7 Modern Scams (Plus 1)

scamsEver 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.

It’s Summer – Live With It!


It’s not even midsummer and I’m grouchy already.  One more 50 calibre motorcycle screaming through my tranquil afternoon and I swear I’m going to ….  Actually, I’m probably not going to do anything except grumble about it in the privacy of my own head.  That’s the problem with summer: ya can’t do anything about it.  And now that I’m on the subject, here are a few other things — ya just can’t do anything about.

The price of airline tickets is never the same as the one they advertise. — According to some recent TV ads, I can go from Vancouver to London and back for $799.00 — except I can’t.  I guarantee you, if I show up at the airline ticket counter with $800.00, I will NOT — I repeat, NOT — get a return ticket to London and a dollar change.  Why?  ‘Cause there’s the fuel surcharge, the airport fee, the sales tax. the departure gouge, the baggage scam, the seat selection swindle, the in-flight menu con job and, I’m sure, the You’re-A-Dumbass-Tourist tax is hiding in there somewhere.  The truth is, by the time the airlines get finished with all their extra charges, the price of your $799.00 ticket is so outrageous that the only thing you’ll be able to afford to do, once you get to London, is beg in the streets!

Fast food never looks like the picture. — Take a look at a photograph of the Burrito Supremo, and it’s huge: fat and round and bursting with meat, peppers and melting cheese.  You can practically smell the fried onions.  Buy it and what you get is this sorry, deflated tube of hamburger and diced veggie surprise, wrapped in an dingy grey tortilla.  Pick it up and it sags in the middle and starts oozing orange out the bottom.  (Cheese sweat?)

Nobody but Stephen Hawking can understand a contemporary telephone plan. — Like everybody on this planet, I have a mobile phone and like everybody on this planet, the person who sold it to me gave me 20 minutes of gibberish and 30 seconds to make up my mind about “Which plan is right” for me.  King Solomon had more time to make a decision, and he had information he could understand.

And there’s more:

Emails that keep on giving, even though you’ve unsubscribed — daily — for the last two weeks.
The parent in front of you at the ATM who’s trying to teach their 4-year-old how to electronically renegotiate a mortgage.
The pedestrian who’s halfway across the street and can’t figure out whether to walk, run or hide from oncoming traffic.
Coffee drinkers who abandon their empty cups wherever and whenever the whim takes them.
Joggers and cyclists who insist on traveling side-by-side and driving anyone coming the other way into the weeds to get around them.  “Yeah, you’re healthier than I am.  Big wow!”
Wine snobs.
Trump haters who refuse to change the subject — even though you’ve told them 12 times that you’ve already heard what an idiot the guy is.

And finally:

There’s going to be somebody out there who’s more than willing to point out that these are all First World Problems. — Yeah, I know, and I’m sure you’re a better person than I am — but I’m hot and sweaty and I’m not hurting anybody.  Besides, admit it or not, sometimes, it just feels good to bitch.