Jul 30, 2014
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So What Am I, Chopped Liver?

It seems the columnist is feeling demographically challenged lately. Let’s see why.

So What Am I, Chopped Liver?

I hate the way market forces try to separate us out in to the appropriate demographic - basically in order to sell us things. We need to find stories that we can enjoy together, not separately. ~ Emma Thompson   

Today I saw an ad for a pair of sneakers that glow in the dark. They cost $140. 

Okay, first of all I’m not paying $140 for sneakers unless they also do windows. I hate so that $140 would be money well spent; a well-positioned investment. 

Secondly, why on earth would I want a pair of sneakers that glow in the dark? A friend suggested that wearing iridescent footwear would make it safer to walk my dog at night, which would be fine if I actually had . I don’t! Another pal commented that glow-in-the-dark sneakers would match my . Wise guy! 

I can’t even buy clothes at Marshall’s or T J Maxx anymore. Sure they sell clothing, but I just don’t see myself walking around with a sweatshirt that says Fubu on it and those Tupac tees aren’t really my style either. 

Apparently, the marketing gurus are not after my , as I don’t fall into the demographic of those who buy illuminated apparel or Hip-Hop gear. As a matter of fact, I'm starting to feel that I no longer fall into anyone’s demographic! The whole thing is extremely disheartening! 

I may be exaggerating a bit. After all, there are companies and products for which those of my ilk are prime targets. 

For example, I fall into the demographic of any product promoted by the nice folks at AARP – grossly overpriced life insurance [aka burial insurance], disability insurance and the like; things I call ‘end time’ products; products that are sold as a last-ditch effort to suck the final few shekels out of my wallet before I move on to my just reward. 

Another group of products for which I’m sure I’m viewed as a viable consumer are those marketed primarily to those of us who are growing long-in-the-tooth. Included in that group are such things as dentures and denture care products, Geritol, Ben Gay, Icy Hot, Aspercreme, and any other of the broad range of products meant to relieve muscle pain.  

Also in that group are all the various anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as Preparation H, all digestive aids, antacids, laxatives, stool softeners and of course the one most important item for those over 55 who insist they can still eat fried foods without suffering the adverse effects – anti-diarrheal medication.

Not to be overlooked are large print books, magnifying glasses, and those gigantic, black, Darth Vader-like, wraparound sunglasses that used to scare the crap out of me . 

Then there are hearing aids, orthopedic footwear, products for when "I’ve fallen and I can’t get up," electric mobility scooters, and last but certainly not least, the granddaddy of all products marketed to the older demographic - Depends - which I understand are now available in many attractive colors and prints. I really don’t understand the rationale for the addition of the colors and prints. I mean, seriously, who the heck is going to show someone else their Depends? 

Being a card-carrying member of the Boomer generation, which by the way is now the largest group in the nation, I receive a boatload of retirement community propaganda via both snail mail and email. 

I can state unequivocally that I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in moving into a planned community of well-manicured lawns, and old geezers who reek of moth balls. That’s just not my style. I’d sooner die alone and penniless in the back of my car! 

And I definitely have no intention of moving to any place where white shoes and belts are considered ‘hip’; men see it as stylish to wear their pants hiked up to their chests, and the highlight of the day is being the first one seated for the 4 o'clock Early Bird Special. 

I also have no interest in participating in any tournament involving board games, card games, bingo, ping pong, badminton, Bocce, horseshoes, shuffleboard, darts or any other mindless game designed to waste ones last few moments of time while awaiting the inevitable arrival of the Grim Reaper. 

Of course, as I progress into the higher demographic, the marketers will start leaving messages on my phone promising top-shelf 24/7 care at affordable prices, if you consider three to four-thousand dollars a week affordable. 

And then there will inevitably be the reverse mortgage and viatical settlement proponents who will start , hoping to reel me in to a plan that is alleged to ‘take care of me’ for the remainder of my ever-waning life. 

Well, I’m not going to take it anymore! I’m not going to let some advertising agency control my life by pigeonholing me into their asinine demographic! Age is merely a meaningless number and I’m certainly not going to let it control my life. I can buy what I want, do what I want and eat what I want. 

Whoops! Gotta go! I had fried clams for lunch. 

I’ll never learn! 

Make it a great week! 

Bob Havey is an Easton-based freelance writer and a consummate trouble-maker. His column, The Way I See It, runs every other Wednesday at Norton Patch and his column, "The View From Here", appears each Tuesday at Easton Patch and on Wednesday at Mansfield Patch.

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