Economics

Things that Baffle: Part II

In my article, Things That Baffle, I focused on things that really bug me. But now, I would like to add to that list. Maybe some of you have the same feelings.

Did you ever go on Yahoo and read some of their “news articles?” It used to be an interesting thing to do before Yahoo added an advertisement to every article on their site. If you have a few hours, great. But if not, the articles accompanied by the ads make it impossible.

Or how about the new format for Yahoo articles? Yahoo lists an article and then posts about 12 words that make you want to read further. So you click on the article. Then Yahoo gives you a teaser of about six or eight lines more that then forces you to click again on “read more” to read the entire article. Why not just print the damn article? What a dumb idea. Why is it necessary to keep clicking? Or how about the articles that make you take a short survey before you can actually read the article.

Or still better, how about the new articles that make you click on a dozen “next” arrows to view the full article? Like the “best ten tax ideas for the coming year?” You read one then click on “next” and wait for their antiquated system to take you to the next great tax idea.

How about the pharmaceutical advertisements that tell you to “do not take Invokana, if you are allergic to Invokana.” Now how would you know if you are allergic to the drug unless you had already taken it and had an adverse reaction? What is wrong with this picture?

The government is already in debt to the general public and foreign countries to the tune of $20 trillion dollars. So what is our new president elect proposing? He wants to add to the staggering debt but it appears to be acceptable to the public and media if it “stimulates” the economy. This is sort of like the guy on the verge of bankruptcy getting a half dozen new credit cards. What does it matter what you spend your money on if you don’t have the money to begin with?

Ever notice how the ads for instant weight loss seem to be disappearing from the TV. Always happens after the FDA cracks down on false claims.

Ever notice that the warnings on prescription medicines are getting more numerous especially the warnings that are taped to the bottle and contain about 10,000 words in print so small there is no magnifying glass made than would enlarge the print to make it readable. This is sort of like the disclaimers in miniature print on the bottom of the television advertisements that stay on the screen for about four seconds.

How about the J.D. Powers questionnaire on how you like your new car after having had it for 3 days. They never send out the questionnaire after you have had the car for three months. The ratings are better at 3 days as the car has not broken down yet.

How about car loans that last longer than the car. Many people are “upside down” on their car loans when they go to trade the car in after 4 or 5 years. The reason that they are “upside down” is that they still have one or two years to pay on their loan. Happens every time you take a loan out for 72 months.

Today “false advertising” has been replaced by incomplete or misleading advertising. The ad says “lease this 2017 model for $159.00 a month.” Yes, you can but then when you add the taxes and fees, the monthly lease cost is $309.00 per month. I love the “gadget ads” that come on during the day. Buy a bottle of this silver cleaner for $9.99 and in small print it adds “plus separate shipping and handling.” This, of course, raises the cost of the bottle to $14.99.

How about the Buy Gold ads? There are always a bunch of people standing around clapping while some representative from a non-existent U.S. Government agency tells you about the merits of buying gold at a price they have inflated so that you would have to hold the gold for 25 years to break even. Yes, gold does go up in price but it requires you to sell that gold bar or coin to reap the increase in price. So if the price goes up to $1,306 dollars an ounce from $1,256 dollars an ounce, you now have the burden of selling your Krugerrand  through a dealer who will most undoubtedly ask for a sales commission plus the insured shipping cost and guess what? It was not such a good deal after all.


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About the author

Donald Wittmer

DONALD WITTMER is a retired business executive who held key roles in the automotive and banking sectors. For a time, he also served as a Fiscal Agency Manager for the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He received his undergraduate degree from Cincinnati's Xavier University, an M.A. in business management from Central Michigan University, and earned certification in bank operations from the School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A husband, father, and grandfather, he teaches part-time at the Kent Place School for Girls in Summit, New Jersey.

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