Alka-Seltzer’s marshmallow meatloaf, Life cereal’s “Give it to Mikey,” “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” Rice Krispies, “Which twin has the Toni?”

I really dislike television ads but some of the “oldies” were very memorable. Commercials needn’t be subliminal to influence us. Between TV and the internet, we’re constantly being inundated with things to see, hear and buy. 

I’m an old movie buff and don’t usually pay attention to commercials, but the other night I saw one that took my breath away. The ad portrayed a woman checking out of IKEA who believed she had been undercharged. Looking furtively around, she pays her bill and races out of the store, calling for her husband to start the car quickly and make a fast getaway with her supposed ill-gotten goods. In other words, stealing. 

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The final message, of course, informs us that IKEA is having a tremendous sale and the cashier has not made an error. The buyer, though, didn’t know this and rather than point out the discrepancy to the clerk, felt elated about “putting one over” on the store.

Children learn from observation. We can tell them how to act, read them lists of dos and don’ts, but what they see is what they’ll imitate. Actions do speak louder than words, so when we show our children that cheating is OK if you don’t get caught, we’re giving them a green light.

All of us are greatly influenced by ads; otherwise, companies wouldn’t spend so much money presenting them...think Super Bowl! 

When the Alka-Seltzer newlywed puts together a marshmallow meatloaf, her young husband, rather than hurt her feelings, surreptitiously fixes himself a remedy. We laughed at the recipe but learned that kindness and consideration for others is as easy as “plop, plop, fizz, fizz!”

What a great lesson it would have been had the IKEA shopper questioned the low price. The cashier could then have happily told her about the wonderful surprise sale and we would all have been winners...the honest woman, impressionable children, you, I, and especially, IKEA.