Mad Women

I’m the kind of person who won’t watch commercial television unless I can fast forward through the ads. And, most of the time that’s exactly what I do.  But, once in a while, it’s unavoidable, and I am forced to watch a few.

Flo. She's got moxie.

Flo’s got moxie.

Granted, they’re not all bad. Some are refreshingly funny or slick and hip. Those are the best. Some create interesting characters, like Flo. She’s the insurance lady who works in a store where everything seems to be strangely stark white.  With her intense makeup and brilliant smile, there’s something real and down to earth about her. I think she and I could be good friends, assuming she gets time off from selling insurance.

The Brad Pitt commercials I don’t get. Bizarre and over my head, if you want to know the truth. Besides, I prefer clean-shaven Brad to scruffy Brad.

Target has cool ads. So does Old Navy.  Their ads often have a brightly-colored, retro look. Meanwhile, I dislike the Walmart ads on principal.

I think any of the commercials for prescription drugs are way too long. Probably because they have to list every single side effect. I’ll never forget how, when my son was still a kid, he watched an ad for acid reflux so many times, he swore he had it, too.

And, don’t get me started on the ad for toenail fungus. Eww!

This woman is so busy at work, she has to take her lunch at her desk. Yet she finds time to use the Progresso soup can to call grandma who she's sure made the soup.

This woman is so busy at work, she has to take her lunch at her desk. Yet she finds time to use the Progresso soup can to call grandma, who she’s sure made the soup.

But the worst commercials of all are the ones that make women look plain dumb.  I’m talking to you, Progresso!

First, let me say, I have nothing against Progresso soup. That said, the last time I fell head over heels in love with any soup was well, let me see if I can remember…oh yeah.


So why does Progresso show women (and, on occasion, men) fawning over their soup, and loving it so much, that they pick up the empty Progresso soup can, to call the “Progresso” chef (as if it’s made by professional chefs and not in a factory).  Clearly, they must know a soup can is not a phone, yet as soon as the can is in hand, they say, “Ring, ring!

And magically, the chef answers, generally a male. The woman tells the chef that the soup is so good, it must have been prepared by grandma. She waxes poetic about the soup while the chef has a look on his face, as if to say, “This is what I have to put up with all day.”  Apparently, these women love their Progresso soup so much, that in one of the commercials, you see a woman wearing empty soup cans on her head, using them as curlers.

Now, I’m no feminist but, can it get any sillier than this?

The way I see it, these commercials are a throwback to the Mad Men era of advertising.  When women were portrayed as empty-headed housewives while a male voice-over, which always sounded wiser and more assured, taught them how to mop a floor, buy the correct toilet paper, and fix a meal for a “Hungry Man.”  Clearly, Madison Avenue must have believed we were incapable without their help. And, from the looks of the Progresso commercials, they still do.  Sigh.

And, while I’m at it, I find it a tad annoying, that in that car commercial where the grown son comes home for the holidays, in his spiffy new car, the parents, instead of greeting their prodigal son with open arms, sneak out the back door to take his car for a test drive. I don’t mind them taking the car, though I do wonder what kind of parents are these to leave their son, who, presumably, they haven’t seen in ages. Why don’t they first give him a warm welcome and a hug and then maybe the three of them can take the car for a spin?

And, why, oh why, is it the dad that gets behind the wheel while mom takes the passenger seat? Maybe I’m being nitpicky, but doesn’t she deserve to test drive the car once in a while? I’m just saying.

So how about you? Any commercials you particularly like or dislike?

Class Action Gal

I may be able to retire soon! And it’s all thanks to the following:

Crate and Barrel

A computer I once had

My bank

My neighborhood grocery store

But most of all, it’s thanks to being at the WRONG place at the RIGHT time—or is it the right place at the wrong time? Either way, I’ve hit gold, and the reason can be summed up in one word:

Class Action Suit

Ok, that’s three words. Well, apparently, while I’ve been sleeping and doing about a gazillion other things, my name has been bandied about and added to many a class action suit list.  You know what I’m talking about, right?

A class action suit is when a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court in order to sue an entity for damages or irreparable harm or something like that. Though, if you ask me, I don’t think I suffered much trauma the day I shopped at Crate and Barrel. Yet, somehow I got tangled in the lawsuit’s web.

Apparently, when these collective groups decide to sue, they don’t necessarily ask me if I want in, nor do they tell me what the fracas was about. I didn’t know bubkis until I got a letter in the mail informing me about the suit and of my rights as a citizen of the free world.

Of course, my first reaction is always, “Huh? What do I have to do with this class action suit?”

But, once I figure it out (actually, I never do), then I jump on board the bandwagon—hitching my wagon to the class action star!

By the time the letter arrives, the suit is well underway, and, if you ask me, reading the letter is like reading gobbledygook. I know this because I’m a pro at recognizing gobbledygook when I see it and I see it all the time. Usually on IRS 1040 forms, credit card notices, divorce papers, and so on.

Somewhere in the class action letter it tells me what to if I don’t want to be included in the suit, but I never get that far. I usually pass out halfway down the first page. I figure it’s too much trouble to exclude myself, anyway. Besides, you never know what you’re going to get by staying the course.

As I see it, class action suits are a great way to meet friends with common interests or a common cause. I always assume that when the case is finally settled, we’ll all go out for a drink, or maybe one of us will host a party so we can collectively celebrate and count our winnings. Of course, so far this hasn’t happened, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

I must look like I have what it takes to be a member of these prestigious groups of litigants, as I’ve been part of at least a dozen this past year alone:

I received a $15 gift card to Crate and Barrel because of some dispute involving a mistake in their cash register system and, apparently, only those who shopped in any of their stores over a three-day period were eligible. Bingo! I happened to go in on one of those days!

A suit was brought against my local supermarket and the upshot, as part of the settlement, I received a year’s worth of $9 coupons to be used once a month on groceries.

Last month, I received a check for $8 from Dell computers because five years ago, I owned one and yada yada, yada, we won! They must have heard that my Dell crashed and I lost all my files, so I assume the $8 was compensation for that loss.

A few days later, I received $35 from a dispute involving Bank of America. I don’t know why, but thank you, BofA! (Sidebar: By the way, BofA, I find it ironic that the check I received was issued by another bank. Does that mean you don’t bank at your own bank?  I wonder…)

These class action suits seem to be growing on trees and I’m definitely in the thick of them.  Today, I received two more notifications of suits that are pending. One is from Walmart, and it involves Netflix. And, like the other suits, all I have to do is:


And I’ll be eligible to receive whatever settlement comes out of it. I can’t wait to find out!

So, how about you? Have you initiated a class action suit or been involved in one lately? Do tell!