Friday, March 27, 2009

Fine Print

Have you ever stopped to read the fine print?  For the most part, just the words "fine print" stimulate your "uh oh" meter.  "Don't forget to read the fine print!"  We're warned to pay attention when signing paperwork at the doctor's office or hospital and when we rent a car. Anything important requiring signatures usually come with fine print.  Some people choose to ignore it and we usually see them on episodes of "People's Court."  There is a reason why it isn't in bold print.  Large, bold, fluorescent, underlined print catches people's attention without too much difficulty.  Spoiler alert!!  Paperwork that comes with fine print has information they don't want you to read!  If they wanted you to read it, they wouldn't make it super tiny.  

So that means that fine print is often bad.  At the hospital, the fine print pretty much says that if you should die or come out of surgery with a limb missing, it isn't their fault.  At the doctor, the fine print says that if your insurance doesn't pay for a really expensive lab, you still have to pay for it.  No one really knows what the fine print says on your retirement account because there is so much fine print they have to send you a phone book sized addendum and no human being has ever bothered to read it all.  

Fine print on advertisements is usually bad too.  "Buy our product!  Use our service!  It is so amazing!"  The fine print tells you a different story.   Our medicine is great!  Except is causes nausea and headache.  I lost 79 pounds!  Results not typical.  6 days, 7 nights of sun-filled paradise!  Travel available only during monsoon season.  The information in the bold, sparkly writing is usually what makes you want to buy the product.  The information in the fine print is what makes you change your mind.

But sometimes, on a few rare occasions, the fine print is the ultimate in hilarity.  Tonight, while watching TV, I saw a commercial for Excedrin.  Excedrin is usually my headache medicine of choice, so I watched with interest as they marketed the new formula which claimed to deliver the medicine at an accelerated speed.  Excedrin Express Gels promised to relieve a headache in only 15 minutes.  Excedrin Extra Strength Express Gels.  I just love the alliteration.  It was a great commercial, too.  They turned the pill into a rocket and sent it flying through the air. It continues around the room with a trail of smoke behind it so you understand just how fast this medicine will work.  I even thought, "Wow!  I already like Excedrin but something that can work in 15 minutes?  Even better!"  Then came the fine print.  Dramatization.  And at that moment, I changed my mind.  Just like that, I no longer wanted the product. 

But maybe it is for the best.  I mean, what if Excedrin left out the fine print, and I went ahead and purchased Excedrin Express Gels?  What if I took those pills home, opened the bottle, and after waiting several minutes, realized that the commercial had dramatized their advertising? That in fact, the little pill mutating into a rocket ship and flying around with a trail of smoke was not actually real but merely a dramatization?  

So I encourage you to read all fine print.  Not just for your well-being and safety, but for your amusement.  It will knock your socks off!  Dramatization.  No socks actually blown off while reading fine print.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Daredevil in high heels

To the lady walking across the street last night:

I was very happy to stop while you crossed the street even though it wasn't a designated crosswalk.  I also understood that you needed to take your time going across the street because it was dark and starting to rain.

I even understood that you were slowed down a little more by the 4 inch spike heeled boots you were wearing.  I probably would have had to stand on tip toe and bunny hop across the street in heels like that, so I'm impressed that you were even ambulatory.

What I fail to understand is that while you were leisurely crossing the street illegally, in the dark, while it was raining, in your super tall boots, you also felt the need to continue TEXT MESSAGING.  

Perhaps you can explain why that text message was so important that you were willing to risk getting smashed by a car to finish punching the keys.  Were you so distracted that you didn't even have a little hesitancy in your choice to pick your way across a street in your precarious footwear?  Maybe you didn't realize you were crossing the street.  Perhaps in your boots you couldn't sense that the sidewalk had changed to asphalt.  

I'm wondering who I would have to be texting that would be so urgent that I would put myself in that perilous situation.

Or why I needed to cross the street at that moment.  That mid-text and step I would say to myself, "Self, we just have to plow through," and then take a breath and step off the curb.

It isn't safe, kids.  It's just not safe.