Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The devaluation of the 'PRESS' sticker

Many, many moons ago, when my parents marriage still had a sense of normalcy to it, my father had decided to take us out in his (then) brand new Gypsy that Bennett had given him when he had moved up the food chain. It was a brand new car, and my father's first ever 'office car' and also his first Gypsy (there were two more to come in two other jobs, the last one holding other fond memories for me). Brand new and without a 'PRESS' sticker, we took the Gypsy to the trade fair at Pragati Maidan and were promptly told that we couldn't park his car where we wanted to because we weren't from the 'PRESS' (defined by having a big sticker on your windshield), and my father flew into a rage of righteous indignation. Shor-sharaba followed, and we parked the car in the lot, but when we came back it had been towed away, which meant more shor-sharaba at Tilak Marg Police Station and when the SHO realised that my father was a fairly senior journalist, apologies followed and I got a Thums Up.
Anyway, silly anecdotal story which has no relevance to the point I would want to make over here, or maybe it does. You see, that little incident some 18 years ago now I think, taught me the importance of a 'PRESS' sticker and when I joined my first job I even got a sticker - it was just that I didn't have a car at that point of time. But, somehow by then, I figured that only wannabes and suckers with company cars ever put on 'PRESS' stickers because it seems that every second car on the road has one now.
The other day a colleague whom I was giving a lift was horrified to notice I don't carry a small sticky piece of plastic on my windshield. "Makes my car look ugly", I said, and honestly, I don't feel the need to advertise that I am from the media and that I am a journalist. I mean look at the clowns who have stickers. Idiots from marketing and sales, who have no idea about the language, other clowns from admin and just about anybody who brings out a rag, from a shady travel magazine to a neighbourhood journal has a sticker proclaiming 'PRESS' nowadays. Even cops don't take it seriously anymore, well, at least in Delhi. Putting the 'PRESS' sticker on your car was a right you earned, not something that someone in HR hands over to you in a brown envelope along with the ethics manual when you join.
And I feel disgusted, so I decided when my windshield cracked a couple of years ago that when I replace it, I will not get another sticker. And I didn't. I'm a journalist and fairly proud of it, and I wear it on my sleeve, but I've decided not to advertise it on my windshield. I'm not going to urge anyone to do the same, but think about it, do you really want to put in the same bracket as people in ad-sales who have stickers? So think about it, and remove those stickers, you're better than that!

8 comments:

GBO said...

a) Keep it on while the children are in college, on the car they take there, life is easier.

b) On your own car, place it upside down on the inside of the sun-visor, so that you can flip it out when required, and hide it when not.

c) Spell it PRASS.

Ravages said...

I once knew a guy from the media buying department of an ad agency (the one I was working in) who had the press sticker. Seriously. Not made up.

GBO's suggestions seem do-able, though.

Renovatio said...

What about people getting press cards made like licenses... surprisingly, that actually happens...

the honest critic said...

But it really helps when you drive back home at night, dead drunk. trust me, no 'thulla' will stop u to undergo that alcometer! hic hic!

Grin said...

Hey you forgot the local press wallah. The one that flattens your clothes. He has a valid Press sticker too.

Anonymous said...

i have come across so many people wanting that 'coveted'press sticker because they think they can get away with traffic offence. I dont remember obliging anyone but form personal experiences it does help when you are driving late at night. as for pr/ad men the administration should take it up to issue stickers only to scribes.. why not take up that as a cause??

Anonymous said...

i like the prass idea. prass prass prass.

K said...

So what if we all started putting 'PRASS' stickers on our cars as a show of disgust towards the profession, I guess it will work!