Monday, January 12, 2015

What they don't tell you in the commercials, or Ya Gotta Read The Fine Print

It has been a little over a week -- eight days, to be exact -- since I announced my intention to take a break of indeterminate length from blogging, yet here I am, back already. Well, for today at least. Perhaps I will be posting weekly henceforth, making a yearly total of 52 posts seem not only achievable but also absolutely on-target. Please note that I did not say “I will be posting weekly henceforth,” I said “Perhaps I will be posting weekly henceforth.” There’s a difference.

Be that as it may, the reason I took pen in hand put fingers to the keyboard once again is to bring to your attention, if you haven’t already noticed, the devious ways in which advertisers in television commercials draw you in. While what they tell you may be true, they don’t necessarily tell you the whole truth. Ya gotta read the fine print.

For example, I heard a woman in a commercial this week say that she has received $900 (UK, £594) in rebates by making her purchases on a certain website. My first reaction was "Wow! Maybe that’s where I should be buying things too!" (which is, I’m sure, exactly what the advertiser intended) . My second reaction, however, was to wonder how much I would have to spend to get that kind of rebate. The commercial very conveniently did not mention what percentage of one’s purchases are refunded, but I very quickly calculated that if it were, say, a very generous 5% (which no one would ever do) , I would have to have plunked down $18,000 (UK, £11,883) to receive that particular rebate. Not very likely, at least in this household.

Caveat emptor. That’s all I’m saying.

Here’s another example: A commercial for Premier Walk-in Bath (something an old person like moi might covet) stated it could be obtained for $150 per month. Period. Didn't mention either the purchase price or for how many months, so being ever-vigilant I checked their website. Turns out that the fine print still doesn’t mention the purchase price but does say that a down payment of 1/3 of the price, whatever it is, is required, and that at an example interest rate of 9.9% the cost would be only $150 a month for (take a deep breath) 120 MONTHS [emphasis mine] . Another quick calculation on my part determined that not including the 1/3 down payment the monthly payments come to $18,000 (UK, £11,883) FOR A BATHTUB.

The nice part, of course, is that if I buy it through that other website I will receive a $900 (UK, £594) rebate.

I may be stupid, but I am not crazy.

11 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Welcome back (however briefly).

Hilltophomesteader said...

Are there people out there who actually have all that money to just flippantly toss about? Hmm. I'm still checking the price of two-pound blocks of cheddar to make sure I get the best deal....

(I am GRINNING that you are back!)

LightExpectations said...

Caveat emptor indeed. You can't say it any better than that.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Atlanta Spa and Leisure have some great deals on hot tubs. Just imagine... you and Ellie get in your swimsuits with glasses of root beer to hand. step into your yard and there's your warm bubbling hot tub. You could even invite the neighbours round.

JBG said...

I would just like to say that I will miss you if you stop blogging. I enjoy your sense of humor.

All Consuming said...

My comment has not been published! What did I write? I can't remember as I am slow of brain these days.

Snowbrush said...

I wish my investments were making 9.9%. What say we go into the bath business together? You provide the money, and I'll do the commercials.

"Indeterminate" means indeterminate, so I'm just glad it was a short break instead of a long one.

rhymeswithplague said...

All comments appreciated!

Special aside to All Consuming: I don't remember ever having received a comment from you that didn't make it to publication. There could always be a first time, however!

Snowbrush said...

"Special aside to All Consuming: I don't remember ever having received a comment from you that didn't make it to publication."

I think you received one from me week before last regarding profanity, and since I strenuously object to your censorship, I make a very great effort to not offend you, and I can't begin to imagine what I might have said in that comment that you would have found offensive.

rhymeswithplague said...

Snowbrush, being the old, forgetful codger that I am (my 74th birthday is a scant two months away), I can't begin to imagine either. I certainly believe in your right to free speech -- say whatever you like; shout it from the mountaintops even -- but it does not necessarily follow as the night the day that I believe in one’s right to have his or her every utterance accepted for publication by an editor of a magazine or newspaper or blog. And that is what we all are, basically -- editors. Kings of our own castles. Masters of all we survey. But your right to punch me in the nose ends where my nose begins. Actions have consequences. I'm rambling. None of this is directed at you personally; you just touched a nerve. I’m on a roll so I’ll continue: Spoken and written discourse have coarsened greatly in my lifetime and the young folk aren't even aware of how it used to be. Some otherwise very nice English bloggers use four-letter words with abandon – but then Anglo-Saxon IS (or was) their language – but iffen I find the text of yer missive objectionable, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks; it’s my blog and I’ll publish (or not publish) what I want to. Same thing goes in my living room or in the presence of my wife and minor children (I no longer have the latter, by the way). I’m glad we’re friends. Please forgive me (or at least don’t get bent out of shape by) what you view as my eccentricities. I will shut up now. Be as profane as you like. Just not on my blog.

Snowbrush said...

“...it does not necessarily follow as the night the day that I believe in one’s right to have his or her every utterance accepted for publication by an editor of a magazine or newspaper or blog.”

But you lay out implied guidelines (no insults, attack, or profanity), and I try to meet your guidelines as best I can based upon my understanding of them, so when I know I’ve offended you, and have no idea why, I’m unhappy. I don’t even remember the last comment that I didn’t allow, and even then it was probably because it was meant by the person who wrote it to be private. BBC came close this week because he uses a lot of profanity, and while I’m not opposed to profanity per se, I’m very opposed to gratuitous profanity, just as I am to gratuitous violence in movies.