Monday, July 9, 2007

Misleading marketing has made me cynical

I am utterly cynical and untrusting of just about every single company I do business with. It's the big companies that have ruined me. All their fine print, twisty service agreements, bundled restricted packages, and outright lies have left me scrambling to look for the asterisk. The asterisk on all "Free!*" deals that read in fine print on the bottom, "* free with annual contract, see form 293-D section 3 column 2 at for pricing details; restrictions that will be revealed after you sign up do apply".

So when AT&T sent me a free calling card worth 150 for apparently no reason whatsoever, I regarded it with absolute suspicion. It was in a nondescript envelope with my name on it. Though I do business with AT&T, I almost shredded it because it said AUTO 29439e*#* above my name, meaning this is a general mailer (read "advertisement"). But when I opened it up, here was this folded up piece of paper with a 150 minute calling card on it.

The letter read "For being a good customer, we are giving you this 150 minute calling card..." and the letter continued on about the various services AT&T offers and how absolutely wonderful they are and I should be praising the Lord that I get to give my money to such a fantastic company.

But there was no asterisk, no fine print, no other terms anywhere to be found in this offer. It's just a free 150 minute card apparently. My wife wondered what was wrong with me. "They sent it to us for being good customers" she told me, "it says so right here," after she read the enclosed letter.

Right. AT&T just sent me something out of the kindness of their hearts? Well, I have to call and activate this thing, so I guess I will tonight. What's the worse that could happen?

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