SCRIPTED INDUSTRYLINE #1 – “THE MAIDEN CALL AND HERO RESPONSE”
THE PLOT: AFTER YOUR ENCOUNTER WITH THE VILLAIN, YOU “SHRIEK” AND BEGIN MAKING CALLS TO ALL THE PEST CONTROL HEROES SINGING MELANCHOLICALLY IN THE FOREST. THE FIRST HERO WHO HEARS YOUR CALL AND DASHES TO YOUR DOOR WINS THE HONOR OF BATTLING THE VILLAIN.
YOU: [shrieking] How soon can you be here?
HERO: Never fear [sir or ma’am]. We’re on our way!
OUR READ: Since WW2, The Industry has cultivated and sold pest control by selling its services as a classic hero-rescues-maiden storyline: brave men (fresh from war in need of work) with spray guns rush in and save the shrieking maiden housewife. This familiar role play is normal for our National Character, but this storyline doesn’t end infestations. The maiden call and hero response forms a weird kind of addiction to pest control services that create a demand for what we call “puff treatments,” or the spraying of neurotoxins in and around our homes when there’s no need to spray them. The excessive spraying of toxins will often do so much damage to the health of our little neighborhood ecosystems, the damage will open the door for a single invasive species to rise in the void and infest homes in an attempt to correct the environmental imbalance. Not too unlike life in the movies, pesky villains who cross our home fronts and trigger our maiden shrieks undoubtedly create a need for pest control heroes, but it never hurts to step back, take a deep breath, and do some research about the heroes singing in your woods before you call them to your tower. You may find that many of them are unwittingly working with the villains.
SCRIPTED INDUSTRYLINE #2 – “IS THE TREATMENT SAFE FOR BABIES AND PETS?”
THE PLOT: YOU READ SILENT SPRING IN COLLEGE. YOU BUY ORGANIC VEGETABLES AND LOVE THE WILD CREATURES IN YOUR BACKYARD, BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING YOU LOVE YOUR BABIES AND PETS. THE INFESTATION IS BAD…BUT NEUROTOXINS ARE BAD TOO! AND YOU WANT TO KNOW YOU’RE NOT GOING TO KILL PETER TO KILL PAUL.
YOU: Is the treatment safe for my baby/pet?
INDUSTRY SALESPERSON: Yes, our treatments are natural and safe 100% for babies and pets!
OUR READ: The Industry has been selling chemicals as baby and pet safe for as long as it’s been in existence. DDT was originally sold as safe to be applied on humans, and it’s still being sold as safe for babies, pets, and farm workers in unregulated markets overseas. Convincing the world that chemical poisons (even natural neurotoxins like chrysanthemums) can be classified as “safe” is an amazing feat, a true testament to the power of storytelling. DTT is the classic grotesque example, but even ant bait, laundry detergent, household cleaners, and salt (one of our oldest known pesticides) can be dangerous if ingested by a child or pet who doesn’t know better. All chemicals in high enough doses can be toxic to our bodies. The conversation should be, “Do you use chemicals?” And if so, “How toxic is it?” And that’s not a yes or no answer. Like they say in the medical profession, “Dose is often the difference between medicine and poison.”
SCRIPTED INDUSTRYLINE #3 – “GREEN-WASHING: THE NEW BABY SAFE”
THE PLOT: YOUR NEW ECO-GREEN PEST CONTROL COMPANY ROLLS UP IN A PESTICIDE WAGON FESTOONED WITH IMAGES OF HAPPY FROGS AND WAVY LEAVES, AND YOU WATCH AS THEY UNWIND A POWER HOSE…
OUR READ: The old “baby and pet safe” industry line now has a new “even safer” line. Now they’re selling their chemical application as “eco-friendly.” Honest operators call this practice “green washing,” because its our job to know the strengths and weaknesses of chemicals; and we know what makes a “green” company “green.” In short, these so-called green companies uses lower toxic chemicals (usually pyrethroid repellants), which they apply at much higher doses to do the same job as a classic operator using classic industry products. For example, Axiom (a mid-sized eco-green pest control company) uses their power hoses to spray up to 10 gallons of neurotoxin repellants per home, when a foundation spray for an average home only needs about a gallon or less. All the environmental questions aside, spraying repellants around a home in regular intervals for ants will keep them out. It will also trap them in, and it often causes the population outside the home to spike and become worse of a nuisance than they were before your eco-chemical spraying Captain Planet unwound his mighty power hose. The end result is, the regular spraying of “green” repellant neurotoxins around a home creates a dependency on the service by spiking the external population outside. As soon as the repellants break down, the pesky creatures waiting outside march in and the old Maiden Call and Hero Response kicks in, once again.
SCRIPTED INDUSTRYLINE #4 – “GOOD GUYS KILL BAD GUYS: SYSTEMIC DEATH PRODUCTION DISORDER”
THE PLOT: YOU KEEP PAYING GUYS TO “FRESHEN” THE BAIT POISON IN THE RODENT STATIONS THEY PUT AROUND YOUR HOME, BUT YOUR HOME STILL HAS BROKEN VENT SCREENS AND OTHER SUCH ENTRY HOLES…
OUR READ: Infestations aren’t caused by individual rodents. Infestations are caused by access to predator-free shelter, nice pink nesting materials, and easy access to food. Killing off the population’s young/dumb rats every month (without working to end the environmental disorder(s) causing the infestation) is an old farm practice known as “culling.” Rats expect and need pressure from their predators. Culling keeps their population from spinning out of control. Trouble is, we humans aren’t rats. We shouldn’t expect culling behavior from the companies we hire to clear the rats from our homes. There’s no reason why our homes have to play host to The Industry’s pet rat populations.
SCRIPTED INDUSTRYLINE #5 – “OUR CHEMICALS ARE SO AWESOME THEY FIND THE PESTS FOR US.”
THE PLOT: YOU WATCH A NICE, CLEAN CUT, UNIFORMED TECH RUN AROUND YOUR HOME TO “TREAT” FOR ALL THE PESTS THEY LISTED ON THEIR CONTRACT, BUT AT THE END OF THE SERVICE…YOUR DASHING HERO CAN’T TELL YOU WHERE THE ANTS ARE TRAILING, WHERE THE MICE ARE NESTING, WHERE THE RATS ARE RUNNING, OR WHY THAT WINDOW ALWAYS HAS SPIDERS. HE CAN’T TELL YOU ANYTHING ABOUT THE ACTION OF THE URBAN WILD IN AND AROUND YOUR HOME…
OUR READ: The Industry is brutal on their technicians. Tellingly, one local company calls their techs “route bitches.” Even if industry technicians wanted to do real pest control, they wouldn’t have time. The average time allotted to industry technicians to do a regular maintenance treatment is a half hour from start to finish. The most successful techs learn to skip the pest control part completely and concentrate on the customer service part of their story. They chat the customer up, make them feel secure, run around the house, and dash off to the next stop. In some cases (especially at night in restaurants and businesses), techs will spend more time writing their reports than they will doing the service. The techs call this practice “invoice dropping,” and they have a reasonable justification for the practice. They will drop invoices at homes and businesses for their regular services, because they know they can depend on their customers to call them and report any new/uprising of activity. It’s a win win for techs. They can limit their services to the quick call back freakout services, and skip all the hard work of hunting down the root causes of the infestations. And so it goes, overworked techs drop invoices and wait for the shrieks to roll in.
SCRIPTED INDUSTRYLINE #6 – “SCIENTIFIC EXCOMMUNICATION OF PESTS IN THE MODERN AGE.”
THE PLOT: THE HERO YOU HIRED TO CLEAR THE WILD CREATURES FROM YOUR HOME SELLS YOU A GREEN/ORGANIC CHEMICAL POTION (OR SONIC DEVICE) THEY SAY WILL REPEL THE CREATURES AND KEEP THEM AWAY…
“Don’t worry ma’am,” our hero says. “Spray this around your home every month and the ant population [that’s growing every larger by the day] will stay away.”
“Don’t worry sir,” our hero says. “Spray this in your crawlspace every month and the rats [that found an abundant food source and predator-free shelter in your territory] will leave and go somewhere else.”