Plywood Plague Strikes TELUS Plot — Status Symbols Saved

by Pixeleen Mistral on 28/08/06 at 2:25 pm

PSFK Consultant Gunned Down, But Lives to Tell the Tale
by Pixeleen Mistral, Herald National Affairs desk

“We want to show that we are a fun brand. I’m a gamer… so I really enjoy it here… We are really here for the brand presence. Not for the virtual sales.”– Sparkle Dale, TELUS store manager.

Christoesque griefer wraps TELUS store in plywood

After fighting poor chat and IM reception along with a lingering concern that I might not be completely au courant, I needed some sort of help, so Sunday afternoon I visited the TELUS phone store in Shinda to look at cell phones from Second Life’s first RL phone company. A cell phone accessory for my avatar might not improve SL’s stability, but I was hopeful that I might at least turn a few heads (perhaps even get more dates?) if I updated my look with something like a pink Motorola RAZR with bling. And so the adventure began — what followed was a tale of two sorts of griefing and the uneasy mashup of RL marketing and SL weirdness.

TELUS is a Canadian telecom company that has set up camp in SL for a hit of PR magic and that certain exciting “hep cat” feel we all want from our phone companies. But — bad luck for me! My first visit to the TELUS store was a bust when I found the store encased in plywood walls, courtesy of a Mr. Wabe Standish.

I must credit Mr. Standish with a consistency of vision after examining the ownership of the plywood walls encasing the store. Although he is new (born August 22, 2006), Mr. Standish’s art exhibits a promisingly iconoclastic vision and he seems have been carefully following his muse. Still, this was a disappointment, since I had read a rather breathless account of the architectural wonders of the store, and all I could see was plywood. I took a short break from shopping, and came back 45 minutes later to find Sparkle Dale and Scope Cleaver (the store’s manager and builder respectively) had cleared the independent artist’s plywood, and were again open for business.

Unlike American Apparel, the TELUS store is located on the mainland, and seems to have actual walk-in customers. Over the next hour, I saw two customers and one other journalist at the store and only one of the customers turned out to be a griefer. Even the gun-slinging griefer was fairly polite — he only shot one person (the other journalist) and was reasonably nice otherwise. I was impressed by Sparkle Dale’s handling of the situation. She first complimented Alcazanar Sloane on his avatar (a somewhat devilish outfit with sulphur fumes, spines, and the occasional gun), and did not mind when Mr. Sloane wanted to try a new sword script in the store.

TELUS’s Sparkle Dale (center) deftly handles gunslinger Alcazanar Sloane (left)

We were all having a fine time, until Alcazanar took offense at PSFK trend analyst Brighton Giugiaro’s arrival and issues with getting through the front door. After complaining that the store had a door, Mr. Giugiaro was standing between Alcazanar and the exit. In my experience, one generally ought to leave a clear path out of the room to people with guns, but Brighton seemed to be suffering from a slightly toxic immersion in his own critique of the store layout and questions about security/police. Perhaps overexposure to Powerpoint and an unfamiliarity with gunpoint was to blame.

This was a shame, since he missed the usual warning signs of a gunman in SL: “get outta my face… you’re blocking the view… back off son… last chance… BOOM”. About a week after I arrived in SL, I knew enough to sit down or move in this sort of situation. Brighton didn’t and was shot out of the store. This does raise some questions about the PSFK analyst’s familiarity with the SL experience. To her credit, Sparkle Dale persuaded Alcazanar that he could visit another time and he left before Brighton made his way back to the store. Sparkle also sold a phone to a customer at the same time. In many ways the scene seemed like something out of a kindergarten and I realized that I have no desire to work retail in SL. Ever.

PSFK trendspotter Brighton Giugiaro returns to TELUS after failing to spot the SL trend toward pushguns

Once the drama and PSFK whingeing were over, I inspected the offerings and selected a PanTECH mobile phone that spews butterflies when I pick it up, and displays a message that I am on the RL phone or answering IMs. The phone also has an animation override so that you can hold the phone to your ear. For those on a tight budget, there is a free gift pack at the TELUS store, so expect to see even impoverished unverfied accounts with TELUS phones soon. Once that happens, it will be time to move on to the next new status symbol, whatever that turns out to be. Meanwhile, try to leave an open aisle for gunmen who want a clear exit, and join me in cultivating an appreciation of our indigenous plywood artists.

7 Responses to “Plywood Plague Strikes TELUS Plot — Status Symbols Saved”

  1. Crissa

    Aug 29th, 2006

    There’s a little-known method for getting around blocked doors by sitting on them. You can then stand up on the far side.

  2. Prokofy Neva

    Aug 29th, 2006

    LOVED this story! Just HILARIOUS. So VERY VERY Second Life ROFL!

  3. Urizenus Sklar

    Aug 30th, 2006

    Another good one Pixeleen. It occurs to me that push guns were made for SL Trendspotters. Next time I’m in world I’m definitely gonna be strapped and on the lookout for dweebs wearing high-water Lakers gear and Birkenstocks. KaaaPOW!

  4. Mr. F

    Aug 31st, 2006

    I would have shot that guy also. What’s with the stupid looking purple outfit.

    Cell Phone = status symbol, um…yea in 1989

  5. broadstuff

    Nov 28th, 2006

    You Can’t Advertise Soda on a Sword and Sorcery Site

    Every Tom, Dick and Harriet Company now seem to think the New New Thing is to announce your next new new product in Second Life, with Sun and Dell being the latest up.

    I don’t know who is advising them (well, actually I do…see below) but this is a

  6. Jacov

    Feb 14th, 2008

    does anyone know how to get back to the real world? jk

  7. mobile phone gift

    Sep 10th, 2009

    mobile phone gift

    Most people don’t know they can get a valuable free gift with their next mobile phone… all from a name you can trust… Tesco! Don’t go direct to a UK network when free Wii’s, HDTV’s, Laptops, Playstations and much more. All above board and from Tesco!

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