“Got” Is a Super Versatile Word

Or: English Is Weird and Also My Favorite Thing

Since I work in marketing, I have a tendency to avidly watch for interesting campaigns everywhere I go*. Magazine ads, billboards, commercials, graffiti…I’m always peeking at the ways commercialism is invading our lives.**
*This actually has nothing to do with the fact that I work in marketing, and everything to do with the fact that I have the attention span of a gnat.
**Hurray! Job security!

It’s everywhere, y’all.

So when I was driving around the Queen City (the QC if you’re hip, which clearly I am not, since I spell it out), it wasn’t really surprising that a billboard caught my eye.*** Specifically, THIS billboard:
***Distracted me into the horrifying realm of nightmarish possibilities.

This is a regrettable situation

Because having spiders is something people frequently ask others about.
Click for source and to rid your living space of spider infestations!


NO NO NO NO NO. Is that even a thing that can happen?!**** But that brings up the whole idea of context clues and English.
****Of course it is. And of course I Googled it to make sure. And of course I will never sleep again.

Take, for example, the Got Milk ads for comparison:

Everything is so...so...blue

Because who needs the sweet nourishment of Earth’s yellow sun when you can instead binge on milkshakes?!
Click for source.

Let’s break it down, here. “Got milk?” is asking if you’ve got something you may lack, something you desire.

“Hey, got milk?”
“Actually, no, but I DO have cookies and so now I really want some. Gimmie!”

But only because I've had cookies.

All things worth desiring are on fancy columns or pedestals. Is that not how your life works?

“Got spiders?” is asking you if you’ve somehow ended up in the exact situation frequently illustrated by my nightmares.

“Hey, got spiders?”


Science has taught me that if it can pop up in your most awful dreams, it’s probably also a real thing. So, flying spiders.

This applies to more things than actual ads. See if you can identify the positive usage and the negative usage!

“Got doubloons?”

I had to google how to spell doubloons, because words

Doubloon mountain is probably guarded by flying spiders.

“Got monsters?”

Grrrr. Arrrgh.

This is less scary than flying spiders.

I know, I know, this has been a very challenging quiz. But if you said the doubloon pile was the negative usage, you’re right! Because it’s guarded by flying spiders, which are more awful than monsters!

English. It’s all about the context.

I Don’t Know What that Costs

No, really, I don’t. I work in Marketing. Marketing tells people why they want things. We know why you need it, why you crave it, why your life simply is not complete without it.

But I don’t handle the pricing.

I have no idea what three hours of a developer’s time is worth. If you asked me, I’d say “Mountain Dew and a box of Reese’ Pieces.” But for all I know, it’s actually a 2-liter of coke and five Slim Jims. I don’t know what it costs The Company to dedicate a project manager to an assignment. I don’t even know what junk food they eat.*
*It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just that I work with them less.

I don't understand.

Is this not how people are quantified?

It’s a little bleak, but I like to think of Marketing as working a long con. It’s my job to get to know you.** It’s my job to find out what your needs are, so The Company can anticipate them. We’re here for the greater good***, to make sure you get find the right products and services that will make your life better.
**The royal “you.” The one that means everyone, and doesn’t mean I specifically spend my time stalking you. I definitely don’t do that. Because I’m not a weirdo. And I have no idea where you live. Why are you closing your blinds?
***Consumerist Evil.

It's possible I don't know how jobs work

“Women who wear boots and fluffy skirts like things that can be carried in bags.”
– Factual Marketing Observation

And get paid. I have college loan debt. I am really, really interested in getting paid.

But there is an inherent problem with working in the Marketing Industry. That problem is Sales. Sales does not care what you want, or what you need. Sales cares about what you think you want to buy. Sales cares how we can bend your needs to match The Company’s products. Sales really, really, really wants you to buy what we have to sell.****
****Ok, ok, I do too. But I really want to make sure you want it, too. I have to do research and stuff. That’s why it’s called “market research.” Duh.*****
*****This is not why it’s called “market research.”

And here at The Company, Marketing has almost nothing to do with the prices of what we sell. Sales handles that. Because they’re selling it.****** It’s an obvious assignment of responsibilities.
******And because Marketing is a rabble of adorable, creative-minded individuals who probably can’t be trusted with math.


You never know just what might happen when you give Marketing numbers.

But this never stops anyone in Sales from asking our department complex questions about how prices are determined and issued. In essence, when tasked to determine the price of a good or service provided by The Company, Sales comes running up to Marketing and asks “How much does this cost?”

Marketing does not know. 

More importantly, not only do I not know, I cannot be trusted not to make up an answer.

Vortex eyes of doom!

Nothing The Company sells costs $7. Unless you ask me. Then absolutely everything The Company sells is sold for $7. Because math.

So, by all that’s good and right in the world, can everyone please stop asking Marketing how much things cost? We don’t know, and we don’t care. We only care if you want it, if you’ll buy it, and if you’ll Tweet about it.

I should probably just start pointing out the comic on my desk


From The Oatmeal. Go show him all the love, because he’s brilliant, and this makes me happy.
Click this and cheat to the comic in question.