Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sneaky F*cker

This is a term often used by my late father. I have found cause to use it today and thought I’d share the secrets of (un)truth in advertising.

I am a catalogue girl. As a child I poured over medical supply catalogues for biology classrooms with pictures of torsos with all the internal organs exposed and dreamed of having one. I know, I was weird.  I loved the Sears “Wish Book” and would circle all the things I would get if I was a millionaire. Some were practical, some were fanciful, most were for me but some were for gifts. It didn’t matter that I would probably never own these things--the wishing was enough.

There is a catalogue shop here in the UK called Argos.  You go in, flip through the “laminated book of dreams” as comedian Bill Bailey calls it and choose your item. You write the item down on a piece of special paper with a wee pencil like you use playing Miniature Golf and then after you pay, you sit and wait until your number is called. The shop seems quite small but the hidden warehouse must be MASSIVE for within a few minutes your item magically appears.

However, we have learned to be wary of the catalogue descriptions. The cheaper the item the less they tell you about it. The more expensive the more detail you get. See what I mean? Sneaky F*cker.

When I was in the market for a sewing machine I debated long and hard about paying £20 extra for one with a Toyota motor (who knew Toyota did more than cars?) and I finally decided to go with the cheaper one and ya know what? The cheaper one came with a Toyota motor as well, it just didn’t say so. Sneaky F*cker.

So I have been wanting an exercise ball really badly. You know the kind--you blow it up like an enormous beach ball and then you do exercises on it and it engages your core muscles as it is all wobbly. Well, we’re  a bit low on cash at the moment owing to our upcoming trip back to the US so I was worried about paying a lot. The cheapest ball (labelled Value Ball) was £4.99 and was *just* the right height for me, meaning the smallest ball. It is made for people under 5”4 which I am. But the more expensive they got the more they said came with it. You could pay £9.99 for a hand pump and £14.99 for one that came with a  foot pump. My pilates teacher said the hand pumps were crappy and to go for a cheaper model and borrow her pump or get one from school for blowing up footballs.  I still debated about it. It would be more convenient to get a foot pump that I could use at my disposal,  but ultimately a little voice in the back of my head said to get the Value Ball.

I am *so* glad I did because guess what? The £4.99 Value Ball came with a foot pump. Uh huh. You heard me. I almost shelled out £14.99 for one but ended up getting it for  £4.99. But no where in the catalogue does it say that. See what I mean--the ultimate sneaky f*cker. The pump was easy peasy to use and I got the ball blown up on my own and am now sitting on it as I type and I love it. It is so comfortable and forces me not to slouch and keep correct sitting posture that I think I will never sit in a chair again.  I did a few exercises on it and I can really feel the difference. My only complaint is it seems to pick up every bit of dust or grit or bit of thread from the floor which just tells me I need to hoover. That’s not the ball’s fault.

So let that be a lesson to us all. Advertisers lie like a dog (if sins of omission are lies which I believe they are) and sometimes you get what you (don’t) pay for. Oh and beware of Sneaky F*ckers.