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Switched On: Happy TOSgiving


Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment:

By reading this column, you agree to the following "TOS" (turkey over stuffing) between yourselves and the providers of the work known as "Thanksgiving".

Providers of said work grant upon you an exclusive, non-transferable license to enjoy "Thanksgiving" for a period not to exceed 24 hours. During this time, licensee may participate in a range of Thanksgiving-related traditions, including reckless overeating, expressing enthusiasm for a team of burly men advancing toward a patch of grass, or watching giant, life-threatening monsters float toward you; in short, provider makes no guarantees that Thanksgiving will be significantly different from the regular activities of World of Warcraft devotees.

Licensee may greet fellow community members using the term "Thanksgiving" provided it is preceded by favorable intent, such as "Happy Thanksgiving" or "Have a great Thanksgiving." Licensees need not disclose compensation received for spreading awareness of the Thanksgiving feast via word-of-mouth advertising through services such as PayPerPlate, but in such case, licensee agrees to comment positively on all such aspects of said feast, including but not limited to the texture of any string bean casserole. Licensee may engage in other non-traditional leisure activities over the course of the 24-hour period, such as completing viewership of movies downloaded from various digital rental services.

Licensee may also, at licensee's discretion, forgo much of this leisure time to stare eagerly at PlayStation 3 finder bot pages seeking console online availability or to obtain a favorable position on line at a large electronics retailer for the day following Thanksgiving. Licensee agrees not to hold provider responsible for any injuries incurred by stampeding hordes seeking flat-panel televisions targeted at value-conscious consumers or lost revenue incurred when attempting to resell heavily discounted items to fraudulent third parties via online auction.

Licensee may engage in limited sharing of Thanksgiving with friends and family. Licensee hereby agrees that he or she will not hold provider liable for any stress, headaches, confrontations, political arguments, weight gain, cranberry sauce that's a bit "off", poultry-induced fatigue or other conditions that may arise from such shared Thanksgiving-related activities. Licensee further acknowledges that participation in these events may violate his or her own personal privacy policy as relatives inquire as to the status of licensee's health, employment, romantic involvements, reproductive intent and general ability to get licensee's life together already.

Licensee acknowledges that impersonating a celebrity, reporter, or other figure who has obtained higher social status may result in eventual ridicule and removal from Thanksgiving activities. Licensee shall, on a best-effort basis, resist the unauthorized distribution of non-copyrighted works that may include news of cousins not present at Thanksgiving-related activities. Licensee acknowledges that consumption of alcohol during Thanksgiving activities may impair licensee's ability to refrain from such unauthorized distribution, which is punishable by being told exactly what a giblet is. Provider will not tolerate any use of spam as provider has a pretty gentle stomach.

This TOS constitutes the entire agreement between you and the providers of "Thanksgiving," and is subject to laws of the state of grace. Reporting of TOS violations will result in the browning of licensee's nose alongside a turkey.

Ross Rubin is director of industry analysis for consumer technology at market research and analysis firm The NPD Group and a contributing editor for LAPTOP. Views expressed in Switched On are his own. Feedback is welcome at

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