I got an email today from an insurance company inviting me to purchase one of their products.
Product, I thought. Don’t they mean service? Or policy? Proposal? Strategy? Scheme? System?
No. They say Product.
A product, to me, is something tangible. Something you can hold in your hand, throw, smell, taste, turn, heft, weigh, try or wield. Something you can kick, wear, burn, drive or stand on. Something you can climb, drop or break.
A thing, made with skill and pride. That, to me, is a product, and I can’t for the life of me associate the word with a bloodless contract drawn up by a drippy-nosed clerk in a sleeveless jumper, whose soft and clammy hands have made neither honest artifact nor love.
The more I think about this misuse of a hard, tangible, useful word, the more I suspect it offers a glimpse into the abominable things that have overtaken us in the last decade.
Look around you, and see how many transient, insubstantial things are sold to you as products.
Romantic weekends away in delightful rural retreats.
Night classes in flower arranging.
For God’s sake, the entire country has been turned into a tourism product by the spiv marketing drones.
It annoys the hell out of me, because it illustrates plainly how the language of genuine craftsmanship has been hijacked by flim-flam merchants in banks, insurance companies and ad agencies — people who, by definition, have no practical skills whatever.
In the past decade, or maybe two, the entire western world has been taken over by swaggering con-men bragging about their products in order to give their activities a spurious image of substance and solidity, when in reality, all they were selling us was one gigantic pyramid scheme.
And that is why the next con-artist who tries to sell me an insurance product, or a banking product will get his miserable half ounce of coke-addled brains blown out by a high-velocity assassination product.