Friday, February 5, 2021

Insight: To annoy or not to annoy?

By Ed Pierce

Managing Editor

As I’ve gotten older, it’s possible that I’ve somewhat mellowed from my “Grumpy Old Man” status, but I still find certain annoyances utterly frustrating from time to time.

No, I’m not speaking about family members who use nearly all the bacon but return the package to the refrigerator with just one slice left and not tell anyone. I’m talking about common annoyances that our society in 2021 seems to willingly tolerate and look the other way.

Here’s a short list of annoyances that continue to frustrate me to no end:

** Does anyone in America purchase a car warranty when telemarketers call at the most inopportune time to let you know that this is the second time that they have notified you that yours has expired? Our family ditched our landline years ago in hopes of avoiding cold callers selling products and services or individuals taking a poll in the middle of dinner, but this car warranty tactic seems to have shifted the annoying genre to the mobile phone platform and appears to be thriving.

Can anyone tell me how the callers have gotten my cell phone number? And how do they know that the warranty for a vehicle that I owned in 2011 but sold in 2014 is soon about to expire? Why do they always call when you are either in the middle of an important meeting at work or when in line waiting to check out at the grocery store?

The latest gimmick that car warranty people use to get me to answer their call is to rotate their out-of-state number and area code. As fast as I can block their New Hampshire number on my iPhone to prevent them from ever reaching me again, they switch to a number with a Colorado area code or a number with an Iowa area code to fool me.

One of these days when I truly do have the time, I plan on engaging these callers in a lengthy conversation about my car warranty and taking up as much of their time as possible and then letting them know that I always finance my car warranty through my automobile loan and have no need to purchase one through them. Would like to do the same thing to anyone trying to pitch me credit card rate reduction services or offering me low-cost health insurance plans from as little as 99 cents a month.

** While I’m on the subject of annoyances, I’m also constantly irritated by the lack of creativity among those who are trying to sell pharmaceutical products on television. Their depictions of ideals of happiness and health boggle my mind, such as one with a couple walking down a flowered park pathway pushing a baby stroller as the Temptations sing “My Girl” all to promote a new medication for hypertension, or another featuring insomniacs reaching for prescription sleep pills as a green animated butterfly gently flutters over their bed or glides through their bedroom window.

Can’t these commercial makers come up with anything better or more motivational? When I can’t sleep, I’m certainly not going to go shopping for medications, I rely on my physician to choose one that will work the best for me, so I really don’t get the point of many pharmaceutical commercials. Don’t think I’ve ever asked my doctor about a particular medication advertised during the evening news and I’m probably not going to start now.

** Anyone who subscribes to Netflix will also tell you about another annoying tactic they employ that I’ve experienced too. It’s when you visit their home page and within five seconds a video will automatically start playing.

I’m sure that there is some technological trick to stop this from happening, but I don’t visit their home page often enough to have figured it out yet. Therefore, I’m bombarded for a minimum of 30 seconds of some violent martial arts movie or teen romance drama until I can discern how to exit that annoying screen and choose to select a program I do want to watch.

And can anyone explain why the volume is suddenly ramped up exponentially when a violent martial arts movie or creepy creature horror movie appears unwanted on my screen? This phenomenon is not exclusive to Netflix, it happens on other sites across the internet too.

I suppose that when I figure out how to disable their “autoplay” feature, I’ll also learn how to stop the next show in the queue from playing three seconds after the one I’ve just watched ends. <

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