The Fine Print
Ever notice how quickly that “fine print” flashes on the screen during a commercial? Whether it’s a car dealership, phone company or a bank, there’s always some tiny details hiding, waiting for you not to read them. I define “fine print” as the legal jargon often necessary for the “Large Print” in many advertisements.
Anytime you hear or see the lines “Save Thousands*” or “Lose 100 lbs*”, you can believe there’s a fancy little disclaimer to accompany the bold statements. Unfortunately, large headlines that said “Results not typical” probably just wouldn’t sell products. So what’s left is a little puffery and a lot of tiny text, designed specially to be obscure and unseen.
Some of my favorites of late are these lending commercials for “Fast Cash”. Need money today? These folks ofter a helping hand, or so it seems. Although in one commercial, the spokesperson discloses that the “money isn’t cheap”, many would be surprised that the typical rates are over 115%. Your typical loans are just a shade lower than that.
How about “You’re Pre-Approved*” with the fine print saying “subject to approval.” That doesn’t seem very fair.
Need a little vacation? “A 7 day cruise for $399*”. Even if you’re single, get ready to shell out twice that much, as most cruises are priced per person, double occupancy.
How about those rebates that are so difficult to fill out that you never end up doing it. Better yet, coupons advertising 25% OFF that aren’t valid on anything sold at the store.
I personally went through this one at Old Navy last year. I received a coupon advertising 50% off one item. Upon check-out, the cashier told me that the coupon wasn’t valid on sale items. I asked “What here is not on sale then?”. She laughed and said “It’s Old Navy, everything is on sale!”. I too chuckled, and walked out never to return. I’ll buy my $10 jeans elsewhere, thanks.
As a society, we’ve just come to accept this stuff I suppose. Even when we know something is too good to be true, we all like to think that we are getting a “real deal”. To help more folks steer clear of these pitfalls, I’ve put together a few quick tips:
1. You’re not Pre-Approved, You have not been pre-selected and you are not already a winner.
2. The faster someone promises to get you money, the more it’s going to cost you.
3. You can’t lose weight without moving your butt off the couch.
4. Those “killer eyelashes” in the mascara commercial are fakes.
5. Good or bad, people are driven by incentives.
6. People lie or at least try to stretch the truth, especially the ones trying to get your money. Wait, except for me, I’m a good guy…trust me.
7. Most of all, never trust anyone who says “trust me”.