Is anyone else addicted to Emergen-C, those little foil packets of orange powder that you drop into your water, forming a fizzy and (supposedly) healthful pick-me-up? I swear the company that makes them isn’t giving me a nickel, but man, I must tell you I can’t stop drinking them. This is part of my compulsive beverage problem, maybe, but mostly I think I’m just the sleepiest person in the world, and anything that can wake me up and not add to my disturbing daily caffeine consumption is a good thing.
My favorite thing about Emergen-C is that it’s been around for awhile, and you can tell, because the packets are more ’80s shazaam than they are ’00s hipster (or organic, which is the other way they could go, I guess). The box has the Emergen-C logo encased in a little sunburst thing, just like we learned in basic graphic design in high school, just like around the “pow!” in comic books when the good guy punches out the bad guy. “Our product will punch out your sleepiness, Jen Hubley!” the box says, and I believe it, because I? Am a good consumer. I now drink two or more packets of this crap a day, just like the box says I should do. And it occurs to me that if you’d like to recruit me for your evil cause, you need only print your suggestion on a box of something easily consumable.
A couple beats ago, I wrote about customer relationship management software. This is the stuff that helps telemarketers take down your information, hotel companies track your preferences, the Body Shop figure out what to send you on your birthday to keep you coming back for more lip gloss and loofah. At one point, I was at a trade show, talking to some dude who worked for some company and we were talking about upselling, and how good his company was at upselling. And I said, “Well, that’s great. But I guess you just want the right types of customers really. I mean, me? I always want fries with that. Supersize me! And I’ll definitely two for the price of one, or a second thing, for half off with my original purchase. So what you want, basically, are many, many customers just like me.”
The gleam in his eye made me push my chair back a bit from the table.