A Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted

There’s a sucker born every minute.”
– P.T. Barnum

Do you ever really listen to the “As Seen on TV ” genre of commercials that proliferate on radio and television these days?  I’m not talking about just being aware that one of these commercials is playing in the background.  I’m asking if you really pay attention and think about what the announcer is saying and what it really all means.  Sadly, I have to admit to the fact that there are times when I do just that.
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Sometimes I find myself listening very intently.  Not because I’m actually being seduced into parting with any of my money in order to obtain a bottle of the latest instantaneous weight loss miracle drug or the newest high technology skillet to which nothing, not even its own non-stick surface, can adhere.

No, what grabs my attention is the rampant application of illogic, mumbo-jumbo, and slight of hand which marketers employ in their attempts to entice people to purchase items for which they really have no need and which, in all likelihood, will not function as advertised.  At least not for very long.

I find myself wondering how anyone could be so gullible as to fall for the claims that are made on these commercials until I remind myself that the ever-suffering widow of that recently departed Nigerian Finance Minister shows no sign of backing off in her never-ending attempt to find others with whom to share her wealth.
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But back to the commercials.  What do you think it actually means when you learn that the product being promoted, “…..is a $199.00 value, but it can be yours, not for $150.00, not even for $100.00!  It can be yours today for the amazingly low price of only $19.95! 

Now you might be thinking that it means that the true value of this “$199.00” item is actually $19.95.  “But Wait!”  

It’s really only worth a paltry $9.98 because, “If you call now, we’ll send you a second Gee-whiz Whatchamacallit at no additional cost! ”  (….you just pay shipping and handling.)

“But remember, you have to call within the next 10 minutes to take advantage of this incredible offer.”

Unless of course you happen to change channels and come across the same advertisement a couple of hours later, in which case your 10 minutes of opportunity have been miraculously restored.  It’s interesting to note that this same phenomena occurs whenever we learn that “….supplies are limited!  So act fast! ”

And don’t ever forget that, “Operators are standing by! “

OM

Photo credit: Anna Fischer Foter CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: Jessica Watkins DeWinter / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND