By Joe Klock, Sr.
“Just pay additional processing and handling!” crows the TV huckster, as he offers you ladies three more brassieres, in addition to the three propper-uppers for which you are already being charged a full processing and handling fee.
Never mind, mind you, that you more than probably have no more than two proppable breasts and routinely launder your undies more frequently than every six days.
The offer, therefore, is about as beneficial to you as would be "free" birth control to your great-grandmother, who hasn't been bedridden since great-granddad bought the farm many years ago - but we digress.
The first proposal mentioned was three bras for $59.99, plus $12.99 "processing and handling," a subtotal purchase price of $73.00, if you'll forgive a two-cent rounding up.
But wait! The buyer of that sextuple set of chest protectors is not given the option of buying just these three mammary holsters and paying a single P&H fee.
Instead, the irreducible package consists of six bras and two P&H fees, for a rounded-up total of $86.00; note that the additional $12.99 is for popping six, instead of just three, propper-uppers into the outgoing package.
Still with us?
Our expert research staff found that the same brand of bandeau* was available at a local Walmart for 10 bucks each, which came out to a less-grand total of sixty simoleons.
*Aside: Regular readers know that we like to throw in a touch of Frenchified palaver here and there for snob appeal.
Buyers who bite on the TV offer may request a refund of (ONLY) the purchase price, if they are dissatisfied, leaving them about $26.00 out-of-pocket, PLUS the cost of return shipping, probably another $3-$5, further plus a non-fun trip to the post office.
That $26 retained by the vendor more than likely more than reimburses them for the cost of the failed transaction, and they additionally profit from the probability that many dissatisfied customers just won't bother applying for the refund.
By contrast, the Walmart (or elsewhere) shopper can see the identical product, try it on for size and continue looking if it doesn't fit the bill (and build).
This example is but one of the many too-good-to-be-true enticements that lurk in the shadows as we surf the Internet, randumbly punch the channel selector and/or stray into the uncensored columns of classified ads in the daily newsbladder.
Second Aside: Lest we be accused of a sexist putdown in the example used here, we hasten to cite a popular commercial which promises to get an underperforming Lothario out of one beachfront bathtub and actively into the adjoining one, which is conveniently furnished with a presumably preheated female - but here we digress again.
If you are long enough in tooth and memory, you may recall a TV pitchman named Sid Stone, who was featured on Milton Berle's “Texaco Star Theater.”
His signature presentations featured undisguised scams, followed by the come-on, “You say you're not satisfied? You say you want more for your money? Tell you what I'm gonna do....!”
He then followed each thin veneer of half-truth with yet another thin veneer of the same quality, until chased off-screen by a police whistle.
The difference between Sid's charades and much of today's television advertising is barely discernible when exposed to the harsh light of full disclosure and commonsense skepticism.
Third Aside (A new record here, by the way): If Sid Stone's weekly gig rings a bell, you are a prime target for the half-truths and unproven claims that pervade modern merchandising
My late father was fond of saying that “you'll never hear a huckster yell 'rotten fish,’” and nowhere is this advice more applicable than among the rants that are rampant in modern “badvertising,” wherein the headline giveth and the fine print taketh away.
Dad also used to say that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
These are axioms that hold up in foundation garments as well as having a foundation in fact.