Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Phenomenology of Commerce: "That's My Robe!"

photo: Elcobbola
You may have seen the commercial in which the couple who uses Liberty Mutual saves all the money. However, there are two iterations. In one, the brother-in-law appears with a bowl of popcorn in hand and the lady of the house who has just declared that "if we had Liberty we could afford a real babysitter" says to the him, “that’s my robe.” In the second, the brother-in-law exits to the right of the screen and she then makes her catty comment about the robe. If you watch CNN where this commercial frequently plays, you'll note that one version has not superseded the other. They still air in tandem and one wonders if someone is playing games with your head. In the first version the brother-in-law has already heard his sister-in-law bad mouthing him. The accusation about the robe is just icing on the cake. The second is more reserved, the brother-in-law hears himself being badmouthed and is spared the comment about the robe. Could guilt be playing a role in this last scenario? The generosity of her brother-in-law has already been thrown out the window. Why add insult to injury? But in the earlier iteration she experiences no such qualms, totally dismissing the brother-in-law’s value and hitting him squarely between the eyes with the notion that she doesn’t like him making himself at home. And what about the kids? How are they? That's the first thing parents ask any babysitter? What's up with this omission?

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