Greek-American Stories: Adding up the Ads

February 25, 2019
Phyllis “Kiki” Sembos

The biggest complaint about living in a capitalist society, in my opinion, is watching those endless TV commercials where sales people shout and tell you to hurry because this sale won’t last much longer. Then, we’re treated to an annoying, steady drumbeat that pounds their message in the background like Chinese water torture. I can’t decide which ads are the worst. Maybe it’s the car commercials – the ones that feature the latest model cars, “at the lowest prices ever.”

We watch as those high tech, slick models go speeding at 170 mph down streets where, not only are there no other cars around – not even a taxi or school bus or humans anywhere but there is no driver, either. Maybe there is no driver. But if there’s one, you know he’s got to be an arrogant, maniacal egotist. Then, we watch as that car is joined by more cars coming alongside, taking up two lanes, as if parading. And not one cop comes out to nab and ticket him. So, you get the feeling that, not only do you have a great car, you’re guaranteed that no cop will pursue you. They wouldn’t dare! The dealer guarantees it.

Then, there are the ads that want to sell you a cable TV contract that lures you with promises to pay your phone bill, monthly cable and internet bills. In exchange they give you 250 useless, boring channels with intervals of ads featuring those auto dealers, age defying creams, and other cable companies with better deals promising no contracts, no late TV movies, and 630 channels.

Another really annoying set of ads are for pills and injections that can cure any illness or malady you may have or imagine you have. They show women and men who appear to have benefitted from those wonder drugs. We watch as they prance around carefree, extremely happy and beautifully groomed all because – they want you to believe – they’ve taken the pills or injections advertised. None of them look more than twenty or thirty. How did they get those illnesses? The most I had at that age was an ingrown toe nail. But, those folks – we are supposed to believe – took the pharmaceutical inventions that cure diabetes, COPD, Parkinson’s, asthma, psoriasis, and chapped lips. The side effects are enough to scare the ‘Kahooties’ out of you. Then, when the late night shows appear attorneys come on that warn, “if you took that pill or injection and suffered any of those side effects, call this number…You can receive $500,000 when we get on your case.”

Then, there are those age regenerating creams that promise that if you use their cream, faithfully, for a year, at least, not only will the bags under your eyes deflate, your wrinkles will disappear and you’ll look years younger. Again, the girls demonstrating the creams are about sixteen years old. Where did they find a wrinkled teen-ager? Then, they got ol’ Uncle Harry sober enough to demonstrate his bags on TV. He didn’t really want to do it until he was told he’d get paid a couple of ‘Gees’ for it. Why would I want to look younger, anyway? If I looked too young, I’d have to use an I.D. to get senior citizen discounts at the movies, bars, buses, theaters and museums. And Wednesdays is senior discount day at Shop-Rite. I’d miss those privileges!

Another ad is that guy with all those pillows. He says, they’re “My Pillows.” If they’re his pillows, why is he trying to pawn them off on us? He’s seen behind a bathroom mirror where the guy who owns the apartment opens his medicine chest and sees, ‘My Pillow’s’ face looking back at him. Flounder-brains went and bought the pillow. The next day he meets, ‘My Pillows’ in his bathroom and confesses he slept “really great!” I’d call the cops!

How about that bear that opens the kitchen window to give a coughing woman honey cough drops? She’s all gratitude, too! The bear knew more than she did how to take care of a cold. Then there’s all those charities that want you to send them, “only $19 a month,” forever!’ I mean $19 a month times 12 months is…ahh, Let’s see…ahh, Carry the eight… A lot of money!


The latest postponement of a White House visit by Greece’s Premier – for a second time this year – in conjunction with the announcement of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s trip to Washington, DC in May is certainly not auspicious.

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