Friday, March 6, 2009

Why get it for free when you can BUY it?

When you get off the metro at the National Mall in Washington, DC there are always guys to greet you and offer to sell you maps of the Mall, showing you where all the museums are and what their hours of operation are. If you don't purchase one of these maps, you'll have to wait until you actually walk into one of the (free) museums to pick one up (for free.)

That's right- the guys standing in front of the metro station are offering to sell you maps they snatched up at the information booths in the museums and which are available to all comers, for free.

Kind of sleazy, right? Maybe you'd even call it a fleecing, or a rip off. Well then, how are we to describe what the good people at offer us in radio and television commercials?

We all know the commercials featuring the idiot with the guitar, singing his tales of woe- how his whole life went down the toilet because someone stole his identity, and oh if ONLY he had taken advantage of, he could have prevented the disaster which brought him down "like an atom bomb" (to borrow from the lyrics of one of his commercials.

Side Note- is this guy the unluckiest shmuck in the universe, or what? First, the theft of his identity reduces him to dressing up like Judge Reinhold in Fast Times at Ridgmont High and selling fish to "tourists in t-shirts." Later, we see him living in his mother-in-law's basement with his new wife, who had her credit stolen. I think when the asteroid that ultimately kills us all finally slams into the Earth, it will land on this guy's house. Or basement. sells a service you are entitled to for FREE- everyone is entitled to a free accounting of their credit score from each of the scoring industries every single year. If you sign up for a "free" credit report from, you'll get a "free" credit report- but you'll also get 11 credit reports over the next year which will cost you $14.95 each.

That's right- you'll pay almost $180 for something you are entitled to for FREE. Of course, you get 12 credit reports instead of one, but you only need that many reports if the commercials have made you paranoid that Identity Thieves are stalking you, waiting for you to drop your guard for a moment so they can swoop in and steal your good name. Better get constant updates on your credit, or you'll be doomed to holding down crappy jobs (Why? What does having bad credit have to do with getting a decent job? It makes NO SENSE!) and living in basements.

One more snark- the commercial that shows the moron playing an electric guitar at a Renaissance Faire. Fail, fail, fail!! I'll admit to being enough of a geek to like Renaissance Faires, and I can tell you that none worth the title would allow a performer to use an electric guitar!

If you still want to sign up for, I have some maps of the National Mall I'd like to sell you.

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