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Opinion

If you ask me: I don’t want to be bamboozled


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Aug. 02, 2022 - 10:17 AM

If you ask me: I don’t want to be bamboozled

The Newnan Times-Herald

Some people choose to further their education by studying marketing so they can get a job with a company selling a product, and thus begin a lucrative career in bamboozling the unsuspecting public.

(Yes, that would be thee and me.)

They spend their days coming up with ways to get people to come into a place of business and/or purchase a product.

Example 1: A store picks a very popular item and prices it at cost or even below cost to get customers to come into their store to purchase that item, and hopefully the customer will see several more items to buy.

But oops! The item that you went into the store to get is not on the shelf. Oh dear, it has sold out already, but that's okay, the store will gladly issue you a rain check, thereby getting you into the store at least twice on one ad.

I can understand if it is a perishable item like milk or lettuce and they sell out, but facial tissue and peanut butter are not perishable. The store was simply not sent enough of that particular merchandise to meet the demand. We have been bamboozled!

Example 2: Several years ago, Tide laundry detergent had an ad that stated, "Tide gets clothes cleaner.” Cleaner than what? Cleaner than using no detergent at all, or cleaner than washing them with stones in the river?

It doesn't say, but the marketing department knows that our mind will finish the sentence and think "Tide gets clothes cleaner than other detergents.” Bamboozled again!

Example 3: I recently purchased a 50-ounce bottle of liquid dishwashing detergent. It boasted in big letters on the front, "25% MORE!" Then, under the big letters in print so small that I had to get out my reading glasses to read it, it said, “… than the 40-ounce size.”

Well, any fifth grader could have figured that out. What my mind was tricked into thinking was that I was getting 25% more detergent free until I read the fine print. Bamboozled!

Example 4: Marketing experts are fortifying the bottom line of their companies by downsizing. A half-gallon of OJ is now, in most cases, 52 ounces.

Most half-gallons of ice cream are now a quart and a half. That box of Wheaties looks the same on the shelf, but when you pull it down you notice how thin it is.

Pick up a round plastic container of BBQ in the refrigerated section, turn it over and see how the bottom of the container is concave. The further the bottom is pushed up inside the container, the less room for the BBQ.

Some other companies are doing this to their products as well, and my brand of mayonnaise is one of them. I remember when my favorite yogurt downsized from an 8-ounce cup to a 6-ounce cup. The company referred to it as a "convenient" size, but they conveniently forgot to downsize the price.

Be careful not to confuse a roll of toilet paper with a roll of crepe paper streamers. If the toilet paper rolls get any narrower, we will be able to put two rolls on the spindle side by side. And let's not forget the very small "fun size" candy bars. Honestly, I thought eating the bigger candy bar was more fun. Bamboozled!

A friend recently gave me an old family recipe for some cookies that use cake mix. The recipe was written when a box of cake mix was 18.25 ounces, but now a box of cake mix weighs 15.25 ounces. This must be taken into consideration when measuring the other ingredients for the recipe. Downsizing is going to give us a chance to put our ratio math skills into practice in the kitchen.

There is bamboozling going on in every aspect of our life. (Fake news and fake charities come to mind.) We have to be vigilant and not have the wool pulled over our eyes.

What a silly phrase that is. What does it mean? The expression dates back to the early 1800s and means to deceive or trick someone. Remember that judges in Europe wore wigs made from wool. It is still practiced in some places.

For a period of time, it was also the practice in the United States for our founding fathers to wear woolen wigs. To pull the wool over someone's eyes depicted a deceitful person, usually a lawyer, who lied to a judge and got away with it. This is like physically pulling the wool (wig) down over the judge's eyes so that he is confused and cannot adequately make a decision based on the truth.

But I digress. It seems that many of the products that we buy are being downsized, while the prices are being upsized.

Mr. Wanderlust wants to know what takes me so long in the grocery store. Well, I have to haul out my calculator to try and figure out "paper towel and toilet paper math,” read ingredients and check expiration dates.

I am just trying not to be bamboozled.

Life is good.

Margaret Hudson Kilgore lives in Sharpsburg with her husband Gordon Kilgore (aka Mr. Wanderlust) and two furbabies, Miss Lulu Bichon and Miss Mia Maltese. Margaret can be reached at margaretkilgore160@gmail.com .