We've all seen the commercials and billboards for them. And, sure enough, they are sprouting up everywhere you turn. Otherwise desolate strip malls are now decorated with bright yellow signs promising you cash for all of your unwanted gold. The ads all sort of start out the same, implying that most of us have extra sacks of pirate booty hiding in our attics and under our beds just waiting to be melted down and cashed in on. Are you sick of carrying around dead stinky grandma’s stinky old dead jewelry? She’s dead and you’re poor, so get rich! Get rich now.
At an open mic’ once, a very funny guy was on before me, and did an entire bit about leprechauns and ‘cash for gold’ advertisements. I don’t remember exactly what he said, or what his name was, but I figured that I should give him a cosmic nod of some kind, and telepathically thank him for warming up the audience for me that night. There’s no way that my bit about inflatable mattresses was that funny.
So, anyways, we can all agree that the ads are already ridiculous enough. But a few weeks back, I saw a closed down gas station that had recently been converted in to a ‘cash for gold’ temple, with a rather large sign obnoxiously advertising what they are all about. In case you were wondering, they give cash for gold. Right underneath this sign, a poor sap standing in one hundred plus degree heat was holding a big arrow that read ‘CASH 4 GOLD’ and was pointing it to the store directly next to him. To top it off, he was wearing a Mr. T sized gold medallion.
Makes me think of the dudes standing outside of the strip club asking me if I like boobs and/or pussy, as if I am going to suddenly stop in my tracks, unaware of what lay beyond yonder walls.
“Wait, wait… you have the beaver to cure my fever? Finally! Thank God you were out here to let me know what was available in your fine establishment. It wasn’t clear from that naked woman on the neon sign. Now, just so I’m clear, your establishment features both breasts and vaginae? Honey, you go ahead, I’ll catch up with you later.”
Now, aside from the ridiculousness of holding the arrow (and playing air guitar on it) directly below a Buick sized billboard, one must wonder how many extra customers are coming in thanks to this roadside arrow. Ordinarily this type of sidewalk luring is meant for drive-by impulse buys.
“How will I ever make it up to Cindy for that pesky 'whoops wrong hole' incident? Oh, hey now, FLOWERS!”, thought Gerald, as he whizzed past the lonely clown holding a sign indicating where one might buy roses.
And then there is always the classic ‘sexy girl car wash’, or something involving free hot dogs. I mean, who wouldn’t pull over for that? But how many people are actually driving around with treasure chests of doubloons in their trunk, just in case they have an impulse to sell?
“Cash for gold eh? Why not!?! Get the good gold out of the glove compartment, we’re going in.”
Is it often enough to warrant having him out there?
“We were on our way to the grocery store and thought, well, since we have all this unwanted gold hidden in our seat cushions, we may as well pull over. We just couldn’t resist the sweaty fat guy with the arrow. Say, how much for my wedding ring?”
And why do these signs sometimes try for some cheap play on words? It’s insulting to my intelligence. Granted, we are a nation of people that need to be told to ‘click it or ticket’. Yeah.
“I saw the sign, and didn’t want to miss my ‘golden opportunity’. Now, do you guys have pliers? I have some teeth to rip out.”
You think any alcoholics have ever brought in their peepee and poopoo after a night of binging on Gold Schlager? ... Too far? I’m just thinking that that would certainly be unwanted gold.
Perhaps the sidewalk charmer is aimed at criminals fleeing the scene of a crime. Although, unless their crime was a gold heist, I don’t see what good it would be. Maybe if they robbed another ‘cash for gold’ place.
“This way! Hurry! Follow the arrow!”
I think about these things when I should be more focused on the road. Even as all of this raced through my head, I was still tempted to pull over, because I thought it would be a solid joke to go up to the guy holding the sign wearing that enormous medallion and say, “Hey man, that’s an awfully big medallion. Is that gold? I’m pretty sure there’s a place around here that would pay you good cash for that... Not sure where though... Any ideas?”
Moving right along.
My realization in seeing Goldenboy McNecklace-Chest is that if the place needs to dress a guy up in a bunny suit or tutu or whatever to try and lure you into the store, it’s probably a store and product that you can do without. This realization, in turn, got me thinking about what the worst impulse buy situations would be (other than cash for gold), and whether they could even employ a sidewalk goon or not.
In general, you shouldn’t impulse buy at all. The most tempting, and often easiest, impulse buy to give into is food, because after all, you definitely need to have that brand new sandwich. But, if you see any of the following examples, or anything like them being advertised on the side of the road, or being dangled at you so seamlessly in front of the checkout, you really need to just move on.
Granted, if they had a sidewalk guy and his sign said 'ENTER IN REAR' or something of the like, I would still have to pull over just to give him a high five, you know, in the name of comedy. As long as he’s not the one administering the procedures, because then maybe just a fist-bump, followed by a lot of hand sanitizer, might be better. For the record, most medical procedures are not recommended to be purchased purely on impulse (unless the purchase is Emergency Medicine that you suddenly need due to bleeding from the head or something).
I know it seems like celebrities pick these up on a whim, but if a place is advertising with a guy on the street, you might be better off just calling the police. I know you want to be like Brangie, but the babies here won’t be the quality foreign babies you’ve come to appreciate in such magazine photo shoots as ‘US Weekly’ or ‘In Touch’. Not sure what that magazine is in touch with. Definitely not reality, or ethics.
Never pay money to join a cult, and certainly not on a whim. I guess don’t join one for free either, even if they promise cookies. Especially if they promise cookies. The expression ‘Drink the Kool-Aid’ exists for a reason. How do you think they got so many people? Arrow signs. I’m telling you, look it up. No don’t. Lifestyle changes should be discussed with your wife / husband / family / brain before you just proceed on an impulse. Same for those Timeshare deals, which are rather cult-ish. Just give me my free gift and take me back to the strip, and no, Steve, I don’t care how often you went skiing last year.
Especially if you already have one, or it’s not Christmas, or you don’t celebrate Christmas. Seriously, it’s a tiny apartment, where the hell would we put it? This goes for all holiday-related gear. No, Halloween is not a holiday. Nonetheless, avoid those Halloween superstores. Forever.
“But the bags of fake cob web are on special, buy eighteen get one free!!!”
Yeah, exactly. If you collected everyone’s unused Christmas and Halloween decorations, you could probably build a tower to the moon, or at the very least, you could probably bury a lot of really annoying people.
This is a special one, since it’s not so much an impulse buy as an impulse sell (much like the 'cash for gold'). What you are selling, of course, is dignity and potentially your overall well-being. A respected clinical trial place might not be so bad, and you might only end up with the more traditional diarrhea side-effect, but do you really want to even risk having a story that ends with “and that’s the story of my exploding left testicle”? And you really don’t want to know what non-traditional diarrhea looks like.
Anything at a Mall kiosk
Face it, if you really needed it, they would have an actual store. They are hoping that you hate yourself enough that you just can’t resist their redundantly shitty product. Excuse me sir, do you like [ face cream / toy helicopter / funny slippers / cheap sunglasses ]? No. But not nearly as much as I dislike you. I realize that this is getting away from the idea of sidewalk people, but then the mall will go and have a sidewalk sale, so they can pretend to have a sidewalk with which to lure you in, as well as sidewalk people who are all “50% off everything! Except what you might want to buy!”. Seriously, that's not on sale? Fuck you, mall.
The cheaper the place, the more likely they are to have a guy on the street, and the worse off your hair will be. Well, unless you want to look five years old again. Even a good haircut is the worst, because you have to go to work, and everyone is like, “hey, new haircut?”. So imagine a bad one.
In conclusion, I’m sure there are some important impulse transactions that I am missing, but if you go directly after the more obviously bad impulse buys like PROSTITUTES, ANOTHER BOOK from THE BOOKSTORE, SKINNY JEANS, GAMBLING, NEW CAR, HOME OWNERSHIP or the Godfather of all impulse buys, PETS, you probably deserve whatever grief you are currently feeling.
In conclusion part two, never listen to people on streets holding signs, unless they are the police or one of those old lady crossing guards with the big lollipop stop sign. In those cases, I will leave it up to you to decide if you want to buy what they are selling.
That’s it. I’m going to go drive around and see where my impulses take me.