Don't Forget To Check Out Our Weekly Specials!

So I just went to the pharmacy. Let me talk about cognitive load. I'm directing this at the marketing executive who has been paid to design my shopping experience. I drive to your store, park, and enter, wander up and down the aisles looking for an item I need, and then try to buy it. Let me confess up front: I've been diagnosed (by the same professional and commercial Western Medicine System which you are in a very real sense a part of) with ADD (back when that was one of the things it was called; I know it's changed; the DSM be praised). As I attempt to carry out my intended tasks in your store, I am bombarded with words and images, visually and auditorily. Every square inch of the surfaces that surround me is emblazoned with advertisement, from the packages of the products themselves, to the logos and faces on the sides of the endcaps, to the stands holding flyers, which I try not to knock over. Voices, NON-STOP VOICES entreat me over the PA to check out your weekly specials. At every spot where I can interact with a human being acting as a representative of your corporation, the face I see has a halo extending to the edge of my vision consisting of candy to give me diabetes or cancer interspersed with pictures of scantily clad celebrities. As I shop, little plastic boxes protrude from the shelves, and blink at me, offering pieces of paper which can grant me infinitesimal discounts on products I don't need. At the register I'm told I need a Special Swell Customer Card so that, in addition to getting more infinitesimal discounts and letting you track the progress of my hemorrhoid, I can devote precious space in my already overstuffed wallet to what is, in essence, a billboard for your corporation.

And in among the logos and the slogans and the entreaties and the coupons and the Special Swell Customer Card and the acres of glossy cleavage, there is a VERY REAL risk I will FORGET what it is I came into your store to buy.

If that happens, it will defeat the purpose of my having offered this hour of my life to doing business with you.

My (justified) fear of that eventuality makes my shopping experience, frankly, hellish.

So. You, marketing executive, have been paid what is probably a pretty respectable salary to lure me into your store and make me into a loyal customer. And the result of your earnest labors is that the brightly-colored sign above your door might as well bear the words, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

Keep up the good work.