Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I am Sick of Scare Tactic Commercials

“I was dreaming when I wrote this so forgive me if I go astray…” Prince

I realize that companies are desperate for business. Most companies seem to be struggling for sales and are closing stores, laying off folks and some are going out of business completely.

But running ads that try and scare you into buying their product is not the way to go. Well it’s not the way to go if you want my money.

The two most recent offenders that I’ve been hearing a lot of ads for on the radio are the reprehensible Life Link ads(* I made this name up – lots of companies and public service ads are about these kiddy tracking devices) and self righteous CarFax ads.

The Life Link* ads play on one of parents deepest fears, the kidnapping of a small child, the setting is a play ground and some mother’s young daughter has disappeared from sight and the mother panics and the deep-voiced narrator intones that this could be prevented if the child had worn a Life Link tracking device.

The CarFax ads aren’t as bad but they are close. They feature various people having close calls in car accidents that supposedly could have been prevented if the buyer had gotten a CarFax report first (as if every issue with a car is reported to them). These ads usually feature children or woman put in harm’s way. I don’t know about you but if I was buying a used car the dealer (or private seller) would be providing the CarFax report not me. But more importantly I’d be bringing the car to my personal trusted mechanic to be checked over before I bought it. Sure a CarFax report would be nice but it’s much more important to have a live body looking over the care in person. So while I like the idea behind the CarFax service their ads just turn me off...guilt doesn’t sell me.

The not so subtle read between the lines message in these ads is:

“Buy Life Link* or your child might get kidnapped by some child molester you unfit parent” and “get a CarFax report or your wife and/or children will get hurt or die in a car accident you unfit father/husband”.

I will never ever use either of these companies because their ads have offended me so much.

I’ll admit that I’m not that keen on the whole child tracking GPS devices in general. They creep me out and smack a whole lot of big brother. They sound like devices that Hitler and Stalin would have loved the Gestapo and KGB to have. And since we are heading down that path with the current administration, do I really want my kids wearing a device that can be used to track them by GPS satellites, government owed satellites by the way. Who is to say that the companies that sell these devices won’t provide the tracking codes to the Feds at some point in the future? Or that someone won’t hack their computers and get hold of all the information.

I have a GPS watch for running and it’s always in the back of my mind that someone could be tracking me when I’m out running. Actually who is to say that the company that makes my GPS running watch hasn’t already given this info to my wife so she can keep tabs on me while I’m running?

How effective are they? The handheld device that parents use to locate the child only has a range of 600 feet (2 football field lengths). It’s not going to be of much help if some psycho throws a kid in a car and drives off. Plus what is to stop the creep from just removing the tracking tag from a child? It’s only a keychain like fob that hangs on their clothing.

While the technology sounds promising and inviting to me. I’m not sure the downside for abuse and the stunning lack of range and easy removal of the tag are worth the $200 the thing costs. I also worry that it would make me less diligent about where my kids were.

You could buy the $700 chip and $40 a month service tracking service that companies offer and they can track you kid anywhere anytime. But you still have the spying creepy factor and the fact that the child or bad person can still throw away the keychain like tag. My kids would probably take it off and attach it to a garbage truck or flush it down they toile just to mess with us.

They remind me of the push a few years ago to have small ID chips implanted in every baby born in hospitals. Thankfully that movement never got a good head of steam, not that it couldn’t be revived like a zombie that won’t die. But for now we are safe from that. Just one more plus for home births.

Comments, discussion, outrage, rolling of the eyes welcome. I’d really like to hear from people who have bought or are considering buying a Kid GPS thingamachiga. Maybe they work a lot better than I think they do. let me know folks. I’m willing to have my opinion changed...maybe...

In a somewhat related note. checkout this news story from Europe.

The black box that tracks every mile you drive and will make speed cameras obsolete

"Drivers face having their every move tracked by a 'spy in the car' black box. The system will constantly check a vehicle's speed - making cameras redundant - and allow for pay-as-you-go tolls. [i.e., more government "efficiency" in collecting tolls for the use of the sub-standard government infrastructure]
The £36million EU project is partly funded by the UK Government and backed by car makers and the telecoms industry. [Corporations making a buck at the Government trough? I'm shocked!]
Vehicles fitted with the system will emit a constant 'heartbeat' pulse revealing their location, speed and direction of travel. EU officials believe the technology will significantly reduce road accidents, congestion and carbon emissions. [Oh sure, it's the citizens' health they're concerned with, not the "health" of the State.]
But civil liberties campaigners say it will have profound implications for privacy by creating a Europe-wide system of Big Brother surveillance." [No? Really?]


Party of Eight said...

I agree with you about the commercials. I feel sorry for the people who are too dumb to see through it. I also feel the same way when I see those kid-leashes. It looks like a friendly backpack, but it just so happens to have a leash. On the other hand...there is always that one kid in the family (yes, we have one), that is gone for a little while and we find him by the mailbox or a neighbor is bringing him back...ahem. They are usually just in a diaper and nothing else. I think there was a news story last night about that where they found a baby walking down Ritchie Hwy in a diaper. First thought? Where is his/her parents??? Second thought? Oh, yeah. One of those kids.

the mighty DONK said...

you be b*tchin and whinin too much out here... you are starting to sound like a girl... is it because the speedo is gone?

lap dogs, commercials, hair implants (oh wait, thats what you need, not what you hate. sorry)... ;)

wah wah wah...


TheSeeker said...

I think those GPS trackers for kids are creepy too. They already implant them in animals all the time. They're trying to get them in kids. But then the gov't can track your family. And kids grow up...then you've got an adult with a chip in his body. Not cool at all.

Tonya said...

We have friends whose son has autism. One of his "things" is that he runs away! At a young age, he would scale a fence and just take off running. I think they tried one of those GPS tracker things, but like you said, they just don't have a far enough range to make it worthwhile. Plus, he could take the thing off (and did!). I know they tried different things to keep it on him. Not sure what the outcome was (we moved) with the GPS.

Annaberri said...

We got a carfax report on a car we bought, and it turns out it has been in a wreck, even though the title is clean. It happens if you are sneaky in crossing state lines, apparently. Lucky us. And what a scam artist on craigslist we ran into! I hated dealing with him, but we had the car checked out. I wonder if he has bribes in with all the shops...
Anyway, carfax ain't perfect. And we know nothing about cars. Best we can hope for is buying certified used, I guess.