My pal Jim Munroe's a funny guy and a hell of a science fiction writer. In his new novel, Everyone in Silico, he references a bunch of corporate brands. Pre-empting any nastygrams that the trademark holders might fire his way, he invoiced all the companies that he mentioned in his book for the "product-placement." The collection of mystified responses and his replies is priceless.
Telephone call, March 14th, 1:30pm
Hello, can I speak to Jim Munroe from No Media Kings?
This is Jim.
I'm Chris Gorley from Starbucks in Seattle, and we were wondering about your invoice…?
Who did you talk to about pre-arranging this?
I didn't talk to anyone.
Well, it's a very minimal amount, but unless you talked to someone in the Starbucks Family about pre-arranging this…
Uh huh. Well, it's just such a small amount compared to what you pay for movies…
Yes, you're right, I deal with the film and TV arrangements… I received your original invoice, but quite frankly I didn't know what to make of it so I sat on it for a while… and I just got the letter… It sounds like from your letter that we're on your bad guy list, I'm sorry about that. This bit about "dark skinned foreigners languishing"… what did you mean?
Well, it's just that the pickers who provide your coffee get paid very little, and it's only recently that you've even considered fair trade sources. And Starbucks quashed a boycott many years ago by promising to investigate this, but never did…