Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Man in the Suit

I think everyone has had the experience. The rush of blood and emotion. The realization that you are in the crosshairs of a certain someone's stare. The pressure of feeling the attention of those around you joining that of the suited one to see what you're decision will be. Or maybe it just causes a smile or grin or shake of head that results from such a sight. So this morning I had such an experience but with many peculiarities. The man I speak of is the "sales promotion mascot." That poor soul who sucks it up, swallows his/her pride and puts on any number of silly inflatable/plush constumes with the hope of coaxing that one extra customer through the door.

I believe there is nothing the average citizen hates more than being put on the spot. That why people detest the door-to-door solicitor. I can't just walk away, I'm already at home! "Where's my anti-sales pitch bunker?!" And no one really enjoys rejecting someone else, so the pressure builds. And many times these purveyors of curbside guerilla advertising employ a similar brand of pressure. You can almost hear them saying through their fake, gargantuan(or non-nonexistent) mouths, "I'm pointing at you! I'm waving at you! Please come to my store! Make the children happy, don't turn me down. (Fake wiping away tears) You horrible person! How could you just drive on by?"(shrug giant inflatable/plush shoulders not being able to comprehend anyone who doesn't slam the brakes). This morning was not one of those sort of experiences. This one brought a chuckle and then a wave of questions and confusion.

I must name names. The business involved is a new Quiznos opening very near my home. Let me also say I am a big fan of Quiznos--"Toasted is better." Now, as I rolled along Greenville Ave. at approximately 7:10am I look over to my left and see an inflatable character harmlessly waving at passersby. It did, indeed, cause me to smile in bemusement. Those two oversized, white, gloved hands poking out of the costume waving to and fro is just funny...can't help it. But as I took the whole scene in, the peculiarities overwhelmed me. First and foremost, the costume being donned in this endeavor for a restaurant who's main product is sandwiches was a drinking cup with lid and straw. Ok, well I guess you can enjoy a refreshing cola with your sandwich but...is that really a draw?
Human #1: "Let's go to Subway."
Human #2: "Naw, dude. We need to go to Quiznos. They have drinks....with straws!"
H#1 : "Thank God you said something."
Two, the cup held no sign, no indication of a special. Maybe free drinks with your sandwich this week only? Just a little Quiznos logo on the cup and those big hands. For gosh sakes, the cup didn't even have a face! And Finally...it's sevenish in the morning! Quiznos does not serve breakfast. Even if this advertising attempt was successful and I immediately felt the urge to yank the wheel and drive directly to the front door of their fine establishment, they don't open for another 3-4 hours. Do they think all these cars on the road are out scouting for a lunch spot? We're all going somewhere else. Somewhere we will be at during the lunch hour, most likely. Not to return until well after lunch and most likely too soon for dinner. I guess Quiznos could be trying to corner the afternoon snack market. Or maybe I'll just stop in for a $1.29, 20 oz. Sprite on my way home? These seem like ideas that should not be the primary focus of your high-dollar "sales promotion mascot campaign". But what do I know? I'm not the man in the suit.

I would like to share more of the confusion that arose from this inflatable mascot sighting, but it's lunchtime......and there's a Quiznos nearby.

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