Wednesday, May 19, 2010

User Apathy in the Air

I just flew from Newark to Boston and was amazed by the percentage of passengers who were content with watching 30 minutes of repetitive commercials 12 inches from their face.

The United (now Continental?) flight offered a free preview of the in-flight directv service. Having ESPN feeding me the latest NHL and NBA playoff news during the normally tedious boarding process and ascent was an unexpected delight, tiding my ADD mind over until I was allowed to power on my iPhone. However, shortly after the preview ended (and the plea for $ to continue viewing began), I shut down the display.

Twenty minutes later I noticed that everyone else still had their displays on, still watching the directv advertisements flash before their eyes. This got me wondering... are consumers really so lazy that they would rather watch an endless (and repeating) stream of bad commercials rather than figure out how to turn off the screen?  Or are they too dumb to realize that you can even turn it off?  Try to make a guess...then look at this photo of the controller:
Where's the power button?
I wonder if "no power button" was an explicit decision from the airline/directv execs...some kind of sneaky ploy to make more money from having more eyeballs on more commercials.  What do you think?

I guess that isn't too likely, since it fails to pass the most important test in human behavior reasoning:
Hanlon's razor - Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

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