I love treasure hunting for clothes. I never know what I will find at T.J. Maxx or my favorite resale shop. On a recent visit to good old T.J.’s, my “find” was a hooded exercise shirt – certainly something a person who works at a gym can use!
I headed to the dressing room, closed the door, and prepared to try it on. As I looked in the mirror, I had to laugh. A sign stared back at me – a very clever and sneaky message – “You should get it!” As I turned to face the door, another one caught my eye – “This would be a great score for you!”
I talk a lot about how food companies market fast food and snacks. They use similar tactics. Before you know it, there they are . . . right inside your head!
If I had a nickel for every positive emotion linked to junk food in ads, I would be able to put up my own billboard ads: “Stop, observe, breathe in deeply, exhale completely, reflect.” (SOBER: my acronym for the process of returning to mindfulness). Then my sign would read: “OK, now make a genuine choice – YOUR choice, not the one inserted into your brain while you weren’t paying attention.”
In fact, in a conscious state of mind, many of us are probably more likely to turn down temptation if we feel pushed into a decision by advertisers. The problem – and it’s a big one – is that we are so often not even aware as the messages sneak into our heads.
So, what did I do, you wonder – in that dressing room, confronted by these prodding signs? I stopped, observed (just noticed feelings in me), focused on my breath, and then thought about what that sign was trying to do to me. I ended up buying the shirt, but it was a genuine choice that I was certain was not influenced by those stupid signs. Now that’s what I call a real score!