Synergy! Or, Late-Stage Capitalism Will Eat Itself

Having just spend an insane amount of money on a wedding, I was just looking at my checking account online to pore over the gory details. And I found that Bank of America has introduced a new thing, called (really) BankAmeriDeals.

In my goddamn check register, there are now promotional offerings attached to specific transactions. Oh, you used DoorDash in Cleveland to get some gyros? How about 10% off at Shari’s Cafe And Pies if you pay with your debit card? You bought something from Etsy? (Oh, boy, did we ever buy something from Etsy.) Visit the Personal Creations web site to order your personalized gift today!

“We specialize in fresh, regional, unique takes on classic food.” is just not something you expect to see when looking at your bank account. Yet.

In Philip K. Dick’s 1969 novel Galactic Pot-Healer (a brilliant and erratic novel, even for him), Joe Chip has two options every night. He can have advertisements in his dreams, or he can pay his bed for the ad-free experience. (Visionary though Dick was, “ad-free experience” is not the way he described it.) He tries to turn off ads by telling the bed he’s having sex, but the bed knows how much he weighs and tells him it knows he’s lying.

BoA is probably trying to compete with sites like Mint, which have been doing the same for years. It’s the service Internet model - provide a service, pay the bills by showing ads to the end user. I’ve been willing thus far to put up with Mint showing me useless ads for more credit cards and such, in exchange for a convenient one-stop-ledger for my various bank and credit card accounts.

I used to use Allscripts as a low-cost service for writing electronic drug prescriptions. I can’t remember, it was probably $30-$50 a month.

There were ads for drugs and other things in the webpages. Very annoying. I’m already paying you money. Why are you advertising to me?

Now we use another service, more costly but does everything. It’s about $500 a month. It also has ads, but at least it’s internal ads. Every time I mark a patient as “no show” or “cancel appointment”, for example, it will freaking pop up and tell me about another service I can pay an additional $300 a month to help patient attendance and whatever. URGHH. FUCK YOU and let me work. Stop upselling me.

Wedding are too expansive in the US. When ever I compare notes, I am always dumbfounded.

But yes, the goal is to keep you spending, even if it’s more than you can afford.

The only way to win is not to play the game.