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Paying to be Advertised At

I went to see Catch Me If You Can recently, and sat through not only movie previews but actual commercials. Coca-Cola, some allergy medicine, the Army, and I forget what else got advertising space during the previews. I'm used to ads - I see them on Web sites, I see them in magazines, I see them on television (though, increasingly less as I fast forward through them).

A day or so later, I dropped by my bank to visit the ATM. After being asked if I wanted to buy stamps, I was asked if I wanted to buy phone time. I went to get gas next (using my ATM card at the pump - ahh, convenience) and was asked if I wanted a car wash.

In each of these cases, I was effectively paying to be advertised at. Poor grammar aside, this is getting ridiculous. I pay between six and ten dollars to see a movie. The ATM, the gas pump... those do not take up more than ten seconds of my time, and at least the purchase is (usually) relevant to the advertising (fill car up with gas, purchase car wash). Seeing an ad for the Army or allergy medicine when I've paid money to watch Tom Hanks is not targeted, and it takes far longer than "a few seconds."

I bill at $100/hour or so. With the 5 minutes of wasted time the movie theater is now claiming (in addition to the 15 minutes of previews) for those damned commercials, and assuming I paid $8 for the movie, I figure they owe me about 33 cents. The same holds true of those DVDs that don't let you skip previews. I should return them as defective.

Grrr. I had planned to write more, but I've got a headache.