I guess the body-painting guy is using his FEMA-issued debit card, courtesy of you, taxpayer! Yes, yes, I'm sure Visa doesn't mean for you to draw that inference; but did no one in the advertising department even see this commercial? Body art, debit cards, New Orleans! Fun!

And I can only assume that the tennis-playing buffoon in the commercial is going to be ridden out of Chocolate City on a rail.
“This city will be a majority African American city,” he said Monday. “It’s the way God wants it to be. You can’t have New Orleans no other way. It wouldn’t be New Orleans.”
I'm sorry, tennis-playing guy, but it's divine decree. Take your cash and go home to Crackertown.

Oh, one more thing. Ever get stuck behind the guy who uses his debit card and just does not understand it?

Step 1. Swipe. Turn around, swipe again. Whoops, wrong side. Try that once more. Oh, wait, the cashier had to hit "Debit" first. Do it once more. There.

Step 2. Select "Debit." No, on the screen, not the actual button that says "Debit." No, now you screwed it up, cancel it out and try again.

Step 3. All right, enter your pin, then press "Enter." No, on the screen again.

Step 4. You're not done. Do you want cash back? NO DON'T CANCEL JUST CLICK "NO" Damn, too late. Start over again.

Step 5. Oops. Cashier didn't notice you wanted cash back. He's got to wait until the next person checks out to open the cash drawer. Sorry, I can't open the drawer without a transaction. Why not? Let me ask my manager.

How convenient! Compare the use of cash:

Step 1. Pay.

Step 2. Get change.

Step 3. Pump fist.

This commercial is absurd on every possible level.


At 9:20 PM, November 13, 2007 , Blogger Nick Milne said...

I often pump my fist after purchases. It's only polite, like belching expansively after a meal at a friend's house, or belching piously at a church supper.

I once also bellowed "aw yeah" after a particularly adept bit of purchasing. Impressive? Why, you never saw a more graceful transaction in your life.


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