I’ve stopped saying—or even thinking— “Just when you think it can’t get any worse/dumber/more bizarre/fill-in-the-blank.” Because it always does. We are hell-bent on making it so. Or perhaps just Hell-bent. Case in point: students at the University of California-Santa Barbara were recently offered custom Valentine’s Day packages developed by fellow students in a “Principles of Marketing” class, according to The Daily Nexus. The “Valentine’s Day Grams” included chocolates, condoms and assorted sex toys. The students behind the project decided to donate part of the proceeds from the VD-Grams to Planned Parenthood California Central Coast (PPCCC).
The marketing students had been instructed to create a “pop-up shop,” and elected to build it on a Valentine’s Day theme. For just $3.95, students could get a package containing “chocolate and gummy candies, a heart-shaped candle, eggplant and peach emoji stickers and a hand-written tag.” I honestly had to look up what eggplant and peach emojis symbolize. A penis and butt respectively, apparently. I don’t want to know what the hand-written tags said.
For a mere $6 upcharge, the young scholars could get a deluxe package consisting of “a sex toy of their choice, ranging from dildos, vibrators, handcuffs or ‘ .’” How could they make a profit? The budding marketing mavens offered the sex toys in part “to spare interested students the shame of walking into a brick-and-mortar sex shop.” What about the shame of walking into a clinic to abort your baby? Or the shame of having the money you used to purchase a sex toy going to promote abortion? I guess shame is in the eye of the beholder.
The Daily Nexus reported students in the class considered their campaign a success, and not just because of the number of VD-Grams sold. As one put it: “It’s another way you can feel good about buying a product for a good cause. We’re trying to demystify and capitalize on the [sex toy] market, trying to add to it to make it [as] least stigmatized as possible.” What is the good cause, catering to the kid’s kinkiness or helping to exterminate babies? What’s that, it’s a twofer? Yay!
A better name for the class would have been “Unprincipled Marketing.” The students used their “pop-up shop” to aid a (human) chop-shop. I can see them holding up their heart-shaped candles as they stand in front of a Planned Parenthood banner. If someone could “demystify” the love of aborting one’s own baby for personal convenience for me, I’d be much obliged.
It is a chilling fact that most college-age kids have an unfavorable opinion of capitalism. It is even scarier to see that when they get a chance to utilize market principles, some opt to traffic in sex toys and death. And “feel good” about such a “good cause.”