Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy "Don't Be Such a Loser" Week

If you're taking this week off work, you will likely spend a decent amount of time watching TV. Christmas commercials have been phased out, and now advertisers have lined up commercials created to prey on your deepest insecurities as the New Year approaches. In the days leading up to January 1, most people spend time wallowing in self-loathing as they think about the ways in which they fail as humans and dream up unrealistic New Year's Resolutions that will be abandoned within 3 weeks.

This week is what I like to call advertising's "Don't Be Such a Loser" Week. Instead of fast-forwarding through commercials on your DVR, pay attention to the subliminal messages you're being delivered:

Resolution: Lose Weight
What you need to buy to succeed: Weight loss systems like Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem, gym memberships, at-home exercise programs like Zumba and Hip Hop Abs
Confidence-crushing message: Hey fattie, maybe you should have thought twice before stuffing all those Christmas cookies down your gullet!

Resolution: Get a Better Job
What you need to buy to succeed: a certificate from a trade school, paid "premium" memberships to online job search boards like Monster and CareerBuilder
Confidence-crushing message: You're wasting your potential by staying in your soul-sucking current job that doesn't pay you nearly enough money!

Resolution: Get Organized
What you need to buy to succeed: one of everything at the Container Store
Confidence-crushing message: OMG your whole life is a complete mess.

Resolution: Fall in Love
What you need to buy to succeed: paid memberships to online dating sites like eHarmony and
Confidence-crushing message: Your mother is so disappointed in you because you're still not married and producing grandchildren for her. And isn't it lonely to have no one but your cat to kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve? You may as well pack it up and join a nunnery.

Resolution: Get Out of Debt
What you need to buy to succeed: Credit consolidation services, "free" credit score reporting websites that aren't actually free,
Confidence-crushing message: Isn't it a terrible burden to carry so much debt? Instead of paying off the money you owe the honorable way, learn some shady methods to do it...even though those "easy" methods will likely do more damage than good.

Resolutions may actually work for those people who choose one or two goals and create realistic plans that consist of not just quick fix money wasters, but complete lifestyle changes. But I'm an eternal cynic and see that companies are simply trying to fool people into throwing money at their problems. Fight the urge! If you still feel strongly about making a change in your life, then don't wait til January 1 to do it just because society tells you to.