Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why I Hate Chris From Broadview Security...

And I don't even know the guy.

I'm referring to the commercials that have been popping up with greater frequency on the television these days. I don't have a beef with a private security company advertising their alarm systems and other services, I just have a problem in the way they sell them.

The commercial invariably begins like this:

Lone woman, or worse, with child, alone in the house. They're typically going about their routine, cleaning, working out, cooking, tending to their kids. Cut to scene of rough-looking hooligan, lurking outside the house, peering between the branches of the shrubbery, through the window, watching, watching, watching...

Then, the window or door is broken violently, and the Stalker has invaded the poor woman's personal space, ready to do all sorts of god-awful things to her...except that the alarm she set just before entering the shower has now been activated, warbling like a humpback with hemorrhoids, alerting everyone in the neighborhood to her plight. The woman is taken by surprise; she stands there is silent horror, or screaming, or trying to retreat in a panic.

And happens. The phone rings.

It's Chris from Broadview Security, calling to see if our burglar-alarm version of Penelope Pitstop is being raped, or beaten unconscious, or perhaps flayed alive. Maybe all three at once.

Despite the fear, state of panic, adrenaline and the instant realization that someone dangerous has just gotten thisclose to possibly robbing and killing her, our heroine reaches for the phone. Exactly what I would be doing at exactly that particular moment, yes indeed! And it's Chris (or Roger, or Egbert or Vincenzo, the exact name doesn't matter) from Broadview Security. He wants to know if our heroine is alright, as in presumably un-raped, un-robbed, and un-flayed. And of course, she is. The alarm went off and chased the dude off, you dummy!

I wonder what happens when a burglar is undeterred by the alarm, and still decides to do whatever nastiness he has in heart. Does Chris still call, get no answer, and only then dispatch emergency services?

Anyways, here are the issues I have with the general thrust of these commercials;

1) The Stranger Lurking in the Bushes is always white. You don't see a black guy, a Puerto Rican. No Crips, no Bloods. He almost always follows a certain archetype, with minor differences from commercial to commercial; he's bald, dressed in military surplus, needs a shave, and is always over 6' tall and built like a linebacker, and you know the guy who portrays him was probably modeling underwear or managing a hedge fund before he got this gig. Because, you know, all home invaders actually look that way. Without the costume and the setting, he's not all that scary, truthfully. If you're going to get someone to play a criminal, get someone who looks like a goddamned criminal, at least.

2) The "Woman Home Alone" scenario is played out. And why is it that these women, who presumably know they live in a dangerous world (after all, they did have a burglar alarm installed, and activated it just before the scene was set) insist on bathing/working out in front of huge picture windows covered by just enough shrubbery to provide concealment to a stalker, but which still allows someone to peer in and invade their privacy so easily?

3) How come no one has a dog? A good dog would start barking long before the window or door got bashed in. Oh, right, forgot; some people are allergic. Those of you with pet allergies are especially in danger; Great Big-Unshaven-Bald-ex-Portfolio-Manager-in-Military-Surplus-Fake-Criminal-Man roams the neighborhood looking for people just like you!

4) The attempt to frighten people, especially women, into springing for an alarm system is transparent. I've also noticed that these commercials run in cycles; in good economic times, you see fewer of them, and the subject matter is not so much criminals as it is your grandmother falling and breaking her hip and needing assistance. When the economy tanks, we're suddenly all going to be fodder for violent criminals without the protection provided by a siren monitored by a guy who will at least call if it goes off. Hey ladies; unlike all the other men in your life, Chris will actually call you! I mean, that's his job, but still...

I know, I'm nitpicking. I'm bored.

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