Wednesday, November 02, 2005
If there's anything I can say I learned definitively in grad school, it's this: selling drugs is a cash-in-hand business. Sure, you're pals with the new clients when they're first starting out, but that's just business. You need them to get good and hooked so you know you'll have a guaranteed regular income stream for a year or two before they die, end up in jail or their family sends them on a two-month vacation to a Colorado ski resort/rehab facility. This was when I was living in south OC, remember.
You only make the mistake once of letting a fully matured user/patron walk off with some of your product without paying. They're all persuasive like "Hey, I just got this job and it pays next week. I just need a little to get me by until then" or "Hey my dad's going to direct his attorney to release my trust fund any day now, honest". And then as they're driving away you realize you just extended credit to someone who lacks the decision making wherewithal not to be a junkie. You don't worry about it so much because maybe you just sold them a bag of rock salt in lieu of actual crack,* but it's a lesson learned.
Friends first, then lord and master. The basic marketing principle is a sound one. Multi-billion-dollar international corporations agree:
There's a Starbucks inside one of my nearby grocery stores. Hence the coupon. They, like the drug dealers, understand the idea when dealing with addictive mood-altering stimulants: first one's free.
I have to confess something: I've never been to a Starbucks. Never bought anything from a Starbucks. It's just been one of those things I've sort of known about in the back of my mind and always figured I'd just get around to it eventually, but there was no rush. Just like alcohol. And sex. Just because everyone else says they're so great doesn't mean I have to run out there all willy-nilly, following the "in" crowd, trying to be "cool". I even put my punctuation outside of my quotation marks. See? I can't be swayed into conformity. I've seen enough after-school specials and GI Joe cartoons to know that the most important thing is for me to always be myself.
I learned that lesson from those shows when I was 8. It's been a mighty struggle, but I've been my 8-year-old-self ever since.
I can do a handstand. Want to see me do a handstand? I can do it. Watch me. Watch me do a handstand. Watch. Watch me. You're not watching. Waaaaatch. Fine, don't watch. I hate you.
The Starbucks people had me in mind when they fired up this promotion. Not new formerly non-Starbucks customers, I mean me specifically. Cooome tryyy oooour driiiinks. It's a miiiilkshaaaake with druuuuuugs in iiiit. And whiiiiped creeeeeam and caaaraammellll...
I broke down and tried it. Because it was free. It was the same reasoning that was behind my Jehovah's Witness weekend of '95. All the literature was free. Turns out that church membership? Not so much.
Anyway, I got myself a Frappuccino. Not because it sounded particularly good, it's just that "Frappuccino" happens to be one of my favorite words ever along with "coven" and "buckle" and "fritter" and "pneumococcal".
Plus, being frozen, it was less likely to burn the fuck out of my mouth. Pops no likey. If I want to be assaulted by my food, I'll go back to live on the free-range commune, where the rule was you only eat what you can wrestle to the ground. A man can only eat so many turnips.
So I ordered it, endured some eye-rolling and superior attitude from a dude working a fucking Starbucks kiosk in a supermarket, and... it was OK. You know what it kind of tasted like? Really cold coffee. With caramel!
I have another coupon, but I don't think I'm going back. Once is fine, but after the second time, you're hooked. Next thing you know I'll be all strung out on caffeine, jittery and sweating, offering the blow the smarmy Starbucks guy for a straight coffee. Or I'll talk him into spotting me something, only to not have the money later. Then I'll have the Starbucks people after me, chopping off fingers until I can pay. And THEN how would I type my blog?
I'm thinking of you, people. As always.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.9
*= Like I said, south OC. They'll buy anything from anyone with a baseball cap on sideways and a deep enough tan.