quidni pro quo

Random musings at random intervals. Erudition not guaranteed.

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Location: El Paso area, Texas, United States

I'm a 40-something Christian, conservative, pro-life, Constitutionalist, motorcycle-riding, pick-up truck driving, wife, mother, state employee, ham radio operator and part-time college student, enlisted in the Texas State Guard. Everything else is subject to revision without notice.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Post No Bills

Dear Business Owner / Entrepreneur,

I'm a firm believer in the Free Market. I applaud your desire to get your products and/or services recognized and desired by consumers. The greater the demand for what you provide, the more successful you will be; a great thing for the economy in general because as your business grows, so too does your ability to hire others, and to invest back into the general market. However, I must take issue with the way you chose to advertise your business to me. Yes, I do understand that there are consumers who don't mind this form of advertising, and others who shrug and tolerate it because they feel like they can't do anything about it. However,there are those like me who do mind, and who don't tolerate it.

I came out of WalMart this evening to find your ad for (insert your product or service here) on my truck.

The law here states that a person's personal vehicle is an extension of their domicile - in other words, personal and private property. Even police have to have permission (from the owner, or from a judge, if there's no immediate probable cause or legal violation) to do something with a person's vehicle, just as with a person's residence. Yes, WalMart may have given you permission to pass your flyers out in the parking lot - but WalMart does not own the vehicles parked there. Did you have permission from the owners themselves to use their vehicles for advertising? I certainly don't recall giving anyone permission to advertise on my truck. And parking in a public-access parking lot does not automatically give the parking lot owner the right to grant that permission on my behalf.

My truck is for transportation - it is not a mailbox. Windshield wipers are for maintaining visibility in bad weather, not for paper storage. Had I found your flyer in my mailbox at home, or posted on a bulletin board or in the newspaper, I would have looked on it a bit more favorably. Nor is my truck a trash bin - although that's where your advertisement wound up, and rather quickly. I also saw a number of your flyers littering the pavement, blown off by the wind or dumped by other drivers who didn't bother to dispose of them properly.

Yes, I know that this form of advertising is "cheap." A listing in the Yellow Pages will probably bring better returns, though - folks are less likely to toss the entire phone directory than they are a loose sheet of paper. Or, hire a couple teens to walk up and down the sidewalks on the weekend, with sandwich-board ads, if you don't want to pay for a newspaper or radio spot.

But be aware that, if I ever am in the market for what you provide, I will remember your name and look elsewhere to spend my money. If you don't respect something as simple as owners' property rights regarding their vehicles, and you don't care how much litter you leave behind, then how can I trust your business in anything else?



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