Spectator: There Are Some Limitations


By the Spectator, John Maloney

At some time or another most of us have heard the claims on radio and television about the fabulous claims of some products, medicines, bank claims, credit card rates, cars, trucks, and vacation get-a-ways.

The premature offer seems too good to be true and more often than not that is the case. You’ve all heard the car offer that talks about no money down, one percent interest, no payment for six months, drive the car off the lot with a three month supply of gas. It’s a fantastic offer. And then, the commercial continues with the announcer talking about some restrictions. Only this time he is speed talking about 160 words a second (or so it seems) and you have no idea what he is talking about.

The Spectator, using his great knowledge of technology, was able to slow down one of these commercials and discover what some of the restrictions were to getting the fabulous deal that was offered.

Well, to begin with, you have to prove that a relative of yours fought at the Battle of Little Big Horn. It doesn’t matter whether he fought with Custer or with the Indians. After that you must show that you have at least $50,000 in given checking account and $100,000 in given savings account. You must have lost your right pinky finger in a hunting accident or bitten by a great white shark. You must be exactly six feet tall in your stocking feet, and last but not least you must be able to whistle the song “Dixie”.

Meet the above requirements and the car is yours as promised. Of course it will never happen, but the offer is there.

I keep getting offers from many banks telling me that I have been pre-approved for their Platinum or Gold or Zinc credit card with a credit limit of $75,000. All I have to do is sign my name to the enclosed forms and mail it back to the banks. They might also include some checks for me to use immediately until my credit card arrives. I may use these checks for vacation, buy a plane, pay tuition, consolidate debts, buy a condominium on Park Avenue, or a box seat at Yankee Stadium.

On the back of the application there are a number of paragraphs under the heading “Restrictions Apply.” The print is so small that you would need the Hubble Space Telescope to read the restrictions.

This is what you are likely to find under the restrictions:

If you are of sound mind and sound body you need not apply. Often applies to residents of Wyoming, Southern Rhodesia, Fiji Islands, and Bomeo. Preference will be given to males born in the southern hemisphere provided they have been castrated. Credit card may only be used once in a six-month period and then it will become void unless you wish to renew it at a 40 percent interest rate. If the card is used for tuition at college, the cardholder must maintain an A+ average in all subjects including Russian, Chinese, and Hindu. Failure to do so will mean forfeiture of the card and penalty payment of $25,000. Check may not be used for the purpose of any purchases other than to get out of jail in a Monopoly game. Readers of the Rockland County Times are not eligible for any of the offers promised in the letter. We realize that readers of the Times are too intelligent to fall for this phony promotion!

I also get a kick out of the gimmicks sold on TV and they are quick to remind you that you cannot, I repeat, cannot buy this item in any store on the face of the Earth.

One item was a combination slicer, peeler, and stacker. “No need to cry when slicing onions,” said the announcer. “No more slicing your finger – we offer you now The Magic Slicer for just $9.95 plus handling.” Then he demonstrates how it slices and peels in 20 different ways and how it folds away to the size of a box of matches. If you call the number on the screen within 15 minutes he will throw in another magic slicer, but wait, in addition you will receive a cook book with 200 slicing recipes and a dozen samurai swords if you’re contemplating a Japanese form of suicide, but wait there’s more, act now and he will throw in another magic slicer, three gallons of Pepto-Bismol and 50 pounds of onions, all for $9.95 plus shipping and handling. Act within the next two minutes and get an autographed picture of Lady Gaga wearing only a designer apron!

If not completely satisfied your money will cheerfully be returned (except for the shipping and handling).

When you call the number you get the complete information. The item in question has to be assembled, all 150 pieces. The instructions will cost you $10. No credit cards accepted. Cash or check only. All the items in the offer will be handled many times. The cost to you is $9.95 plus all applicable taxes. The handling charges come to $198.50, and the shipping is $350.00 delivered to your doorstep or someone else’s doorstep. And Lady Gaga sends you her mother’s picture instead of hers.

Of course what usually happens is that a few weeks later you go to the mall and there is the item you saw on TV being sold in a store that says “As Seen on TV”. The price is the same, you only get one but there is no handling and shipping charges. Oh, you don’t get Lady Gaga’s picture, but hey be grateful for the little things in life.


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