Marketing Stereotypes in Action

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I read about a recent police outrage. Some Philadelphia cops decorated a Christmas tree with objects that are apparently commonly found in their patrol areas and crime scenes; among the items dangling from the tree were packs of Newport cigarettes, malt liquor cans, "Police Line" tape, and other such things. Pretty typical shell-shocked cop humor that evidently is about to get them fired. You’d think they would know better by now.

 

I started thinking about when I worked in retail. It was in the warehouse at a large convenience store in Germany that was part of the PX system that caters primarily to military personnel. As part of the initial drawdown in the early 1990’s, they folded the so-called Class 6 Package Store (which sold booze) into ours; I was put in charge of it, and after speed-reading a three-inch-thick book on the subject, I became an expert on potent potables in short order.

 

Over the span of several months, I noticed distinct consumption patterns among the customers that can only be described as fulfilling stereotypes. E&J brandy, Seagram’s Extra Dry gin, and Hennessy cognac were bought almost exclusively by Blacks. Whenever they bought sparkling or non-sparkling wine, it was always the sweet ones. “Is this shit sweet?” was a common question. The same thing with menthol cigarettes; Blacks smoked only Kools and Newports. We also never seemed to have enough ribs and chicken. The lack of items like Old English 800 occasionally elicited profane commentaries from disappointed darkies.

 

The beer purchases seemed to be more evenly distributed. You’d think that being in Germany, the beer capital of the world, any other beer wouldn’t be seen, but we also stocked Budweiser and Michelob for redneck and soul brotha alike, and others with stunted tastes. I flipped my wig when we got a large shipment of Corona, which is the piss-water Mexican equivalent of Budweiser; not surprisingly, the Hispanics and some Gringos were delighted until they saw the price.

 

The Whites were by far the most cosmopolitan in their tastes, and guzzled just about everything we offered. In contrast to the Blacks, the Whites preferred drier wines to sweet ones. The officer class (and their wives) was often interested in the more expensive wines; usually being more knowledgeable about them than the others, they knew they were getting a good deal compared to what they would pay in the States, so they often bought them by the case.

 

The lower-ranking enlisted Whites also fulfilled their stereotypes pretty well. Marlboro Reds, Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam whiskies, and Fuzzy Navels were the most popular smokes and drinks with them by far, but they weren’t slouches consuming others, like vodka and ouzo. Once in a while, some White dude would complain that we didn’t have a certain German beer from some obscure small-town brewery. One of the more persistent White whiners was successful in us getting a shipment of the original Czech and ridiculously overpriced Budweiser. That’s another thing I noticed; Blacks verbally abused employees and shoplifted more than all others combined. The Whites tended to be whinier, and went straight to the boss to squeal on you if you displeased them somehow, especially the wives of officers.

 

So, it would appear that the sales and marketing people know what they’re doing. It is glaringly obvious that different groups of people tend to have an affinity for or abhor certain things for whatever reason, yet I’m sure there are many out there who would call me a racist for writing this. Those same people often conflate totally objective, disinterested, and dispassionate observations with some kind of “ism”. I’m going to have to study the whole marketing world a little closer.

Comments

Ryan Messano Added Dec 2, 2018 - 10:20pm
This post is very racist:).  Colin Flaherty writes similarly.
 
His books, ‘white girl bleed a lot’, and ‘Don’t make the black kids angry’, are quite amazing.  That said, I have many conservative black friends who do t fit these stereotypes.  Thing is, black conservatives make up about 15% of the black population, so it’s hard to notice them.  Thomas Sowell, Jesse Lee Peterson, Walter Williams, Larry Elder, Mychal Massie, And Star Parker are a few of the prominent ones.  Our liberal friends have likely never heard of them before, as their liberal media likes it.  Can’t let the liberal plantation slaves learn real knowledge, they might get uppity.  In 1861, Democrat slaves weren’t allowed to read.  Today, Democrat mental slaves are encouraged to go to their hellivision, Hollyweird, and Google, and discouraged from reading still.
Thomas Sutrina Added Dec 2, 2018 - 11:13pm
I have attached to the bottom some maps of linguistic regions of America.  These are broad regions but actually like the movie 'My Fair Lady' you can actually pick people out by much much smaller regions of a city or a state.  If language and pronunciation changes you can expect every aspect of society is tweaked.  And religion, sex, sports, education, family background into the picture and the shopping variations you saw are totally expected.  
 
The variation didn't change the fact that they all worked as a team in the Army.  When purchasing patterns do not show is the even greater things they have in common.  That far out way the differences.  
 
To gain control politicians point out the differences.  Europe broke up the Ottoman Empire to take advantage that it like every empire is made up of differences.   Ottoman citizens had religion as the major common agreed point,  the large picture religion not the fine detail religion.  What we are seeing is the differences in religion that the Europeans took advantage of still causing division.
 
So open borders of immigrants displaying the national flags of their home nation is addend larger differences and thus more chaos.  Weakening the similar beliefs.  It is as always a political advantage initially.
 
But once a political power is obtained then they have to deal with the chaos created.  Socialist have chosen extermination as an acceptable means of control and imprisonment or the threat as lesser methods.   Those will follow as sure as the sun rises.
 
https://www.businessinsider.com/22-maps-that-show-the-deepest-linguistic-conflicts-in-america-2013-6
 
http://robertspage.com/dialects.html
 
http://www.atlas.mouton-content.com/AtlasofNorthAmericanEnglish_WdG-PartA.pdf
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 3, 2018 - 9:39am
I've been hearing a lot about this "Fright Chicken" .....supposed to be pretty good. I'll have to try some.
@ Ryan - I could never make a distinction between political affiliations and purchases, lol. The military as an institution is overwhelmingly conservative, so there's that, lol.
@ Thomas S. - I think a lot of what I saw could be attributed to regional tastes; much of the military is still well-represented by Southerners of all varieties.
@ TBH - Fright Chicken? With massacred potatoes and gore gravy? Or is that something that Kim Jong Un eats on the ground, as opposed to an in-fright meal?
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 3, 2018 - 10:29am
Michael, great article I enjoyed your observations very much. I think it all boils down to pack mentality, whereby the members tend to mimic the behaviors of the people they hang out with. The Clash sums it up well.. "now I am lost in the supermarket, can no longer shop happily, came in for the special offer, GUARANTEED PERSONALITY!" 
@ Stephen H. - Thanks Stephen, I guess you could call it a "pack mentality", as many of them roamed around in packs, lol. After about a year at that place, I got a job at another facility that specialized in sporting goods, and I saw similar things. We could never have enough Raiders attire and Air Jordan shoes for the African-American crowd. Many of them took shameless advantage of the "100% Satisfaction Guaranteed Policy": They would buy shoes, wear them for a couple of days, and then turn them in, saying this or that was wrong with them, only to have a brand-new pair for another couple of days, then the whole process was repeated. I lowered the boom on one particularly egregious offender, and that's when the accusations of racism began in earnest.
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 3, 2018 - 11:00am
The best way for any person to disprove or overcome a stereotype is to consistently behave in a manner which contradicts the stereotype. It's not a stereotype to say something that is true 
@ TBH - Very true. That's the bedrock of PCness; saying something IS what it fucking ISN'T, and saying that something ISN'T what it fucking IS.
 
Funny, one time years ago I stopped at a cigarette store owned and operated, not surprisingly, by Arabs of some sort (I found out later they were Syrian Christians). There were three of them, whom I'll call Abu-Moe, Abu-Larry, and Abu-Shemp. They were all very courteous and polite to me, when all of the sudden, Abu-Moe's eyes suddenly bugged out, and he said something in Arabic to the other two, who immediately went left and right. I turned around to see a couple of hood rat-looking Black chicks, who clearly didn't like the sudden attention from the Abu Stooges. "You steal from me, you get out, NOW! Take your friend with you! Out! Out! Out!" That wasn't profiling to me; he clearly was reserving his rights to refuse service to someone that he obviously felt stole from him. Imagine if he was White.
FacePalm Added Dec 3, 2018 - 3:36pm
Michael B-
Good on you for calling a spade a spade, and exposing the truth that stereotypes are accurate more often than not, albeit in the microcosm of the military family.
 
In order to beat a stereotype, one first must learn what stereotypical behavior identifies you as being a part of it, then consciously make other choices.  For most, from my observation, this is simply too much work, and/or it requires some thought, which is also too much work.
 
It is an unfortunate part of the "retail experience" that one must endure the slings and arrows of those who want something for nothing, and squeel like the pigs they are when confronted with obviously bad behavior, which they then attempt to excuse by labeling you as "misogynist" or "racist" or "xenophobic" or the newest epithet-du-jour...and what's worse, their completely meritless and slanderous accusations are taken seriously enough by upper management that they'll penalize YOU for THEIR lies!
 
i generally despise the TIA camera network, but when it comes to proving who is telling the truth, they sure do come in handy.
 
Have you ever been sued?  Sued anyone?  Countersued after being sued?  None of my business, of course, just curious as to whether or not you've had that particular displeasure added to your resume, your CV, your life-lessons.
@ FP - "It is an unfortunate part of the "retail experience" that one must endure the slings and arrows of those who want something for nothing, and squeel like the pigs they are when confronted with obviously bad behavior, which they then attempt to excuse by labeling you as "misogynist" or "racist" or "xenophobic" or the newest epithet-du-jour...and what's worse, their completely meritless and slanderous accusations are taken seriously enough by upper management that they'll penalize YOU for THEIR lies!"
 
LOL. That sums it all up. It has carried over into the workplace on numerous occasions as well. I had a co-worker several years ago who was a black lesbian who played every fucking card in the deck, but even that didn't hide the fact that she was, and still is, a worthless piece of shit. They eventually grew some balls and canned her fucking ass, but the last I heard, she was taking them to court for whatever reason.
Ryan Messano Added Dec 3, 2018 - 10:24pm
LOL, Michael.   Among the black conservatives, there is Mychal Massie, who just wrote about what a disease white liberals are.  Beautifully done, and it incriminates the horde of liberal whites WB is infected with.  Michka, Stone, Fmontyr, Bill H., Flying J, Badlose, and the rest of the gang, who are nearly guaranteed to speak nonsense with everything  they say. 
@ Ryan - I honestly have no idea how to respond to that, lol.
Riley Brown Added Dec 4, 2018 - 10:16am
I'm sad to hear the police you mentioned might lose their job for creating a piece of field art, I'm sure they didn't do it to be mean.  If most rap music is an acceptable expression of artistic talent, surely their field art was no worse.  I'd like to hear the same folks who are condemning those officers explain why they don't similarly condemn most rap music artists...  Oh but rap is Black and it's not PC to criticize them.
 
You liquor observations are easy to apply to food as well, as most ethnic food stores prove and they are never accused of being racist for catering to the tastes of  their ethnic patrons.  I don't see a difference.  It's no more raciest for your store to offer Black patrons cheap sweet wine in screw top bottles than for stores that cater to Hispanics to offer them chicken feet and intestines.
 
I'm sure your store's bottom line, and strategy for ordering was an attempt to entice the patrons that they expect to see with selections s that appealed to them, not to inflict racist stereotypes on them.  If they want Ripple, you're not going to sell much Don Perignon.
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 4, 2018 - 11:11am
Hmm.....Dorothy Parker comes to mind again for some reason.....
@ Riley - Yes, the store shamelessly catered to its customers, but resisted things like selling Olde English 800 and porn rentals for various reasons, lol. Various malt liquor producers are routinely raked over the coals for "marketing their products to blacks and other minorities". OK, are they forced to buy this stuff? From what I've seen, it is consumed with much enthusiasm.
@ TBH - I'm pretty sure which DP quote you had in mind, too, dickhead, lol. My favorite one is "I'm too fucking busy, and vice-versa". She was pretty fuckin' funny.
Riley Brown Added Dec 4, 2018 - 3:03pm
Oh yes, when the liquor companies found out Blacks were mixing their wine with lemonade they created a mix just for them, and it sold like gold. 
 
This reminds me of one of the biggest complaints in Black communities, the only stores there are liquor stores, they are food deserts especially for healthy food.  That's true and it's because residents that live in those neighborhoods tend to steel, rob and burn those stores, so it's just not profitable. 
 
Small and very overpriced liquor stores are the only ones that can survive because they are usually family owned and operated. 
 
Residents hate the Asians who tend to dominate that market around here because they won't hire locals, charge high prices and are always following them around as thought they are all thieves.  Sadly it's true, but all justified.  They hire family because they can work them long hours, with little pay and they never sue.  Their prices are high because robberies and theft drive the prices up, and if they don't watch everyone closely the thefts would drive the prices even higher. 
@ Riley - Residents hate the Asians [and others, like Indians and Arabs] who tend to dominate that market around here because they won't hire locals, charge high prices and are always following them around as thought they are all thieves.  Sadly it's true, but all justified.  They hire family because they can work them long hours, with little pay and they never sue.  Their prices are high because robberies and theft drive the prices up, and if they don't watch everyone closely the thefts would drive the prices even higher. 
 
Very well summed up. I'll add that banks usually LOVE them, as they usually are very good about repayments of loans. Many of these people also aren't put off doing business in bad neighborhoods, because they are still relatively peaceful compared to the corrupt and fucked-up hell-holes and war zones they came from.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 5, 2018 - 4:18am
Nice post, Michael. I reckon if individuality was highly prized, we wouldn't get quite so many people joining herds. As such, what one may call "racial profiling" or "racist stereotype", another will consider as truth based upon observations of a suitably large sample. Besides, there's a reason why cliches and stereotypes exist, and that is because they are all too often true. In South Africa, most Coloureds (mix of white, Asian and blacks) smoke red Rothmans cigarettes, a lot of them extract their top two front teeth and wear baseball caps with the rear strap tightened so that it sits perched up high on their heads. If you see a car that's been highly jazzed up, the sound system is worth more than the car, it has heavily tinted windows, profile tires and dropped suspension, chances are 9 out of 10 times the driver is Coloured. If it's a black luxury car (Mercedes and BMW) with heavily tinted windows, 9 out of 10 times it's driven by a black man or woman. Jack Daniel's and Johnnie Walker Black Label are also largely bought by black people- not because they're such great whiskies, but because they have black labels- I kid you not! Go to KFC or Chicken Licken and over 90% of the customers will be black. Watermelons? Unlike the US, mostly bought by whites... KWV 10 year-old brandy also has a black label, but is mostly bought by whites, or at least I've never seen a black or Coloured person buy it. I buy it from time to time because it's a great brandy (not very cheap for us) and have even induced two of my friends to get into it. The problems is, the damned KWV distillery burned down a couple of weeks ago and already stores are beginning to run out of 3 and 10 year-old, really cramping my style, if I may be so facetious...
@ Mircea - LOOOL! I see nothing is really different else where in the world! Sorry to hear about your favorite distillery! I must be part black somewhere, because fried chicken and watermelon are among my favorite foods, lol. You mention Asians, which brings Filipinos to mind, or to use the more common term for them..."flips". Flips are heavily into conspicuous consumption in ways I find hilarious. I'm reminded of a line from the 1982 movie 48 hours:
 
Jack: Class isn't something you buy. Look at you, you've got on a 500-dollar suit and you're still a low-life.
 
Reggie: Yeah, but I look good.
Riley Brown Added Dec 6, 2018 - 10:39am
Class is like love, sure you can't buy love, but as one old friend once told me, a $900 prostitute in a $600 room just don't feel that bad!
FacePalm Added Dec 6, 2018 - 2:35pm
Riley-
Not at first; then the dripping and burning start...
@ Riley - $900...$600...9....6...6...9. 69! lol
@ FacePalm - You reminded me of this Cheech and Chong classic; when I heard it, the first thing I thought was why Frank Zappa never collaborated with those two, lol:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KNQFGU1qj0
Riley Brown Added Dec 7, 2018 - 11:30am
FacePalm, is the dripping and burning the Love?
 
I always thought it was the itching and burning.
 
Honestly with all the free lovin that's out there I can't imagine why someone who doesn't have two heads would ever need to pay.
John Minehan Added Dec 9, 2018 - 11:01pm
Was that part of the (former) Giessen Main PX?
 
I didn't get up there that much.  I usually went to Frankfort because it was an easy train trip from Friedberg.
 
I was an odd guy with regards to rationed items.  I didn't smoke (not uncommon with Officers) but I also didn't drink coffee or tea (which was rare).
 
When I was drinking, I bought it on the economy, in part because it was harder to see how much I was drinking.  Needless to say, there came a time when I stopped drinking (rather permanently).  A line from a Johnny Depp movie comes to mind, my drinking "was on the high side of social."
 
My last couple of years, I never even drew a ration card.  
John Minehan Added Dec 9, 2018 - 11:04pm
Greek and Balkan food was big in the Friedberg/Bad Nauheim area.  You would get a shot of ouzo with dinner and I often drank everyone's and was no worse for wear. 
 
That was probably a good sign that I had a problem. 
@ John M. - For the first year, I worked at the Shoppette, which was behind the main PX. Then I transferred to the Sport Store, which was several blocks away. That little open compound also had a movie theater and a pizza place which wasn't bad. I left for good at the end of Feb, 1994. Had I stayed, I probably would have got a job with UPS like some others did (UPS was a good source of jobs for ex-GI expatriates who hooked up with German women. I left at a good time, as all of that was starting to unravel.
@ John M. again - Yes, I remember that officers were practically banned from smoking. I had a few bum cigarettes off me here and there; it was almost like they were smoking dope. I don't recall the officer class being slouches in the consumption of potent potables either, lol.
John Minehan Added Dec 11, 2018 - 5:04pm
"Lotterman: How much do you drink?
Paul Kemp: I suppose at the upper end of social."
 
The Rum Diaries (2011).
John Minehan Added Dec 11, 2018 - 5:06pm
"Paul Kemp: I tend to avoid alcohol.
[pause]
Paul Kemp: [takes a bottle of alcohol] When I can."  Id.
John Minehan Added Dec 11, 2018 - 5:11pm
"Had I stayed, I probably would have got a job with UPS like some others did (UPS was a good source of jobs for ex-GI expatriates who hooked up with German women. I left at a good time, as all of that was starting to unravel."
 
One of my NCOs in HHB married a German gal and left the Army.  They started a Guest House that got a lot of GI Business. 
 
The funny thing, the last I heard of him was that he had become a lieutenant in the German Territorial Army.