Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Tent Sale

I have a hard time understanding why the ubiquitous “Tent Sale” continues to be trotted out by local businesses. It must work I suppose, or why would they go to the trouble of renting a giant circus tent? Still, who are these Rubes that rocket out to strip plazas in search of “deals” under the tent? “Jesus Christ Margie! They’ve got a tent set up! Can you imagine the cornucopia of values under that fucker?” Since when did having a tent set up mean indescribable consumer values? Anytime I see a tent set up, I think about drunken camping trips, ill advised sexual advances, and barfing in the woods. I’m not thinking “dining room table”.

If you are in the market for a new living room set, does it make any sense whatsoever that you will get the best price/quality ratio because they dragged a sofa pit out of the back warehouse and placed in on the asphalt in front of the store? “Well, I like the look of that recliner mister, but let me ask you, how much would you be charging if we put that little baby under a tent outside in the searing sun? No thank you sir. I wasn’t born yesterday. I think I’ll just hold pat and see if you fellas put a tent up anytime soon.”

The power of The Tent cannot be denied. The Tent alone is a motherfucker of sales wonder. But let me ask you, what if we combined it with the monstrous drawing power of the inflatable Santa, dinosaur or bunny? Yes, behold the wonder of the giant balloon tethered to the roof of the store by some halfwit and his pot addled “helper”. It’s the DefCon4 of retail sales efforts. Can you imagine the juggernaut combination of the tent and inflatable Uncle Sam on the building roof? Cars must careen off the road as if drawn by a Super Magnet. The sound of screeching tires must be all you can hear for miles. “Holy sweet mother of Jesus! Take a left! Take a left! Can’t you see that inflatable robot on the roof? Right there! Right fucking there! By the tent! Get all of our money! Now! Now Godammit! These deals can’t last!”

I like to think of the guy that sells the inflatables to these businesses. They have quotas, inventory issues, and problems like anyone else. It’s a living. However, can you slink any further down the totem pole of business than to be hashing out an annual agreement that hinges on the availability of a Snowman? “Phil, look I’ll go to the mat for you on this thing, but you have to understand, there is NO WAY management will let me take our one snowman and place it here for two weeks in December when you don’t have an annual with us. I have had that thing locked in for six months, and it’s the end of August. You’re just a little late to the party. I’d give you the Santa, but that Alberta Clipper that rolled through here before New Year’s blew that fucker halfway to Buffalo. Replacement got all fucked up in that tsunami in Japan. But listen, we want your business… How about this? What if I give you the Elf for a week in December, spin you the Frankenstein for October, and guarantee… in writing… an Easter Bunny for a week in April. But I am going to need an annual commitment from you Phil. And I am going to need it today. There’s just no way to make it work otherwise.”

Let’s say you are a business owner. You’ve got the Yogi Bear swaying back and forth on the roof. You have dragged all your shitty merchandise nobody normally wants out into the elements under a rented tent that you have pounded into the parking lot. Is there anyplace to go from here? Can you possibly take it up another notch? I hesitate to even suggest it, but can you imagine the pure glory of adding the Radio Remote? How could anyone resist the allure of spinning the Q96 Prize Wheel and possibly winning such amazing prizes as a squirt bottle, station bumper sticker, tickets to a rib cookoff, or maybe even a station T-shirt with so many sponsor logos you wouldn’t even wash your car with it? You can engage in small talk with the sullen college interns that man the booth, and enjoy a response of “He ain’t here.” if you inquire about the whereabouts of the station’s wacky morning DJ. Meanwhile a steady stream of Dexy’s Midnight Runners/Human League/Lady Gaga/Gin Blossoms will crackle through the station’s low budget sound system at frightening volume. It’s really the whole package.


At September 4, 2011 at 10:31:00 PM EDT , Blogger Dave L. said...

That lays all of the retail inanity out in a few hundred words. Hilarious and right on.

At December 28, 2012 at 10:15:00 AM EST , Blogger Martin said...

Well, I guess people who shop there are special in some kind of way it's like the people that go shopping to the fairs near my buenos aires apartment


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