It is no secret that whenever we transact any business online, whether it be looking up a product, sending a text or email, or clicking on a link or news story, the information can, and will, be used against us in the form of targeted ads.
Although I don’t like this, I have resigned myself to the fact that it is a consequence of the way we live now.
Usually, I can trace the cause and effect of these transactions.
If I look up a backpack, for example, I’m not surprised if I am immediately inundated with ads for backpacks and other outdoor equipment.
When I click an ad for a vacuum cleaner, I expect a deluge of ads for vacuums and other household appliances.
I am, however, confused about what I might have clicked on to provoke the most recent stream of products that invaded my online space.
This week I was confronted with a parade of products from Walmart.com that don’t seem to have any connection to any search I might have done.
The first red flag was an ad for “Vegan Toona,” which the promoter described as “100 percent plant based, and oh, so delicious!”
I am not a vegan, nor do I have any interest in discovering what fake “toona” might be like.
The next exciting product in this week’s lineup was pre-packaged funeral potatoes.
I’ve been trying very hard to buy “real” food, as opposed to packaged products, and I definitely don’t want any food item with “funeral” in the title.
Then, there was a supply of “50-year, ultra-purified emergency water.”
Shortages of potable water are a reality in some cities these days, but they haven’t reached my neighborhood yet.
Also, I don’t need water that will last 50 years, because, let’s face it, I’m not going to last another 50 years, even if I avoid things like funeral potatoes.
The list included items other than food products, as well.
I haven’t figured out yet why I would need my own jerky slicer, but if I ever do need such a thing, I now know where I can get one.
I could also pick up some tins of “bison bacon burger soup,” with carrots and potatoes.
Things got stranger from there.
There was an offer for “straight from France, extra large Burgundy snails,” packed four dozen to a tin (14.1 oz.).
Also available was a three-pack of Everglades seasoning in the 4 oz. size. I’m not sure what menu items might benefit from Everglades seasoning, but I never have alligator or snake on my menu, so I think I’ll pass.
Another product that seemed odd to me was applewood smoked maple syrup. I suppose that could be OK, but I’ll never find out.
Perhaps the oddest food item in the list was a supply of “organic young jackfruit meatless alternative shredded and unseasoned.”
I had to look up what a jackfruit is. It may be an important food item in the tropics, but I don’t think I am going to order any.
The list of hard-to-resist items was rounded out by two non-food items.
One was a “LED simulated realistic burning fire flame effect flickering light bulb,” available in a twin pack. I’m still working out where I would install those.
The second item was a Victor smart kill electric mouse trap. I suppose the logic there is that if one had all these delicious groceries in one’s house, it might attract rodents.
It was an educational experience for me, reading about these exotic products, but I’m afraid it may have made my life more complicated. I had to click on some of the items to figure out what they were. I realized too late that by doing so, I may have unintentionally opened myself up for some even more bizarre marketing next week.