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"Visa Check Card Ad" or "Hello, creepy!"

First... the ad:

Am I the only person who finds the messages in this commercial disturbing? I mean, yeah, neat all the carefully choreographed movements but the "boo for cash" and "yay buy stuff," and "this guy is a jerk for standing out and screwing up our nice ordered environment where everyone knows their place and their rules," makes me want to leave my debit card at home and pay for cash everywhere!



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 30th, 2006 02:44 pm (UTC)
OMG, I'm so with you on this! Cash is the primary means of exchange in this country. Visa is a means of moving around cash (debit), or incurring debt (credit) to be paid with either cash, or another means of moving around cash (such as a check). Many use cash to avoid incurring debt with a credit card. This ad, however, specifies the "Visa check card" so I'll tackle that.
  • If you have a shared account, you may not use your debit card for some purchases (gifts, for example).

  • While some banks are good about handling pending Visa check card credit purchases, some are not. Some actively drop pending credit purchases from the checking account quickly, because overdraft fees are part of their revenue model. There are people in the world who don't have the ability to track dropped-but-pending purchases on their accounts, whether because the account is shared, or they're too stressed to think straight, or they're just not that good at keeping accounts. Such people proactively use cash to avoid overdraft fees.

  • Some people avoid using a debit card because they are nervous about RFID, and or about allowing banks, etc., to track their purchases. In a country where corporations pay a lot for marketing data, and unusually large payments of your credit card debt have to be reported to Homeland Security, concern your spending habits may be tracked or sold is not unrealistic.

  • It discriminates agains people of a low socio-economic scale. There are huge swaths of neighborhoods in large cities that don't have banks because of crime; it makes it very difficult for the poor trying to establish basic credit with savings or checking accounts. These people don't have access to debit cards. Should they get dirty looks if they buy with cash at Starbucks? Certainly not!

    You could argue this is over-sensitive, that any ad for Cadillac or Mercedes does the same, but it doesn't. An ad for an expensive product strives to make purchase either an option or a goal. An ad that says you're worthy of contempt from a cashier if you don't use a device to which you don't have access for a small purchase is saying something entirely different. It says if you can't use the tools of this environment, don't show up. If you don't have a debit card, stay away.

  • If you're nervous about hacking and you don't like to use your credit check card option, you use cash. Most software that capture debit card payments preserves both the debit card number and the PIN in its data; hackers are targeting corporations for this data, and some have succeeded. If you must use your Visa check card, use it as a credit card whenever possible. It's more expensive for the retailer, but they've already figured that into the price you're paying.
This of course doesn't even begin to address the meta-message of how people who don't fit in like cogs in the social machine mess it up. This ad is like the world of IT in A Wrinkle in Time. I don't want to live in that world.

You know, I feel so strongly about this, I'm going to put it in my blog, too.
Dec. 31st, 2006 01:12 am (UTC)
I'm with ya, Jett! This advert makes me nuts, and has since I first saw it. I love the convenience of using my debit card, espcially at the grocery store, but quite honestly, I mostly use cash too. SPEND SPEND SPEND create more debt...grrrrr!
Dec. 31st, 2006 01:42 am (UTC)
Not to mention the fact that paying with cash is STILL as fast, if not faster than a debit card. You either have to punch in a pin or sign and you have to wait for it to authorize. These commercials bug me in that regard. They make it look like you just swipe and walk, and that's not true!
Jan. 1st, 2007 12:10 am (UTC)
I'm with you - it's a funny commercial and well-put-together, but a little chilling.
Jan. 1st, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
Totally creepy ! I'm with you on this one ! When people behave like perfectly oiled machines, then it means something is wrong. (like in totalitarian systems)
Jan. 6th, 2007 06:30 am (UTC)
OMG! I just saw this on tv for the first time (having not been able to play the ad on your entry at the time I saw it) and I had to come back here and comment! Tres creepy!!! Are we people, or are we interchangeable cogs?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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