I think the US exhibits capitalism in a very troubling form. For instance, competitive marketing has become the only kind of advertisement there is. It’s like watching children arguing about whose father is the strongest, while you already know both fathers haven’t seen the inside of a gym for a very long time. Maybe the comparison between children and advertisements is not ideal. Advertisements are more like politicians. They will go to great lengths to not tell you the true cost of what they are trying to sell you. The car is only $399 a month (if you pay $5999 in advance, by purchasing the in-house insurance and excluding tax). For example, T-Mobile made their pay-as-you-go model ridiculously hard to understand.
It’s $10 for the card, then you have to pay at least $10 that are being converted to 100 credits, that are then divided between the next three months and 30 credits per month are reserved for the monthly fee and everything else is being taken from the deposit on the card BUT after three months you have to pay ANOTHER $10 to not lose the money that is still on that card. At least that’s how I think their system works after I asked in three different T-Mobile shops. But they are only playing the game everyone else is playing, so I won’t blame them. Okay, I will, because I lost $10!
I often feel like a sheep among wolves, a resource that needs to be exploited. Yesterday I read a bulletin inside a store that specifically described how their staff has to approach and engage with the customers. It read like “Don’t stop selling until the customer stops buying. Tell the customer that whatever they bought was what they wanted. Point them to more items they would like. Always engage with them in conversation.” Underneath that were the monthly sale statistics sorted by names so that I could see that Kevin was rocking while Maggie needed to get their act together. That explained why a team of head-set wearing highly motivated salesmen circled around us, asked us every two minutes how we were doing, if everything was fine, if we knew about the special, if we wanted that special and why we didn’t want the special, since it was basically for free (if we bought two other items at full price). We fled the scene/the mall and walked beneath stunningly beautiful buildings, so expensive that we would never ever even see the inside of them. Right in front of one of the especially luxurious buildings inside a lush garden, a beggar was sleeping on a cardboard. The inside of his legs was brownish red from the many time he peed his pants, making it look like blood. Or maybe it was blood. A very compelling statement about the status of the American Dream.
Now to lighten the mood, a short quiz! What causes California to burn? That’s right: A drought! But what else makes California catch fire? Exactly! Light rain! Although being completely counterintuitive, a slight drizzle after a long drought moistens the dust that has been collected along the overland electricity lines leading to short cuts, sparks, burning poles and ultimately new fires and huge blackouts. I have to face the fact that I am now in a country of hurricanes, earthquakes, weapons and criminally lax safety regulations.
Also I was being told, that I have adopted a Californian accent. And I have learned that on a Friday night it’s perfectly fine to start drinking at 5pm.