Played for FOOLS


Don't draw any gender conclusions but has anyone else seen the recent wave of advertisements for programs that allow you to buy and sell stuff using an App on your phone?  Do you actually listen to the advertisements?  The punch line of the advertisement is that this one person has been able to pay for her vacation by selling stuff using this App.  Now ask yourself, what stuff is she selling?  Where does it come from?  The funny part of the advertisement is that they don't explain that you are SELLING your stuff, what you paid for and have decided you don't need it anymore and want to sell it to get money.  Now think it all the way through - you are selling something for less than you paid for it and probably will use the money you get to pay off the credit card you used to buy the item in the first place.  The real question you need to ask is simple: "Why did you buy it in the first place?"


Now consider the flip side - they want you to buy used merchandise at a discount from retail because someone else bought it and decided to get rid of it.  Now for the real question - are you so self-absorbed that you need to define yourself based on the labels of your clothes (also include shoes and purses) designer?  If you can't afford to $800 for a pair of shoes, how can you possibly justify spending $400 for the same shoes?  Re-evaluate your priorities.


In speaking with a woman (don't draw conclusions because men do this too), her comment was that there is a SALE at some brand name store and she just has to go in and buy something.  The question posed was: "Do you NEED a new purse from this store?"  The answer is always the same: don't NEED, but MUST BUY.  Why is that the response?  


Advertising is intended to perform one purpose, convince you to change your opinion of your need for a product or service.  These advertisements try to appear like they are informing you of critical information but if you look closely and REALLY listen then you can figure out the deception.  Again, don't get the wrong impression, this is true of all advertisements and all products.


The worse part is that some companies are tying their product to social conscience issues.  There is a water company that wants you to buy their product so children can experience the JOY of art at their school, what does school art have to do with the tastes or nutritional value of water?  There is another water company that highlights a budding romance between two people that lock eyes across an airport as she drinks from a bottle of water.  Of course, he moves over to her only to find she has moved on but left the bottle of water with a note on the outside to meet in some distant location.  Seriously?  When was the last time anyone had a romantic relationship from a common desire for water?  Art and Romance have nothing to do with drinking water except for 1) the water is overpriced or 2) the water tastes bad, but they are selling you on the idea that you can be a better person by drinking their water.  Seriously?  Water has one purpose, to hydrate the body and if you eat a properly nutritionally balanced diet then you do not need any chemicals in the water but now your water has purpose.


One of the primary common tactics in advertising is to tell only part of the truth.  They do this because they rely on the stupidity of the average consumer.  Insurance companies sell you on their Apps or their experience in handling strange claims but the only important concern for most people is the cost over the long term.  if these strange claims has caused them to incur excessive claims and their rates are higher than everyone else, they won't talk about that part.  The other good tactic is to talk about the one thing that they do better than others like reducing your auto deductible if you don't have an accident, that is all well and good but if the rates are higher than everyone else, then you are already paying for the savings.  As with just about everything, don't buy anything on impulse, research and compare then find the most cost-effective price.


The point is that if you look, you find the flaw in every advertisement.  Are they telling you about the product or are they telling you how good you will look in this product.  This tactic is often used in automobile advertising.  From a purely financial perspective, the most important concern with any vehicle is the long-term cost.  Ever notice how you are never told the reduction in value of the vehicle from the moment you sign the contract to the moment you trade it in?  Vehicles have very limited functions: 1) transport the driver (and passengers) from one location to another, 2) carry stuff from one location to another.  Seriously - this is all there is.  Many people throw the comfort of the ride into the mix: padded seats, air conditioning, shock absorbency, ease of handling, and these components can change the price dramatically so one of the options is the frequency that these items will make a difference.  Considering the paved roads then the shock absorbency is a reflection of driving skills not the vehicle.  Considering the duration of most rides, will the padded seats or air conditioning make that much of a difference?  Purely financial, the most important issue with a vehicle is the cost per mile over the life of the vehicle.  Remember, on special occasions, you can rent a vehicle so the issue is only on the every day activity.  Most important, unlike buying a house which goes up in value if maintained, a vehicle drops in price every year so everything relating to a vehicle is an expense, not an investment.


The other option is using scare tactics to get you to buy something like vaccines or medicine.  One advertisement says that the disease is only lethal to one in 100,000 but if you are subject to this disease, it can kill you in 24 hours.  Ever wonder if there is a cheap test you can take before putting a new vaccine in your system?  Of course not, they can't make money like that.  It is funny that we are supposed to get prescriptions from our doctor but now medicine companies want us to go in and tell the doctor what new medication we need.