A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Ever since Achmed the Unwashed tried to sell the Pyramids to a couple of unsuspecting Greek tourists (Herodotus, you idiot!) there have been scam artists bent on separating the terminally naive from their money. For example, the Brooklyn Bridge has been sold so many times it’s become a cliché. Likewise, if you were to stack all the bits of the Berlin Wall sold since 1989, they’d probably reach into the stratosphere. Over the centuries, there has been no shortage of con games and no shortage of victims. However, it’s only in recent history that the ripoff has become institutionalized. Here are seven perfectly legal scams (plus one) that are perpetrated on all of us every day.
Diamonds – Diamonds are so expensive because of one unassailable principle: a man will spend an obscene amount of money to avoid looking like a cheap bastard – especially when it comes to a probable wife or potential mistress.
Coffee – Retail coffee out of a paper cup is absolute proof that most people can’t do math.
Water – Here in the affluent West, water is so cheap and plentiful that we pee in it, yet millions of people spend billions of dollars, pounds and euros buying it in bottles. Folks, bottled water is — water – in a bottle! It’s no coincidence that Evian™ spelled backwards is naive.
Extended Warranties – This is air. You just bought a handful of air.
Weddings – Weddings are so expensive because of one unassailable principle: a woman will spend an obscene amount of money to impress her friends.
Funerals – The place where sadness meets ruthless. Funeral parlours have you by the emotional short hairs — and they know it. What are you going to do? Toss Aunt Sarah into a ditch? Burn her in the back garden?
Skin Products – There is no magical formula that will stop the aging process. If there were, do you really think you could buy it in a tube for $19.95?
And my personal favourite:
The Apple Logo – The grandfather of all con jobs! The only difference between Apple™ and ordinary is – uh – nothing! Apparently, the half-chewed Apple logo is worth somewhere between 200 and 1,000 dollars — depending on how badly you want to get robbed.