Corporate Creepiness in Post-(Pre-) HAL Days (Gmail Scans)

HALcyon Days?

Everyone finds Big Government creepy these days.  When I think of some of those likely to be elected soon, I share this feeling.

But lately I’ve been finding a lot of corporate conduct creepy too.  (I’m not going to even get into the huge bonuses for executives of the TARP banks.  Or the News Corporation taking advantage of the Citizens United ruling to make large donations to Republican coffers.)

What I’m thinking of are the more subtle corporate practices, things which make my skin crawl–

1. Google. Do you have a Gmail account?  Have you noticed that when you write a friend about a sale on bagels and cream cheese, the margin of your next email is covered with ads for bakeries and the “happy cow” online cheese company?

Or that when your daughter writes you about a risque costume she is ordering for a play she is directing, the side of your in-box is plastered with lingerie proposals?

Did you happen to mention to anyone that your car has died?  Lo, and behold, the replacement that you are considering is available all over the side of your computer screen.

Coincidence?  Magic?  Nope.  Google scans your mail to customize your advertisements.

Google assures subscribers that no human reads the mail, but in these post-(or should I say pre-) HAL days, I’m not sure whether that’s more or less creepy.  (I’m also not sure that I believe it.)

2. UPS. I love UPS guys. (And gals, I suppose, though I don’t see so many of them.)    They tend to be in good-enough shape to look strong, and yet not buffed, in their cozy brown shorts.  And they smile.  And they bring packages!  All under an aura that’s part  “Oh-uh the Wells Fargo Wagon,” part “Legally Blonde.”

But UPS has recently contaminated the underpass in the old Helmsley building on Park Avenue with a re-written version of the song “That’s Amore”, only now it’s “That’s Logistics.”

AIEEEEEEE!  I actually walk through this underpass, now a dizzying mix of Hollywood Amalfi and bureau-corporate speak– a couple of times a day.  Double AIIEEEEEEE!

3. Service Surveys! Every time you have any corporate interchange, you receive a frigging questionnaire–a little proto-SAT just because you paid a bill online.

Then the margin of your Gmail account is filled with offers for credit services.

And speaking of corporate exchanges and HAL, I really do hate that bright voice.  “I didn’t understand your response!” it says perkily.  (Five times.)

4.  Spam. How did I get on a list for commercial real estate in Karachi?  (I never even write gmails about it.)


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One Comment on “Corporate Creepiness in Post-(Pre-) HAL Days (Gmail Scans)”

  1. […] yesterday having just passed through the old Helmsley building trying to shut out the sounds of UPS’s morphed version of “That’s Amore”, having just congratulated myself on my maturity for not checking my email when walking–I […]

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