Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekday Commercials

  My wife Kathy went to visit her father in South Carolina on Thursday for a couple of days. I arranged to work from home on Thursday so Daisy and Baxter wouldn’t be alone all day. I would have tried to work at home Friday as well, but on Friday mornings I coach the chess club at St. Francis in Des Moines. If I had missed even one meeting in the two plus years I’ve been helping with the club, I may have been tempted to skip the club. Ben was going to be home from school at 11 and that, along with my perfect attendance, made working at work on Friday a no-brainer.

  I’ve never liked working from home. I’d rather be at work when I’m working and be at home when I’m at home. Having said that, I save four gallons of gas and two hours of driving time every time I do work from home which are weighty advantages.

  I started work at seven in the morning. Daisy and Baxter were sleeping but I woke them up at nine when I took a break to take them for a short walk in the cold rain. I toweled them off and was back at work at 9:15. At noon it had stopped raining so I took Daisy and Baxter on a longer walk. When we got home, I cooked one of the pork chops Kathy had left for us and shared it with Daisy and Baxter while I watched the news on WGN-TV.

  Filled with pork chop tidbits, the dogs went back to sleep and I went back to work. I left the TV to listen to the news. After the news was over, WGN played reruns of ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’. I’ve seen the show before. If you are one of the people that believe Chuck Norris is some sort of superhuman semi-deity (like the people who patronize this web site) then Walker, Texas Ranger’ may be the best TV show ever made, but to me it’s a typical good guy – bad guy show, with the good guys riding horses and pickup trucks and using karate kicks to beat up the bad guys at the end. I wasn’t watching the show, but had it on as background noise.

  I didn’t pay too much attention to the three episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger. I was sure that the bad guys were all caught in the end and got a taste of Chuck Norris’s boot smacking into their faces and then falling down in slow motion. What did get my attention were the same 4 commercials that aired during the shows. The commercials were so different from the ones I see when I’m at home at night and on the weekends. They weren’t for beer, cars, insurance, food, or shampoo. These commercials were addressed to the products and services that people who don’t work during the day need.

  It would make sense to me that older Americans would be watching TV during the day and that accounted for the large number of ads for AARP supplemental health insurance. I didn’t realize that Medicare doesn’t pay for everything and that older Americans need to have protection for costly deductibles and out of pocket costs. I looked up the rates for some of these plans and they seem affordable enough. I’m old enough to join AARP but not old enough for Medicare, but it’s something to keep in mind.

  The next commercial that caught my attention was also aimed at older Americans, but for those with limited mobility. These ads are for The Scooter Store. I rarely see scooters in Marshalltown, but the portion of the Des Moines Skywalk where I work is right next to a senior center and there are old people zipping around in their scooters all the time. The commercials talks about how I could get a power chair or scooter at little or no cost to me. The people on the commercial are so happy with their newfound mobility I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. I checked out the website most of the power chairs are priced between three and six thousand dollars with some used models going for less than two grand. I’m not old enough to get Medicare for my power chair, but I believe in being prepared. When the time comes I intend on getting a ‘Pride Mobility Jazzy Select Elite’, which at a low price of $3,699 provides a 15 mile range and a ‘reliable blend of power, performance and style’.

Left: A commercial from the Scooter Store. Right: I tried to find out who paid for these scooters, but the one man was going too fast and the other fellow wasn't talking...

  The next commercial was from a company named Binder and Binder. This company specializes in helping disabled people get disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. I always knew that it took years to get disability, but I didn’t realize that 80% of the initial applications are denied and review hearings take almost two years to complete (See it here). The website has all the Binder & Binder commercials and an enormous amount of information, but I couldn’t find out who pays Binder & Binder. I’m not planning on being disabled anytime soon, but I’m bookmarking the site just in case I become disabled and my television stops working.

  The fourth commercial didn't apply to me at all. It was a commercial from the Goldwater Law Firm that was on almost as much as the other three combined. The commercial is looking for women who are suffering complications from a transvaginal mesh implant to be represented in a defective medical device liability lawsuit. “The product liability lawyers at the Goldwater Law Firm can help you get the money you deserve.” Normally I would have tuned out this commercial, but I remember when I was on vacation last year, I saw a lot of commercials from the same law firm looking for people who were suffering from a rare form of lung cancer called Mesothelioma. I’m not suffering from any conditions at the moment, but I’ll make sure to keep their link handy just in case.

  With unemployment so high, I would have expected to see more commercials for technical institutes and colleges to cater to unemployed people, but the only commercials I saw catered to the old, disabled, or injured. I checked back with WGN on Saturday and didn’t see any commercials offering to handle my lawsuits, get my scooter, or supplement my Medicaid. Instead I saw commercials for fast food, car insurance, and yogurt with active cultures.

  I was glad to have had the chance to get such useful information on my rare weekday at home, but I wonder what happened to all the commercials aimed at the old, disabled, and injured people? Do they stop watching WGN on the weekends? This is a case of blatant discrimination and when I'm a member of one of these groups, I’ll be searching the Goldwater Law Firm’s web site to see if there’s a lawsuit for me as soon as I got done calling Binder and Binder to add emotional distress to my disability claim.