Monday, October 12, 2009

610 Join the Club

610 Join The Club

You may not be in the Moose lodge, but you're probably a member of something. Everything's couched in membership terms nowadays. "Member" is the new "consumer."

We've always been intrigued by the latter term. You consume food. You consume fuel. You consume water. But how do you consume an insurance policy? Take your fire insurance papers and burn them (and be fined for a public fire) and you have "consumed" that.

Most of us don't consume cars. We buy them. Or lease them. We're customers. But unless you drive off a cliff, you car cannot ordinarily be "consumed."

Well, now it's "member." You're a "cardmember" at Visa or MasterCard or American Express. You're a "member" of the "smart shopper's 'club'" at your supermarket. You're a "member" at Sam's Club or Costco or the unfortunately named BJ's Wholesale Club.

Member? You pay a fee for the right to shop in such places and they purport to give you stupendously low prices on (usually) huge quantities of meat or sheets or fruit or laundry detergent, most of it too big to handle and too big to store.

But "membership" has its benefits. For example, the "shopping clubs" don't give you bags. Bags are a huge inconvenience. They get into the landfills and stay there for centuries without decomposing. They stick to the bottom of the car if you hover over one while the catalytic converter is hot, and once the now-gooey bag hardens, it's your car bottom's companion for life.

People without cars are barred by their very baglessness from "membership," because how do you schlep a ton of Tide and bananas and computer paper home on the bus or subway if they don't bag stuff? Blatant, brazen discrimination!

You may be a member of a service club or a political party, a union or an action committee. But a member of a store? A member of a credit card "provider?"

It's touchy-feely nonsense designed to make you feel you are part of an in crowd. And, in fact, you may be. The in crowd of those who pay 25% interest on a cash advance, a rate that used to land people in jail for usury. Some club.

Then, there's the "belong" part. Do you "belong" to a union, a house of worship, a committee, a tea party? The only reasonable reply is "No, I don't belong to any of those. But I AM a member."



Shrapnel:

--How is it they can't make a decent broom anymore? They have all kinds of new styles and sizes and special purpose cleaning tools. But they can't come up with a broom where the head stays on the handle without daily tightening?

--Have you seen the "incognito window" feature on browsers from Firefox and Google? Handy if you don't want someone else in the house know where you've been surfing. Like porn sites and those of liberal political causes.

--Noted with interest: New York's governor has asked the state universities to cut spending in mid-year, but exempted community colleges. Shows he knows where the real education is taking place.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2009


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