NO LOVE FOR 
THE JINGLE FROM HELL

   I was driving, the radio was on, and my wife was in the passenger seat. Since we have wildly different tastes in music and can never agree on a music station, we were listening to KCBS, the all-news station.
   When the newscaster cut to the inevitable commercial, though, it was one of the rare times we both agreed on the musical quality of a song.
   "1-877-KARS-4-KIDS," sang the little cretin with the cute little voice that should be exiled to a place far, far away. "1-877-KARS-4-KIDS, donate your car today!"
   "NOOOOOO!!!" my wife and I screamed in unison as we both lunged for the radio at the same time. She was trying to lower the volume while I went right for the channel selector, so we didn't collide. But the damage was done. We'd be hearing that incredibly annoying jingle in our heads for hours to come.
   If you haven't heard the jingle, consider yourself one of the luckier people on Earth. It's been around since 1999, unchanged, and is now in 14 markets nationwide and reaches 50 million listeners daily. The little kid who sings it is reportedly now about 26 years old. I've read that he can't be identified because he's received death threats.
   "Who would donate their car to this organization?" I asked my wife once my teeth stopped aching . "They not only can't spell 'cars,' but there are too many numbers in their obnoxious jingle. 877-KARS-4-KIDS is 12 numbers. Phones have 10 numbers. Who are these people?"
   She was still trying to calm down from the rush to quiet the radio. "I hate to say this, but I think I'd rather drive my car off a cliff than give it to them. Is that bad?"
   "Probably, but I understand," I replied. "Let's call them and find out."
   We dialed the 12 numbers (which don't make a difference---only the first 10 register) on the car speakerphone and were immediately greeted with a directory. We pushed the number 4 for more information and were greeted by the jingle as we were put on hold.
   "NOOOOOOO!" we screamed in unison. But before we could hang up, a nice woman came on the line.
   "Would you like to donate your car?" she pleasantly asked. "We can have a towing company pick it up within 24 hours and we'll also give you a 2-night voucher at a hotel in one of 50 locations in the United States."
   "Do you like your jingle," I asked, interrupting her.
   "Well, I don't have to listen to it on hold," she responded. "And there's a lot of worse things in the world, like heavy metal bands."
   After she told us they'd accept anything with an engine (lawnmowers, Ski-doos, etc.) we lied and said we'd consider donating, and then hung up.
  "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is," sang my wife, recalling the old Alka-Seltzer commercial.
   "Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us," I answered in my best sing-song voice, which is terrible, but she still correctly guessed Burger King.
   "Like a good neighbor--State Farm is there."
   There was only one response for that: "Nationwide is on your side."
   This went on for a few more, until I came up with "Every kiss begins with Kay," which disgusted her almost as much as the KARS-4-KIDS jingle, and the competition was over.
   But the point was made. If you remember the jingle, they're effective, good or bad. And that's why the ear-piercing, teeth shattering, mind-numbing KARS-4-KIDS travesty has produced about $25 million in vehicle donations every year. Inconceivable, but true.
   Exactly where does the money go? I did some research in my role as intrepid reporter, and fortunately don't have the space to go into details. Let's just say the jingle isn't the only questionable aspect of the organization. Many claims, many settlements, many investigations. Hopefully, that miserable little kid singing the song didn't know what he was getting into.
   There's only one reason they flourish---that obnoxious jingle (along with a multi-multi-million advertising budget). And there's only one way to stop it.
   Yes, I'm embarking on a national campaign to rid the airwaves of the KARS-4-KIDS commercial. I will petition radio stations not to run it, and I will be successful.
   But first I have to raise money for my campaign. As soon as I come up with an obnoxious jingle, I'll be on my way.
 

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