Saturday, December 25, 2010

2 + 2 = ???

Quick – How much is two plus two?
Don't bother to argue with me you're wrong because it's my question and I decide the parameters!
In ancient times some smart retailer caused the phrase, “Caveat Emptor” to be coined.  The translation and spirit of the two-word oft used phrase is, “Let the buyer beware.”
Back then unscrupulous salesmen would use tactics such as 'bait and switch' or hidden requirements to negate any offer that sounded great but was actually too good to be true.
So what's changed?
Not a whole lot I'm afraid.  If anything the practice has become more rampant and the companies behind them more emboldened by our laziness to point out the fraud and demand justice.
And these days the ‘buyer’ may be anyone other than the owner of a company, bank, business, fake news network, or Congress.
Earlier this week a young couple appeared on a Fox TV show that offers contestants a chance at winning one million dollars.  They did but then again this is America and the show was on Fox!
The bottom line is simply that the couple wagered $800,000 and answered the question correctly but rather than admit that the show’s moderator told them they were wrong and the money was lost.
The internet uproar over the obvious fraud and or stupidity by Fox was nearly immediate.
But really guys, was the network’s response to giving one million dollars to an African American couple really so surprising?
Now had they been members of the Republican Party the ending may have been different.
But the feeling that corporations can do whatever they please in their effort to bilk the average citizen does not stop with partisan television networks such as Fox.  From top to bottom you will find fraudulent practices everywhere if you just take the time to look.
A few days ago I received a nice coupon from Pathmark, a grocery store chain owned by the now bankrupt A&P Corporation.  The coupon stated that I could pickup a dozen eggs on sale from their usual price of $2.49 down to the one day offer of FREE!
Since yesterday was not actually the day I was born I figured there had to be a catch so I got out my magnifying glass and read the small print, front and back.
Lo and behold there were no restrictions.
But the coupon was only a part of the entire flyer from the store so I perused both sides looking for something, anything that hinted Caveat Emptor.
I found nothing so I got in my car and drove to the store armed with the coupon and a small list of other items I figured I’d pick up at the same time.
This type of offer for free eggs is not totally without precedence and is known as a lost leader in so much as the store figures to lose a tiny amount but make it up on the rest of the purchases.
However when I arrived at the egg display I found a tiny printed note informing shoppers who were lured to the store by the sale that an additional purchase of $10 was required.
OMG, a not so free offer!
I was upset but had already placed around $8 in my cart so another $2 wasn’t going to kill me.  I decided to forget about the fraud and buy something else.
And that something else was a $10 six-pack of beer that I needed for a party that night anyway.
Now for the fun; I waited on line and when my turn to pay finally arrived I was informed that in addition to the ‘now’ required $10 additional purchase I could not use beer toward that minimum!
Complaining to the customer service personnel I was informed that beer is never included in this kind of offer and there is always a minimum purchase to get something for free!
And to make her point even more convincing this woman explained all of the above in a manner that basically said I was an idiot for not knowing that!
Well excuuuuse me!!!  I thought you were customer service, bitch!
Ultimately I made the exchange of beer for a couple of snacks and ended up spending less money than if the store had lived up to what their printed coupon promised.
The bottom line is this kind of fraud is rampant in America and anyone who is not observant will be stung by it.
As for the Pathmark chain and its parent corporation A&P I guess we should add the words ‘morally bankrupt’ as well.
(By the way I stopped off at another store on the way home and got the beer for half the price.)

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