Tag Archives: corporations

Avoid and destroy all evil corporations

While browsing flights on Expedia.com the other day, I became rather suspicious when just a few minutes after searching for a flight, the price on the same exact trip had jumped about $20. I get that prices go up as flights get closer and seats get sold, but I knew that 1) Expedia put cookies in my browser and knew what I was searching for, evident by the site autofilling the fields for me; 2) it was suspicious that it happened within a few minutes; and 3) corporations are often extremely evil entities.

So I did a little online searching and found that indeed, this is a scam. A trick. A deliberate extortion. Try it sometime — search for a flight, then go back and search again. Then open a new browser (like if you were using Google Chrome, try it in Internet Explorer) and your price will go back to its original state.

So Expedia.com (and I suspect, all of its kind, such as Priceline, etc.) are deliberately extorting their customers. Is all fair in love, war and business?

Obviously, corporations can be great. They can make fabulous products that enhance our lives, and they provide jobs and livelihoods. They create healthy economies, and they are often the living embodiment of humanity’s dreams.

But since corporations are people, they can be tempted by evil, and many go straight for it. Their evil is justified by the fact that it makes them more money and/or enhances their public image. Does that make it okay?

Many corporations attempt to have ethics, to help communities and try not to hurt the environment too much. Others purport to do good, but it’s really just a marketing and public relations facade, one that they try to make even their employees believe.

And many — think of Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, and now, companies like Monsanto — engage in large-scale disinformation campaigns. This is why it is so important that people shop mindfully and really think about what they are buying. Are those pink-ribbon emblazoned cookies really going to help cure cancer? Susan G. Komen would certainly like you to think so, and they have a vested interest in doing so. Many food items pretend to be ‘all-natural’ and otherwise healthy when they are definitely not; low-fat food items and diet pills are cashing in on a multi-billion dollar industry that is only getting (pun intended) bigger by the day.

NaturalNews listed the Most Evil Corporations, with Monsanto taking the top spot. The rest:

British Petroleum 9%
Halliburton 5%
McDonalds 3%
Pfizer 2%
Merck 2%
Wal-Mart 2%
Nestle 1%
Other 7%

Monsanto created bee-killing, cancer-causing, neurotoxic pesticides and herbicides, Agent Orange, DDT, PCBs, dioxin,  the artificial sweetener Aspartame (NutraSweet), bovine somatotropin rBST / rBGH pus milk (Posilac shots), GMOs and more. They make it a point to sue small farmers out of business and directly caused thousands of farmer suicides in India. These are all verifiable facts. They are attempting to patent all the seeds, consolidating control over the world food supply.

This is a blatant example, but corporations are behaving in disingenuous ways all the time, in ways we may not notice. And that’s deliberate. Having worked in the marketing world, I know first-hand how companies will deliberately try to tap into hardwired emotions to make a sell. They KNOW you. They know their demographics and target audience, right down to what shows you like to watch and what car you like to drive. Marketing is not inherently evil and neither are corporations. I’m just trying to point out that the consumer needs to be very aware and to do the research behind the product.

Companies will eventually respond to consumer demands. The voice of the citizenry can be heard. But the citizen must be informed, and must care. They can’t go mindlessly along with the commercials and the trends. They can’t just get something because it looks good, sounds good, or is convenient. If we are slaves to convenience, we will have a land of Wal-Marts and fast-food. We need to make conscious, intelligent, independent choices: look at company histories, look at supply chains, look at ingredients. Look at mission statements and what backs them up. Look at what the parent and sister companies are.

And when you hear all of those terrible ‘potential’ side effects listed on drug commercials for the latest Lipoprozandiac, please pause and re-consider all of the synthetic pills and chemicals you may be putting into your body. I believe one day these drug companies will be exposed for the truly evil entities they are. For the most part, they are not trying to heal or to cure you. They exist to make a profit — by pushing their pills to larger and larger markets, regardless of the consequences. Do the research. The facts, as long as a free internet exists, are at your fingertips.


Chex or Cheerios?

The great 21st century cornucopia.

Did you know that the average American child can name more corporate logos than common flora and fauna? “Young children are ready learners and are learning about their brand environment just about everywhere,” says T. Bettina Cornwell, a professor of marketing and sports management at the University of Michigan in this ABC News article.

“What Kids Know: McDonald’s, Toyota, Disney” details a study that found preschoolers, children ages 3-5, can often recognize brand logos before even becoming fully literate.

You don’t have to be a trained sociologist to realize that when the average kindergartener has already logged close to 5,000 hours of TV time – and spends an average of only half an hour a day outside – they are going to have absorbed quite a bit of commercial messaging into their malleable mind.

In a poignant, prescient Adbusters piece from the same year, Mike Weilbacher writes:

“And the geographic world they wander is collapsing like a black hole into their laptops; the typical kid today roams a world only one-ninth the size a child of the ‘70s did. I wandered Long Island’s rapidly decreasing pine forests in the ‘60s, biking and hiking unthinkable distances, alone and with friends, with neither a cell phone nor a dime to make a call. Because inside our houses were the adults, and who wanted to be there? Every last child was outside, in the street, in the yard, on the corner, at the 7-Eleven.

But letting kids go into a forest alone today is unthinkable, heretical …This radical retreat from the great outdoors, now called ‘nature-deficit disorder,’ a phrase coined by journalist Richard Louv in his groundbreaking book Last Child in the Woods, is the greatest health catastrophe facing Western kids. Ever.”

He continues by noting the skyrocketing rates of obesity, ADD, asthma and diabetes; that enjoying an active childhood in the great outdoors is essential to proper emotional and mental development and is even tied to higher test scores later in life.

But hey, adults need the wild too. It’s call has been paved over by asphalt and concrete and drowned out by cars and cellphones and the sirens of shopping malls and the latest iPad and “making it.” Our outside time is too often relegated to our freeway commute, our scenery marred by billboards. The average person is exposed to 3,000 marketing messages a day.

You might not be fully aware of how much this consumer culture has permeated your psyche and informed your habits. That’s the thing about brainwashing – you don’t actually realize it has occurred. And it doesn’t mean we are literally programmed to unthinkingly drive through the nearest Mickey D’s just because we pass some golden arches and a redheaded clown. But we may be inspired to pay more because we recognize that Apple, or D&G, or name or shape or insigna and all the myriad connotations it carries.

You are a better student than you have realized. You have learned your lessons so well they are second nature, embedded deep into your memory. Seashells represent gas; a bell means tacos; bunny ears mean sex. Take this quiz to see if you are truly an ‘A’ student.

But of course, you know what you like. Do you prefer Colgate or Oral B toothpaste? Dawn or Joy dish soap? Tropicana or Dole juice? You might be surprised to learn they all have the same parent company, and that many products you consider green and scrappily independent are actually owned by the big-names. Burt’s Bees by Clorox, Naked Juice by Pepsi, and so forth.

It’s not all terrible. And for better or worse, it’s the way things are today. But it definitely doesn’t hurt to be a little bit more aware of the products you are incessantly being peddled — and to maybe start saying ‘no’ a little more often.