The sands of time…

June 8, 2010

Illustration by Nicole Wolf (at

Imagine a Norman Rockwell painting depicting rural American life. Children, running across the farm in search of an iced cold drink…

…imagine that iced cold drink is not lemonade, or water from a spigot.

No, that iced cold drink is none other than the iconic, albeit downright au natural….7/11 slurpee (product contains .8% real juice, red dye #70).

Farm life is supposed to incite images of homemade berry pies, local tomatoes, native corn, and hand-churned butter. In the 21st century world of constant connectivity, the grunt and sweat of backbreaking farm work is not simply what it used to be, that’s for sure (though I’d like to note here that outside of virtual la la la, there are plenty who actually sweat in the fields daily).

After 5,000 years of being considered the most miserable necessity on the planet, farming has become….dare I say it, fun?

Enter Farmville, the most prolific, albeit vapid, Facebook gaming application, which no doubt, has clogged your news stream daily.

If you thought it’s encroachment on your Facebook spying activities was intense enough, the barn just got its newest tenet, and its an even bigger animal than what its normally used to: the 7/11 marketing machine.

Now, every time you fill your gas tank, wander in for a road snack and a refreshing drink, or count coins for a scratch ticket, you’ll be blasted by a serious consumerism at its finest chill by the cold case: Farmville slurpees, Mafia Wars Ice Cream, critter candies and Farmville Raised Beef Taquitos.

O.K., so I lied about the taquitos; but I’m crying bullshit on the others. 7/11 has just turned into the biggest cow pasture–literally.

Fact: Farmville is the most popular gaming application on Facebook; it boasts more than 82.4 million active users and 23.9 million fans, as of last month.

One of those users happens to be a former employee of mine.

Let’s set the scene, shall we?

The days at our work absolutely bustle; activity is high and so is need. I rarely have a moment to sit to myself, much like I can imagine–without the actual manual labor–farming to be. That being said, the aforementioned employee (name redacted) spent most of her day baking pies, picking corn, and selling berries at her marketplace on the farm’s east end. Before I even awoke for work in the morning, she had tilled 22 acres, moved 32 haystacks, and sent a few animals to stock.

If she’d been that productive at her real life gig, well, we’d opt to give her our equivalent of the blue ribbon for the best cow.

Instead, we picked her as a perfectly plump animal for the slaughter and gave her the proper axe after 77.8 working hours wasted on Farmville, a sum total of 3 requests for a quick cash loan when she didn’t have the appropriate funds to pay for childcare, and 20 weeks of free ice cream Wednesday.

Instead of spending real money on childcare, she can spend real money, now, on ice cream. Farmville ice cream, that is. The most exciting thing? As part of the new promotion with 7/11, she’ll receive “bonuses in virtual money” by buying real world products.

Let’s hope to god she doesn’t use that money to acquire monkeys on her farm. After this marketing gimmick, she’ll have a whole ton of chunkies.

And all those naysayers said virtual land couldn’t possibly become reality.

File Under: I can certainly lasso the Farmville feed into a hidden corral on Facebook. Who knew trips to 7/11 would suddenly become stinky, animalistic, American consumerist inconvenience.

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