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Pauline Lerner

'Tis the Season

November 19, 2005 at 7:19 PM

‘Tis the season. Actually, according to merchandisers, the Christmas season began over a month ago. I think that advertising has been even more aggressive than usual this year. I always get lots of unsolicited Christmas catalogs in my mailbox, but this year I’m getting more than ever. The ads on the Internet are really driving me nuts. In spite of my anti-pop-up software, anti-ad software, anti-virus software, and frequent deletion of temp files, I am constantly being bombarded with ads. Often they appear several layers at a time. Sometimes the ‘close’ window is hard to find, or I have to click in the middle of the ad before I click on the ‘x’ in the corner of the ad. The ones that really offend me the most are the ones with audio – loud audio – which stay loud even though I have the volume on my speakers turned all the way down. I keep being told that I will get only targeted ads which will be chosen to appeal to me according to my Internet preferences and history. Why, then, do I get so many ads for casinos, gambling, Viagara and other drugs, and just about anything with pictures of buxom damsels in bikinis and the word ‘HOT’ in large font? How could anyone possibly think that these would appeal to me? My Internet history is misinterpreted in irresponsible ways. I recently finished a small paying job for which I read and wrote about off-label uses for prescription drugs. Now a lot of decision-makers in the ad business believe that I want to buy a lot of drugs. Even federal government agencies may be involved. I read that the Food and Drug Administration is considering monitoring inappropriate prescribing of drugs by watching the sites we click on. I have health insurance with a mail/Internet order pharmacy which keeps track of my prescriptions online. Then there are the telemarketers. I’m having more phone calls from them than I ever did before. I actually feel sorry for the people who make these phone calls. They just need some extra money, and they probably don’t like talking to me any more than I like listening to them. Lots of times I just don’t answer the phone. If someone I want to talk to leaves me a message on my answering machine, I call them back soon after I get their message. Oops, there goes my phone again.

Do other people have similar experiences? Does anyone have any recommendations on ways to stop these assaults on my sensibilities?

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