Younger, thinner and whiter money

If I had a business – which I don’t – I would prefer to earn less money, as long as I could be sure that my income came primarily from young people, thin people and, … actually, I daren’t say anything about skin colour here.

Because I don’t mean what I just said. I’d be daft if I’d rather sell fewer products by limiting who I sold to. We are advertised at all the time. On television, in the cinema, on the sides of buses. And in case I’d missed something, people phone me up to try and relieve me of my money. So I’d say businesses are often in business to make money.

Except those who don’t seem to be, and I’m not thinking of ‘exclusive’ designer stuff which designers occasionally prefer only certain types of customers to buy.

I’m thinking cinemas and film makers. Isn’t it absolutely amazingly strange and weird and downright abnormal that older people want to watch films? They even want to do so in cinemas! It’s so odd and unthinkable, that when films for the 40+ age group are on offer they are generally predicted not to do well.

I just don’t get it. If Mamma Mia! and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are popular with the ‘wrong’ kind of customer, why not make more films like them? Why keep the oldies in their homes and pass up on those extra millions (trillions?) of pounds and dollars?

Cinemas. Don’t get me started. Our local one has almost stopped frisking customers who just might have something edible on them, not bought at the cinema. Setting aside the perfectly natural wish to avoid spending the kind of money on popcorn that the cinema charges, and assuming I’d be happy to pay £5 for a snack; why would I? When they only offer rubbish that might appeal to younger audiences, but not to me. Reasonable tea (or coffee, for the coffee drinkers) plus something nice to have with it. Scone. Croissant. Cake. Not rubbery sweets or Pringles.

Take clothes. Except it can be hard, when they don’t stock, or even make, them in your (larger) size. I have lost count of the perfectly nice and normal and attractive garments I haven’t bought. You go into shops; normal high street ones, and come out empty-handed. Or perhaps clutching a bag containing whatever inferior thing they had in your size, and you bought it because you had to have something. Not through greed, but because you needed to cover that unattractive body of yours.

Or take catalogues. 100 pages of women’s wear. ‘Normal’ sizes. And five pages of their branded ‘enormous’ collection. Uglier than the rest, as well as offering hardly any choice.

Wouldn’t that clothes company have wanted my money, too? Rather than doing their stern parental stuff and punishing me? Do they not realise that when I walk out of the shop or close the catalogue without ordering anything, that I have become a non-customer?

It seems something similar happened 80 or 90 years ago when American record companies suddenly discovered that black people bought their records when the music they offered was something they liked. The difference appears to be that they actually went on to make more records for this new audience. They just hadn’t realised before that black people also listen to music and might have the money to buy records.

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