I have spent most of the past three months sat on the sofa watching TV, reading and surfing the web while looking after my baby. It's one of the perks of being on maternity leave. I had British TV installed last year, and am still enjoying the novelty of being able to watch both British and French daytime TV at their best and worst.
And it is the adverts on British television which have provoked this rant. Payday loans. I'm not sure they existed when I lived in the UK, so I had to read up on them. Basically they are a short term loan with a ridiculously high interest rate. I am not sure that companies, ethically speaking, should be allowed to provide such a 'service' let alone advertise it, non stop. Bad debt is the main cause of the recession; lending too much money to people who can't afford to pay it back is pretty much why most of us have found life a little tougher the last few years.
These adverts are not aimed at people with no money worries, they are aimed at people who don't have money, and who are desperate. They are encouraging people to get themselves more into debt, and at an interest rate which would make some mob bosses flinch. It's quite frightening.
Every other advert that isn't encouraging you to borrow more than you can afford, or about the neverending sofa sales (you know I left the UK in 1998 and the sale was just about to end then too) is about online bingo and betting and casinos. I have nothing against responsible gambling, in fact I am lucky enough to be ale to afford to buy a lottery ticket regularly. But encouraging people to spend their days gambling is wrong. People are desperate. We are in the middle of a recession that even that genius George Osbourne doesn't seem to be able to get us out of. Is it really wise to allow gambling companies and short term loan providers be everywhere, all the time?
You can argue that people aren't influenced by ads, but we all know that isn't true. People are influenced by adverts. Otherwise there wouldn't be such a huge advertising industry. You can say that YOU aren't influenced by THOSE ads but that is probably because you are not the target victim, or customer as they would prefer us to call them.
So why are they allowed? Who is gaining from the incredible spread of these underhand ways of relieving the poor of their cash? Not me, not you, not the customers. Someone is becoming rich off the backs of the desperate (plus ça change...) but at the same time dragging desperate people further and further into poverty with no hope of getting out. Because let's face it: Most of us don't win when we gamble, and most of us would be stretched by rip off loans. And the gambling won't pay off the loans, however easy it looks from the TV adverts.