Thursday, March 08, 2007

Fuel/Cast busters: Oregon and TV-B-Gone?

Yesterday's post about the spread of public screen advertising to gas stations needs an update.

Steve Brannon, an internet buddy, fellow typewriter collector and occasional Red Electric reader, writes from Richmond, Virginia, to alert me to a handy, miniature TV remote, TV-B-Gone. It has one function: OFF.

And it works the airport, in the bar, at the gas station, in the men's room (yes, there are now screens over urinals).

I'd heard of this TV-B-Gone gizmo before, but the web site, and particularly the testimonials, are great. Here's mine: A TV-B-Gone is exactly what you need to blacken screens and take back your life. Emerson and, in particular, Thoreau would have loved this device. It's like Walden Pond in your pocket.

If that's a stretch, it does have a whiff of civil disobedience about it. I'm ordering one to "de-screen" the local mall as well as the video-plagued check-out line at our local Albertson's.

Look for my "road test" in a future post.

The other thought related to yesterday's post is that Oregon really is different. We had a slogan that said precisely that a few years back. It seemed dumb at the time, but now I'm beginning to wonder....

We are one of two or three states that require gas to be pumped by attendants. That means we never need to soil our rain-softened hands, or despoil our organic minds by watching ads on gasoline pumps.

When I wrote from here (Hillsdale to be exact) yesterday I imagined that the Fuel/Cast (Get it? Fuel pump + broadcast = Fuel/Cast) screen installers would put video panels right next to the driver's window. No, they wanted to break the agonizing boredom of customers forced to pump gas in all those un-different states.

So we Oregonians may been spared—at least for now. The big question is whether we are different enough. And if not, do we dare utter weirdness?

I'd bet on it.

Finally, one of the great things about the web is that you can see how industries like public screen advertising make their pitch to customers, in this case, gas station owners trying to squeeze an extra buck out of you and me by luring us inside their over-priced convenience stores.

So take a look at Fuel/Cast to see exactly what they are thinking about screen-addicted, purchase-prone you.

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