Virtual Sales Associates poised to harass interactively

Thanks to a beautiful marriage between digital signage company Fastrak and interactive voice response specialist Message Technologies Inc, consumers will soon be able to converse with in-store talking heads who will provide product information along with what we can only assume will be subliminal messages to max out your credit cards. These so-called Virtual Sales Associates will be positioned near particular items of interest (“Steve recommends you only buy iPod-brand MP3 players: always look for the apple!”), and are said to be capable of holding limited “natural language” conversations about said product. To include window-shoppers in their diabolical advertising schemes, retailers can also mount a VSA behind the glass and offer browsers a phone number for chatting up the salesbot. This is good news indeed for retailers like Best Buy, who will soon be able to not only automate the process of┬áproviding customers with fake pricing information, but also begin planting the seeds of those rip-off warranties even earlier in the sales pitch.