Last night, while Rick and I were sort of watching television and sort of strategizing with our fantasy basketball teams, a commercial came on for a storage facility with a slogan that, for me, was problematic. Do business with us, they said, because "we'll treat your stuff like it's our stuff." I immediately turned to Rick.
Me: Well, I don't see how that's such a great thing.
Me: Telling people that you'll treat their stuff like it's your stuff. For example, if someone stored their collection of tchochkes here, I'd give them all away. I'm in Streamlining Mode. If that was my stuff, I'd be giving it away or tossing it. So...
Rick: Or what if you don't take care of your stuff, like hoarders? You just cram it all in and let it rot? How is that good?
Me: Exactly. Some people simply don't give a damn about their stuff. So, what if they let other people go through the stuff, or they leave the door open and the stuff gets stolen? I know lots of people who are very casual about stuff, like Sam and Jared with their clothes. Half their wardrobe is in someone else's closet, usually each other's.
(there is a pause)
Rick: We're never giving them our stuff.
Me: Ha! You got that right.
All of this reminds me of another business, a restaurant, whose slogan was "We treat you like family" and the similarly themed "When you're here, you're family." Again, how is that good? I don't go out to dinner to feel like I'm at home eating with my kids, or my sisters and brother. And the very last thing I want is to sit in a restaurant and have the atmosphere of sitting in someone's kitchen or dining room while Mom complains that no one appreciates the time it took to prepare and cook the meal, Dad rides herd on some sullen, plugged-in tween who won't eat that because there's some fat on it, and a little preschooler who wants to talk about what a Disney character did and how she's a princess/he's (are there any male Disney characters who are heroes and carry the movie? Well, put his name here). I have crossed restaurants off my List because of a high proportion of families in their patronage. I'm by no means against families. Heavens no. I've just already had mine and been through all that and don't care to bear witness to it again.
Even Family Dinners at my house, which were not actually like the previous scenario, are still quite calisthenic and can wear me out sometimes. Plus, when I'm at home, no one comes out and serves me my dinner and takes the used utensils or extra plates away. I am not automatically brought nice, icy refills of water at home, either. There is certainly not the luxury of being asked, "May I take your order?" or the more delightful "And what can I bring you for dinner this evening?" Oh, how gorgeous.
Perhaps I am overthinking and overanalyzing these slogans. After all, it is only advertising and marketing, not great literature. But when there are so very, awfully many commercials that interrupt programming--especially as we watch the news--it's inevitable that I pay attention to a few here and there. They're asking for it.