Tag Archives: Lying

Learn to Lie #9: Retail Experience

If you’ve worked in retail before or know the ins and outs of shopping, then you must know that everything has been fabricated to make you believe this or that.

All advertisements have been carefully crafted and honed by marketing experts in order to attract your attention to sell you something, whether it’s the latest trend in jeans or the best tasting juice in the market. Companies want you to buy their product, and in order for them to do this, they need to lie to you.

Have you ever seen a fast food commercial that showed you the most perfect, juicy, delicious, voluptuous, colourful hamburger in existence? Did you crave that burger later on when you were out hungry? Did you go to that fast food joint and buy that burger only to find that it wasn’t anything like it looked in the commercials, instead it was a sad, greasy lump of meat and bread?

Take this infomercial for the FABU-FIT-ME for example:

There’s nothing remotely true about this infomercial, in fact it’s not a real product you can buy.

This is what I’m talking about when I say companies lie to you. It’s nothing new, and you’ve probably %100 knew about it before I even began to think about including it as a learn to lie post, but I’m here to make you aware of what you’re already experiencing in your life.

In retail, they do the same thing:

When you walk into a store, browsing for an update in your shirt collection, a sales person comes up to you and asks if you need any help.

You’re in the midst of feeling the material of a shirt that caught your eye but weren’t too committed to, she takes note of this and then says the following:

“I love that shirt! I bought one just the other day and I’ve been wearing it almost everyday since! I even bought one in another colour! I feel like it’s one of those items that will never go out of style, you know?”

You probably get this all the time if you go shopping often. Sales associates pump out the bullshit at any opportunity they get. I work in retail and I know for a fact I do this.

I get a lot of customers asking if I’ve tried a product or if I know if this is good. If I know it’s an absolute shitty product, I will tell them the truth to spare them the hardship of wasting the money they could’ve spent on something better. However, I’m only human and I don’t try every product in the store and so I can only guess at how great something is judging by the price and the brand.

I will straight up tell my customers that the product they’re holding is a very popular product and is wonderful and it has never been brought back for a refund.

If you want to start learning to lie, retail is a great way to start.

Even if you don’t want to work in retail, being an aware customer is also a good way to start. Simply by asking “where can I find jackets?” when you’re not really looking for jackets at all.

The lesson here is lying happens everywhere, people lie to you to get you to spend money. And if you don’t start lying back, you’ll inevitably end up in this endless cycle of buying into the lies these big corporations are feeding you.

Parodying the ‘Authenticity’ of Online Self through the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project”

At the beginning of this course, Pub 101, I had set out to establish a space to be creative in the form of a blog and through writing. I saw this opportunity to step away from my personal life and create the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” to have fun, to be imaginative, and to play around with the idea of hiding behind a screen. The concept of anonymity has been a strong influence in my what I produce online through this blog.

As an art student and as someone who plays with the idea of parody in her artistic practice, the concept of personal blogging and vlogging (i.e. daily vloggers on YouTube) was the inspiration for taking this blog to a parodic level. Not simply as a mere parody of vlogging or blogging, but parodying the thought that people assume all content online is a true representation of a person’s life as well as the whole scope of branding an image of a famous person onto a product just for marketability and money.

Take the Zoella controversy a few years back about the rumours that her novel “Girl Online” was ghostwritten. Not focusing on the truth of the issue, but of the issue itself, this controversy raises the issue of making money and marketing to young consumers “by churning out ghostwritten stories and slapping a famous face on them,” (Lindsay, 2014). As Lindsay points out in her article UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube Authors are Ruining the Publishing Industry“when emphasis is placed on marketing and celebrity, publishing companies are supporting the name, not the writing, and consumers are buying the novelty, not the words — and this isn’t something we should be celebrating,” (Lindsay, 2014). I think this was my main issue with monetization as well. I could argue that my content could be rationalized for monetization as it is an extension of my actual practice and work and I continue to play around with parody in my art works. I could also argue that monetizing my content would be an extension of my parody or critique of selling an image. However, monetizing the content on my blog simply doesn’t appeal to me mostly because I don’t think my blog is worth anything at this point. If I were to monetize my work, I would like to do it on my own terms when I feel like my work is crafted enough that it is worth selling to the public.

As this blog was the production of parody, my audience was geared toward the people who consume blogging and vlogging and see it as an authentic representation of life. But after publishing more posts and more content, I imagined my audience to be smart enough to recognize that these ‘lies’ I’m teaching is a reflection of life in the media or life in general. At this point, I recognize that my audience is neither here nor there, rather I’m producing this content for myself and not for anyone in particular. I’ve learned something from Jesse Thorn’s 12 Point Program for Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success: 5. Be Authentic; rather than making content for an audience and tailoring my content for marketability, I’m following my passion and creating my authentic content that speaks true to the medium and the issues I play around with in my work. “Rather than defining yourself by the medium you create, define yourself by what you offer to your audience,” (Thorn, 2012). I don’t define myself as a blogger or even an artist but by the work I produce. I’m not a videographer or a vlogger, I make videos about parodies of issues I encounter in my life.

I think this is the main reason I don’t have many visuals on my blog. I know the point of this course is to publish yourself to the online world and to establish marketability towards an audience. However, in the midst of trying to be different, I got carried away with wanting my blog to reflect what the concept was about rather than marketing it to an audience. Which is why my blog is very plain. There are absolutely no visuals aside from the colours of my header title and the hover links and a few images in posts like this image that I created in this earlier post. I think this also extends to my decision to not monetize, as ads are a very visual aspect of a site, it almost takes away from the plainness of the concept, as Debbie Chachra says in Why Am I Not a Maker, “creators, rightly, take pride in creation,” (Chachra, 2015), I think this pride is expressed through not monetizing and keeping my content pure from ads and unmotivated by ad revenue.

Looking forward, I think the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” has an expiration date. But that doesn’t mean my blogging will have one. I very much enjoy blogging and have done it sparingly in the past before this course, so if I were to continue blogging, I think I would take it more seriously than this blog. Not to say that this blog wasn’t a serious commitment, but I would create a more sincere content that speaks more to myself rather than my practice. I think the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” has restricted me in posting some content that I thought was cool but didn’t fit in with the concept and so therefore, a more looser blog will allow me to experiment with my online presence more than just trying to keep in character.


I hope to continue making this type of content along side my personal content that I will inevitably create.



Chachra, Debbie. 2015. “Why I Am Not a Maker.” The Atlantic. 23 Jan. 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/

Lindsay, Kathryn. 2014. “UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube Authors are Ruining the Publishing Industry.” xojane. 26 Dec. 2014, https://www.xojane.com/issues/zoella-girl-online-youtube-authors

Thorn, Jesse. 2012. “Make Your Thing: 12 Point Program for Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success.” Transom. 11 Apr. 2012, https://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/

Learn to Lie #8: Keeping your Distance

Over the years of trying to avoid people I don’t like, I’ve learned some techniques about how to avoid people. I think these techniques will be helpful towards our goal of learning how to lie even if it doesn’t necessarily teach us about lying.

In order to keep up a truthful appearance, it’s best if we keep our distance and not let people get too close to us so that they don’t know our true personalities.

  • Don’t make eye contact.

If you make eye contact with someone you know in passing that you don’t want to talk to, they will be less likely to notice you and walk over to you to talk to you, making it easier for you to keep up appearances as you will not have to risk getting caught lying.

  • Wear headphones

Wearing headphones in a public space or even in a shared space like school will ensure that people will be less likely to bother you because they will notice that you have closed yourself from talking to people, unless they’re really annoying and they bother you anyways because they see that you’re only listening to music and not preoccupied by anything else, which leads me to my next point:

  • Look busy

Occupying yourself with readings / homework / texting will be a guaranteed way of getting people to stop bothering you. If they see that your mind is elsewhere and you’re too busy to focus on anything else (i.e. stressed out), they will note this and turn the other way.*

*This does not guarantee those really bothersome people will not stop coming up to you, but for the majority of people, it will %100 work.

Learn to Lie #7: Sharing is Caring

In teaching you how to lie to people, I need to teach you how to know what to say and what not to say.

When you are speaking to someone you don’t know very well, they key to starting off is to not share so much about yourself at the beginning of the relationship. Not only does this help keep the mystery but it also entices people to want to know more about you.

Sharing too much all at once can lead to revealing too much about your personal life and leading people to know more about yourself than you intended (or perhaps that’s what you intended). Coming from personal experience, I have always been turned off by people who like to share every little detail about their morning commute or their boring day at work. It’s okay if you tell your best friends about these things, but to an acquaintance, less is best.

However, sharing too little can lead to coming across as cold, hostile, and unwelcoming.

We need to find the middle ground here, share not too much, so that people will get tired of you, but share just enough that people will know you’re still willing to talk about yourself.

This will ensure that your friends will think you’re a normal person capable of sharing things about yourself while still keeping some things to yourself.

Follow this code and you can keep all your secrets hidden, your friends will never be the wiser!

Learn to Lie #6: Stay invisible

Have you ever wanted to crawl into a hole when you’re in class and your professor is waiting in silence for someone to answer the impossibly complicated question she just asked and you’re praying to all the gods that she doesn’t start calling on people to answer?


It’s like a battlefield in your chest when their eyes scan the room and she makes eye contact with you for a split second.

There are many tips and tricks to avoid this.

  1. Wear dark clothing – Dark clothing is the key to blending in. If you wear bright colours in class, you are more visible. You will catch people’s eyes and you will attract attention. This is a mistake. Dark clothing will make you invisible.
  2. Pretend to be occupied – If you pretend you’re busy writing notes or copying down the lecture slides the professor will believe you’re engaged with the content of the class and will avoid calling on you. They’re looking for people who are clearly avoiding getting called on.
  3. Look confused – But not too confused. You don’t want to come across as wanting to get clarification as to prompt the professor to call on you. You want to look the right amount of confused to make the professor believe you’re still trying to work out the question in your head, but that you will get there eventually.

These short tips will help you avoid getting called on in class and will hopefully calm your anxieties about school. I know it has worked for me!

Happy avoiding your scary prof!