Author Topic: Not your audience: rhetorical fails  (Read 1797 times)

polly_mer

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Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« on: August 18, 2019, 05:12:39 AM »
I travel enough for my current job that I have signed up for several frequent flyer/stayer/renter rewards programs.  I don't particularly like to travel, but a good conference or necessary visit with my colleagues at other work sites makes the trade-off worthwhile.  I received a phone call recently from someone affiliated with one of the rewards programs.  I had 10 minutes before a meeting so I took the call.  I started to feel bad for this person as the conversation kept going like:

Rewards Program Caller (RPC): This is RPC with <rewards program>.  I'm calling today with a good offer for your next vacation.  Can you tell me about your interests?

Polly: I like to spend my leisure time sitting on my couch, reading books, and listening to TV.  I travel for business.  Once a year, we visit my in-laws so they can have time with their grandkid.

RPC: OK, but when was the last time you were in Las Vegas?

Polly: Two months ago for a conference.

RPC: What did you do outside of the conference?

Polly: I went back to the hotel, read my book while eating supper in the restaurant, and then went to my room to read my book while listening to TV.

RPC:  O...K... But you could read your book by the pool in Vegas!

Polly: I don't like pools and it's hot outside in Vegas.  I really prefer to stay home inside with my couch, my book, and my TV.

RPC: We have hundreds of locations.  It doesn't have to be Vegas.  Where would you like to go for a weekend get away?

Polly: I prefer to stay home and just have extra time to read my book and listen to TV.  I travel only for business.

RPC: You mentioned travel to your in-laws.  What do you do when you're at your in-laws?

Polly: I sit on their couch, read my book, and listen to their TV.

RPC: Do you have any other hobbies?

Polly: Yes, I play board games with friends, often with a TV on in the background and a book to read when people take really long turns.

RPC: Isn't there anywhere in the US you'd really like to go that you've only read about or seen on TV?

Polly: No.  I travel all over the US for business and we've moved more than 20 times since being married, so we've lived in many places in the US.  I really like to stay home.

RPC: Well, OK, then.  Keep us in mind if you get the urge to travel.  We're not just for business!

We have a predatory journals thread.  What other advertising fails have crossed your path recently where you just want to sigh about how far off the mark the company was?
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writingprof

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Re: Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2019, 06:00:11 AM »
Polly: Yes, I play board games with friends, often with a TV on in the background and a book to read when people take really long turns.

Great thread idea. And the quoted bit is just good life advice.

mahagonny

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Re: Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2019, 07:30:31 PM »
It doesn't sound like you were very hopeful about the conversation to begin with. I might have ended it sooner. They're obviously not selling books. It strikes me as like...why bother?

polly_mer

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Re: Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2019, 05:06:55 AM »
It doesn't sound like you were very hopeful about the conversation to begin with. I might have ended it sooner. They're obviously not selling books. It strikes me as like...why bother?

I wasn't hopeful about being sold anything.  Instead, I was very curious about how long the RPC would continue along a path that couldn't pan out based on the information available.

Most of my Twitter feed at the moment is watching very different ideas of how things are supposed to be and what people's reactions are when differing models of current reality interact.  Sometimes, that's parents sighing over children.  Sometimes, that's politics of all sorts.

You, personally, have benefited from my interest in seeing different views of reality play out and my willingness to let things continue with the only payoff being the unfolding story.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2019, 05:21:21 AM by polly_mer »
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toothpaste

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Re: Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2019, 10:09:00 AM »
Fun game!

I got a call last year from my union asking if I would do something and offering the chance to win coveted football game tickets if I did it. I told them the incentive should go to someone who thought going to a football game was fun and not time they would wish to have back.

polly_mer

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Re: Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2019, 05:19:25 AM »
Fun game!

I got a call last year from my union asking if I would do something and offering the chance to win coveted football game tickets if I did it. I told them the incentive should go to someone who thought going to a football game was fun and not time they would wish to have back.

I agree that's a call on which I would have given up very quickly.
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the_geneticist

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Re: Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2019, 09:53:16 AM »
I remember getting calls about installing solar panels/aluminum siding/dish tv when I lived in an apartment.  The caller would usually end the call quickly when I said I was a renter and not a home-owner.  The weird ones would stay on the line and try to insist that my landlord would be just fine with the installation. 

marshwiggle

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Re: Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2019, 10:19:01 AM »
I remember getting calls about installing solar panels/aluminum siding/dish tv when I lived in an apartment.  The caller would usually end the call quickly when I said I was a renter and not a home-owner.  The weird ones would stay on the line and try to insist that my landlord would be just fine with the installation.

Many will quit pretty quickly if you say "I'm a student" which implies "I'm broke".
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sinenomine

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Re: Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2019, 05:28:32 PM »
When I was in grad school, digging loose coins from beneath the couch cushions to buy groceries, I started getting catalogs in the mail for Waterford Crystal. Boy, was that an error in targeted marketing!
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paultuttle

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Re: Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2019, 05:42:54 AM »
I remember getting calls about installing solar panels/aluminum siding/dish tv when I lived in an apartment.  The caller would usually end the call quickly when I said I was a renter and not a home-owner.  The weird ones would stay on the line and try to insist that my landlord would be just fine with the installation.

I got this kind of call when I was an undergraduate at a SLAC in NC. When I explained that the aluminum siding for just my room would cause an unsightly aesthetic blemish on the (gorgeous and color-matched red-brick) exterior of my neo-Georgian, central-campus, main-quad dormitory, the caller hung up quickly.

Puget

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Re: Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2019, 06:02:12 AM »
My PhD university forced us to get a (useless in my field) MA along the way to the PhD. As soon as we got them, we would start getting fund raising calls from the alumni office. Every time I'd tell the clueless undergrad employee that I was STILL THERE EARNING THE MEASLY GRAD STIPEND they would say OK and then call again in a few months.

After I graduated and they called again I expressed my extreme disinclination to give money to an institution that had just spent a lot of it on a mascot-shaped swimming pool (not kidding) and more luxury boxes in the stadium. That must have finally gotten me on the "irate alum, do not call" list, because they haven't tried again.
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polly_mer

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Re: Not your audience: rhetorical fails
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2019, 04:52:19 AM »
I just received an email from some sort of consulting firm regarding the value of a liberal arts education at a particular college of which I've never previously heard. 

I am amused by the assertion that a liberal arts education teaches "hard skills" like business development, restaurant operation, and lesson planning. 

I am almost rolling on the floor after I looked up this college with such a strong liberal arts foundation and discovered it's a public community college that offers only certificates, occupational skills awards, and some associates degrees.  Even the associates degrees listed as examples of liberal arts degrees aren't what I typically consider liberal arts fields (journalism instead of English?, general organizational leadership?, education?).

What's the value of a liberal arts education?  Dunno, but my engineering education encouraged me to apply what I know and spend 30 seconds on the internet to not trust the ad that shows up in my inbox.  I think I'm being sold the value of this firm's analytical abilities.  I believe I'll pass.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 04:57:53 AM by polly_mer »
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