SAN DIEGO, Calif. — This time I was about to get on my plane at San Diego International Airport when I went to the newsstand to buy a copy of the Los Angeles Times. As the clerk rang it up she asked me in a robot-like type tone:
"Do you want a sweatshirt with that?"
"No," I told her.
"How about a book?"
"I don't need them."
"That's what you think. How about a San Diego Zoo toy that shows a baboon dancing to Lady Gaga?"
"No! I want to buy what I decided to buy and that's it! I wrote a column about this in the spring. Didn't you read it?"
A week later I visited La Jolla Cove and asked a lifeguard the water temperature.
"Seventy degrees," he said.
"Do you want a report on surf visibility for snorkeling?"
"Want to know when the tide comes in?"
"Want to know about the latest sightings of dreaded jelly fish, sharks and pot bellied tourists from the Bronx?"
"Want to know locations in Pacific Beach where there will be totally awesome parties tonight?"
"No. Wait: YES!!"
I went to my doctor to get my blood pressure checked.
"It looks fine," he told me.
"Do you want your ugly nose hairs removed?"
"Do you want your ugly face removed? They now do face transplants ..."
It's time to raise the issue again: it's called suggestive selling and each month it gets worse.
I bumped into Rush Limbaugh while at the Salvation Army picking out a wedding present for a friend. Rush was looking for used cigars.
"I've got talent on loan from God," Limbaugh said.
"So I've heard," I replied.
"Want to hear me praise Paul Shanklin's 'Barack the Magic Negro' again and provoke Media Matters and turn Chris Matthews red in the face?"
"Want me to expand on my comment that in his heart of hearts Obama really wanted the United States' credit rating to be downgraded for his birthday and show you how controversies I manufacture generate ratings-boosting stories in the new and old media?"
"Want to hear me talk about how the poor leech off government money and don't really need welfare before I hop in my private jet and fly to Miami for ropa vieja for dinner and to Georgia for peach pie for desert?"
"Want to hear me explain how Democrats and liberals are orchestrating the decline of America?"
"You already said that about Obama."
"But this will be a spin off."
I drove to the city dump where Keith Olbermann was writing his show and trying to recruit less expensive staff members. His show on Current is on a tighter budget than his old MSNBC one.
"Want to watch my new show?" Olbermann asked me.
"I've seen it."
"Want to watch it again?"
"Want to watch me for an hour only interview people who think exactly as I do?"
"Want to hear me take another gratuitous swipe at MSNBC?"
I tried to move away.
"Want to see me get indignant for the zillionth time?"
"Want me to do a Special Comment?"
"Want me to do a Special Comment about you not wanting to hear my Special Comment?"
You can't escape suggestive selling and those who do it are utterly oblivious to their own obnoxiousness.
P.S. Want me to come over and make you my real Jewish chicken soup when you get sick? (I heard a YES on that one.)
Want today's column to finally end?
Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist, who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. He can be reached at email@example.com. This column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.