I’ve never responded to an infomercial or any seems-too-good-to-be-true advertisement. I have an inbred skepticism and mistrust for the misleading, exaggerated and even blatantly false statements and assertions these marketers offer as truth.
Husband is much more trusting than I, and it’s a quality I cherish. I’ve had to burst his bubble about the validity of the assertions in infomercials, and it was not fun. I hate to be the one to burst his bubble.
Today Husband came home from work, kissed me on the cheek and handed me a slip of paper. “Find out what the catch is,” he requested. “Some guy bought a a million of those Natural Cure books and is giving them away for free!”
He is, of course, referring to Kevin Trudeau’s book Natural Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About, which is being hawked by Trudeau ad nauseum all over the infomercial airwaves.
He’d heard a commercial on the radio about this free offer (radio commercial assertion bubbles are apparently still intact), and I was pleased to see that his first comment (“See what the catch is…”) means that he’s trying to grow a little bit of skepticism. Be still my heart.
“Hon,” I said, “It’s Kevin Trudeau – the smarmy infomercial guy! Besides, I’m positive it’s not free. They’re probably going to charge something like $9.95 for shipping and handling or something…”
“That’s why I want you to call!” he reasoned.
So I call. Lo and behold, there is a shipping and handling charge. And it’s $9.95. Am I good, or am I great?
I politely ask why they charge $9.95 for shipping when the media mail rate is only about $3. I smile as he hems and haws, telling me he’s never been able to mail a book for that little with anyone. I explain about media mail rates, and he tells me I’m wrong and counters with having to pay the people that pack and ship it. I don’t push it. I just wanted to have some fun…
Besides, Husband is on a tear to find ways to outsmart his diabetes, and he really wants the book. So I turn my brain off and give them my credit card number so I can have $9.95 worth of uselessness sent to me.
And then the real push for the real product begins…
They offer me a $25 gift certificate to WalMart and a $25 prepaid gas card for free if I agree to try out their two great money saving programs. The programs will save me money on groceries, gift cards, hotels, Carnival Cruises, and all I need to do is pay $1 each for the two clubs for a thirty day trial period. I can cancel at any time in the first thirty days if I’m not satisfied. If I decide to keep my memberships I’ll be charged the low, low price of $16.95 per month if I don’t cancel.
They don’t ask me if I want it – they tell me, “Of course you’ll be taking advantage of that…”
“No, thank you.” I say.
I immediately am treated to another sixty second treatise of the wonders of these two programs, ending with an equally conspiratorial encouragement from my buddy to start saving now.
“No, thank you.”
But he’s sure I don’t mean that. After all, how can I be sure I don’t want the programs until I’ve read everything about them? He didn’t stop to hear my answer to that question (The same way I’m sure I don’t want to join the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization…) but went into the spiel again.
“No thank you.”
But I can’t possibly be understanding the wondermous offer that’s being presented to me. Repeat spiel.
“No, thank you.”
He’s sure if I just read the materials… At this point I ask Husband if he’s following this. He tells me to hang up…
“No, thank you.”
When he starts again I say, “How many times are we going to do this?”
“Do what?” he asks, though he knows exactly what I mean.
“Go back and forth with me politely declining and you politely trying to change my mind.”
“But you just don’t understand,” he begins. “No, YOU don’t understand,” I interrupt. “I do not want to join. I want the book I ordered and nothing more, please.”
“But that doesn’t make sense,” he continues. “You have to read the materials to decide if you want it or not.”
“Look,” I say. “If the next words out of your mouth are not ‘Thank you for your order. Have a nice day…’ I am going to cancel my order completely.”
“You can’t tell me what to say!”
“Please cancel my order.” I am, after all, a woman of my word.
“I’m just doing my job,” he protests as he cancels the order.
“I understand. That’s why I’ve been polite. Now, by canceling the order, I’m doing my job.”
After I got off the phone I googled the names of the two discount companies they were trying to get me to join: EZ Saver and American Leisure. Charges of unauthorized billings are numerous.
Bubbles burst: One.
Bullets dodged: Two. Three if you count the useless material in Kevin Trudeau’s book.