There’s an interesting article on Yahoo of all places, about the ways in which people are susceptible to subtle advertising and product placement manipulation. The author of a new book “Brandwashed”, uses Whole Foods as an example of the myriad ways you fall under the spell of clever retail strategies. While reading about Whole Foods’ devious treachery, I couldn’t help but notice parallels between retail practices and game.
Let’s take for example Whole Foods, a market chain priding itself on selling the highest quality, freshest, and most environmentally sound produce. No one could argue that their selection of organic food and take-away meals are whole, hearty, and totally delicious. But how much thought have you given to how they’re actually presenting their wares? Have you considered the careful planning that goes into every detail that meets the eye?
Game Parallel: Tight game means the girl will never be consciously aware that she’s being gamed, nor will she ever become cognizant of the amount of effort you, as the man, put into your presentation. Instead, you want her to think it will all seem to “just happen” and “it was magic”. She doesn’t need to be concerned with the messy details of seduction; she only needs to feel those good feelings.
Let’s pay a visit to Whole Foods’ splendid Columbus Circle store in New York City. As you descend the escalator you enter the realm of a freshly cut flowers. These are what advertisers call “symbolics” — unconscious suggestions. In this case, letting us know that what’s before us is bursting with freshness.
Flowers, as everyone knows, are among the freshest, most perishable objects on earth. Which is why fresh flowers are placed right up front — to “prime” us to think of freshness the moment we enter the store. Consider the opposite — what if we entered the store and were greeted with stacks of canned tuna and plastic flowers? Having been primed at the outset, we continue to carry that association, albeit subconsciously, with us as we shop.
Game Parallel: Your first impression has to be good. You are presenting yourself as “fresh, bursting manhood”, not a plastic beta cut-out. Your “symbolics” are your style, your walk, your alpha posture, your body language, your vocal tone and cadence, and any shiny accoutrements you wear to attract the child-like attention of the woman. Having primed a woman at the outset, she will be more willing to hear the rest of your pitch.
The prices for the flowers, as for all the fresh fruits and vegetables, are scrawled in chalk on fragments of black slate — a tradition of outdoor European marketplaces. It’s as if the farmer pulled up in front of Whole Foods just this morning, unloaded his produce, then hopped back in his flatbed truck to drive back upstate to his country farm. The dashed-off scrawl also suggests the price changes daily, just as it might at a roadside farm stand or local market. But in fact, most of the produce was flown in days ago, its price set at the Whole Foods corporate headquarters in Texas. Not only do the prices stay fixed, but what might look like chalk on the board is actually indelible; the signs have been mass-produced in a factory.
Game Parallel: Scripted routines and stories that demonstrate high value. The DHV story is your chalkboard price. She thinks you just rolled up with your high value fresh eggplant and kiwis falling off the truck; little does she know your story is rehearsed and was practiced on multitudes of women before her.
Ever notice that there’s ice everywhere in this store? Why? Does hummus really need to be kept so cold? What about cucumber-and-yogurt dip? No and no. This ice is another symbolic. Similarly, for years now supermarkets have been sprinkling select vegetables with regular drops of water — a trend that began in Denmark. Why? Like ice displays, those sprinkled drops serve as a symbolic, albeit a bogus one, of freshness and purity. Ironically, that same dewy mist makes the vegetables rot more quickly than they would otherwise. So much for perception versus reality.
Game Parallel: Rings, tight t-shirts, bracelets and props. The usual titillating tools of the trade. Also, negs. Negs are the crushed ice of conversation; a helpful reminder that the produce (you) that she’s checking out lays atop a cooling foundation of freshness-preserving amused mastery.
Speaking of fruit, you may think a banana is just a banana, but it’s not. Dole and other banana growers have turned the creation of a banana into a science, in part to manipulate perceptions of freshness. In fact, they’ve issued a banana guide to greengrocers, illustrating the various color stages a banana can attain during its life cycle. Each color represents the sales potential for the banana in question. For example, sales records show that bananas with Pantone color 13-0858 (otherwise known as Vibrant Yellow) are less likely to sell than bananas with Pantone color 12-0752 (also called Buttercup), which is one grade warmer, visually, and seems to imply a riper, fresher fruit.
Game Parallel: Preselection. Chicks dig the buttercup cock. You are convincing her your cock is the perfect Pantone color, at peak ripeness. Quickest way to do this is to be seen with other women, or insinuate that you get plenty of attention from other women.
And as for apples? Believe it or not, my research found that while it may look fresh, the average apple you see in the supermarket is actually 14 months old.
Game Parallel: Non-neediness. You mouthstuffed 14 girls on the walk through the parking lot to the club using the same schtick on them that you are now using on her. But she thinks she just plucked you and she’s the center of your universe.
Then there’s those cardboard boxes with anywhere from eight to ten fresh cantaloupes packed inside each one. These boxes could have been unpacked easily by any one of Whole Foods’ employees, but they’re left that way on purpose. Why? For that rustic, aw-shucks touch. In other words, it’s a symbolic to reinforce the idea of old-time simplicity.
Game Parallel: Strategic vulnerability. Temper your cockiness with brief flashes of empathy. It makes you seem more attainable.
But wait, something about these boxes looks off. Upon close inspection, this stack of crates looks like one giant cardboard box. It can’t be, can it? It is. In fact, it’s one humongous cardboard box with fissures cut carefully down the side that faces consumers (most likely by some industrial machinery at a factory in China) to make it appear as though this one giant cardboard box is made up of multiple stacked boxes. It’s ingenious in its ability to evoke the image of Grapes of Wrath-era laborers piling box after box of fresh fruit into the store.
Game Parallel: Beta provider game. If you’re good, you can plausibly promise marriage and white picket fences for years before she catches on that you’re just one giant box of erect penis.
So the next time you happen to grab your wallet to go shopping, don’t be fooled: retailers for better or for worse, are the masters of seduction and priming — brandwashing us to believe in perception rather than reality.
Game Parallel: The alteration of perception to achieve the ultimate seduction. Game is certainly about altering a girl’s perception of you, but when you do it enough times, the perception becomes reality. It is a reality the girl herself has co-conspired to create.
Whole Foods is in the business of selling produce and expensive cheeses. Whole Game is the business of selling yourself. Why wouldn’t you use every sales technique at your disposal? If you don’t out of some misplaced moral compunction, you will soon be put out of business by the competition.