Bait and Switch
My husband, Bernd, once did a a search for affordable term life insurance. We both have whole life policies, but they have a declining balance and as we get older, they will pay out less and less when we die. There is a side fund attached to the policies that, if we had been financially able to contribute to it, would have made a nice retirement account. But sadly it has, more often than not, been used to pay for the primary policy.
He located one policy that looked promising and got a quote on-line that seemed affordable for us, but then more information came in the mail. There were questions to be answered and so he called a representative to inquire further. Because he answered the questions honestly, his quote was increased by about 40%. He was irked. That was our word for the day. We did have some fun with it.
Our beef was, if their rates were so darn reasonable and the best in the industry, why not just be up front about the conditions and provide an accurate and truthful quote in the beginning? What could it hurt if you are genuinely competitive? And it would be so much less irksome. It’s no fun thinking you are getting an awesome deal only to find the real deal is a lot less attractive. Kind of like, you know, when the wig, the bra and the girdle finally come off. I know what you are thinking, but I’m not really talking about cross-dressers here. My step-dad married my mom anyway.
Bernd did a little more research, talked to some more people and found that the new, 40% higher quote is still relatively low and he will most likely go with that one, which he also finds to be somewhat irksome.
Then there is the whole we-just-opened-this-bright-shiny-new-gas-station-and-we-are-going-to-give-you-really-cheap-prices-in-the-beginning-and-then-sock-it-to-you-once-you-get-in-the-habit-of-buying-your-gasoline-from-us thing. How stupid do they think we are?
We had one of those bright, shiny and new gas stations open up in the commercially zoned property right at the front of the complex in which we live. Their initial gas price was very low. We have continued to use the station we always use, which is precisely 11.2 miles from our house. Their gas prices are always lower than anyone else’s. So there.
Have you ever looked at the names that the manufacturers of recreational vehicles give to their products? They are fanciful, charming, emotive and all together unrealistic: Four Winds, Horizon, Sun Voyager, Kountry Air, Southwind, Weekend War, Prowler, Monaco, Mountain Aire, and more. You get the idea. They create idyllic visions of far off places that are so much better than where you are right now and the desire to just get on the road and go. But let’s be real.
I feel that if manufacturers named them more accurately, there would be a lot less possibly not so disposable cash spent on them. There would be a lot less of them cluttering up the road, cluttering up driveways (and have you seen some of the special garages people have built to house the things?) and a lot less gas guzzled (well okay, maybe that isn’t such a valid argument after all considering how little these things are used as evidenced by our daily walks around where we live). Consider, instead, something like this: the I Paid Way Too Much For It Fifth Wheel, the It Just Sits Around Gobbling UP Insurance And Maintenance Money Trailer, and the Gee We Thought We Would Use I A Lot More Than We Do Motorhome.
This article would seem to be about calling things as they are. Guess I should look at my life and see why this is bothering me so much right now. Well, that’s not really true … it always sort of bothers me. Guess I just get bothered easily.
Regardless, I got an e-mail from my sister once in which she mentioned something about how the death of our father affected our mother’s attitudes about some things. But she didn’t write, “after Dad died.” No, she wrote, “after Dad passed.” Now I know what she meant but the thought occurred to me, “passed what?” The point of no return maybe? Some folks say, “passed on.” But passed on what, a good deal? Now that would be sad.
We have all sorts of ways to pussy foot around and come at it sideways in stead of taking the mask off and actually saying the words dead, death, die, dying, etc. Why? What difference does it make? We all know what is meant. Does “kick the bucket (can anyone tell me why this one stands for the word dead?),” “expired (as in a carton of milk maybe, yeah, that can be nasty),” “pushing up daisies (as if the dead had nothing better to do … oh wait, maybe they don’t),” or “six feet under,” really make anyone feel any better. Well, okay the funny euphemisms might get a giggle or two after a sufficient amount of time has lapsed since the loved one “went to sleep with the fishes,” but come on, why not just say it like it is?
I’m not insensitive, really I’m not. But if those words are such a problem, why are they even in the language? Many words have fallen out of usage over the years for one reason or another. Why not these then?
Some Things I Have Learned
You really can’t always get what you want, but that should never stop you from trying.
Whining and complaining will quite frequently get you want you want, but will not make you well-liked.
Anyone who is willing to listen to you tell the same story for the fifth time is a good friend and you should keep them.
It’s always a good idea to end your article with a paragraph that sums up what you have written and reinforces your main points. Oh well.