Monday, November 20, 2006

On the Radio

Just as an aside here, when I wrote that post title, I immediately thought of Donna Summer. Then I had a moment when I wasn't sure if the song was by Donna Summer, so I googled it and read the lyrics. Good songs look really stupid when you google the lyrics:

on the radio whoa oh oh
on the radio whoa oh oh
on the radio whoa oh oh
on the radio whoa oh oh now, now
All those whoa oh yeah yeahs just begin to seem ridiculous after a while! And don't even get me started about cakes left out in the rain...

Anyway, this post is not about Donna Summer, it's about a show I caught part of on NPR this weekend, called Marketplace Money. I don't always make a point of listening to it, but whenever I do, it's always quite interesting. People call in to discuss their money issues, and they do interviews with authors, etc. This weekend they were talking about a book called Shopportunity, which I think I want to read now.
Here's how the book is described on Amazon:
Today's shopping culture is turning the shopper into a zombie—and the thrill of the hunt into the robotic management of inventory. We are in danger of losing a resonant personal ritual, replaced by the boring habitual. For millions of us, the sizzle of a daily shopping experience has devolved into a relentless acquisition of the okay, available, and cheap. Why are we willing to pay $3.50 for a latte at Starbucks, but bristle at a 10-cent increase in the price of toothpaste? Why do we drive miles out of our way to buy a bag of 100 razor blades for 50 cents less than at our local store, and then spend $3.99 on a tub of pretzels that we don't need? We're wasting our time and money at the cost of our patience and good will.

In Shopportunity!—a manifesto-cum-exposé—marketing expert Kate Newlin looks behind the aisles of our best-known retailers to reveal that the dopamine rush of getting a good deal is confusing shoppers' wants with their needs. Packed with perceptive reporting, Shopportunity! provides an insider's view of how marketers create a brand and the overwhelming power of retailers to interfere with the transformational joys that great brands bring to our daily lives. It is time for shoppers to revolutionize their shopping experience and take the power away from retailers.

One generation of marketers has hooked three generations on the addiction of price promotion, and it has wreaked havoc on our waistlines, credit ratings, and life experience. From Wal-Mart to Macy's, Ralph Lauren, Whole Foods, and the Home Shopping Network, Newlin reveals what the world's leading retailers really know about us, and what it takes to kick the addiction to getting the best deal possible. Culminating in a Shopper's Bill of Rights, Shopportunity! will liberate shoppers—as well as the manufacturers and retailers who serve them—from the tyranny of the cheap.

Sounds like an interesting thing to read before diving into furnishing my new home, not to mention my Christmas shopping!


In Recovery said...

Shopportunity! is a great read! I really enjoyed it. The author made excellent points, and retailers would be wise to read this book and actually pay attention to her findings. One of the more interesting points was that privately owned firms (like Title 9 Sports, Wegman's grocery) can create a better shopping experience because they don't have to be purely immediate quarter profit focused, as do firms that must answer to Wall Street. She has a blog of sorts up at but the content is pretty sparse so far.

SMB said...

You're very right about lyrics looking silly--all of those "oooohs" and "yeah yeahs." Another thing that looks really stupid in print is the text of television ads.

Anonymous said...

I think the song you're talking about is "On the Radio" by Regina Spektor. She's very good.