‘Why I despise shonky television shopping deals’

May 19, 2019
Credit card at the ready! Source: Getty Images

Modern advertisers, mainly working in the television format, come up with some brilliant ideas to bamboozle their public. While a lot of the advertisements are very clever, there are also quite a few I find intensely annoying, as much as anything because their creators seem to take it for granted that we are a bunch of idiots, who will swallow any pill presented!

One of the worst formats, which unfortunately seems to be growing in popularity with some advertisers (so I can only suppose it works for them), is the one where an excited description of the product is given, backed up by film shots of women destroying themselves using the old ‘Product A’ of whatever it is, and then the silky smoothness with which the job can be done by ‘Product X’.

That part isn’t so terrible and I can laugh off the idiotic over-acting of the people using the first product, before the new equipment is presented to them. It’s the next part that intensely annoys me, where the announcer says he and his company have come up with a really special offer for the viewers — one the purchaser cannot refuse!

He then says the product will be sent for just $19 postage, to try for 30 days, and if it doesn’t suit simply send it back for a full refund (postage not included), no questions asked! Not only that, but if purchasers of this magical piece of rubbish buy within the hour a second product will be sent ‘absolutely free’. Then a large printed phone number appears.

You may have noticed one vital piece of information has not been mentioned in the above paragraph and this isn’t a mistake on my part. No, they don’t tell you how much the ‘thing’ is going to be. Now just as an experiment, I phoned one of these companies to ask them just how much it was actually going to cost me. I’m sure you aren’t surprised when I tell you the girl on the other end of the line refused to give me this important information, unless I first told her my credit card number! We had a short argument about this situation and then I hung up, satisfied what I had guessed was in fact true — I was expected to commit myself to purchase before they would tell me how much I was spending, should I decide to keep the goods.

Can you imagine going into Bunnings (for example), filling your trolley with goods from the shelves, none of which have the price marked, taking them to the till where a young lady adds up the total price without telling you what it is, and then she takes your credit card and completes the sale, before telling you how much you have spent? It sounds stupid put that way, doesn’t it, yet that is exactly what these companies are asking us to do!

There’s that extra bit of nonsense that annoys me intensely too — the one where they tell you that you’ll get a second one free if you buy now (and they might be selling something like a set of cosmetics, or a decorated toilet seat, or a vacuum cleaner). This immediately tells me two things, one that the product is at most worth half of what they’re asking and two, who the hell wants two of the product anyway, regardless of how big a bargain you’re going to find it is once they eventually tell you how much it’s all going to cost.

There are many other examples of shonky television advertising I’ve come across. I just wish we could see some decent advertising for a change, advertising where we are treated like intelligent adults!

Have you shopped online or from television advertising? Have you ever gone to purchase an item unsure of what it’s final cost will be?

Do you have a story to share with Starts at 60? We want to publish it. Sign up as a contributor and submit your stories to Starts at 60. Stories written by over-60s go into the draw for some great weekly prizes. You can also join the Starts at 60 Bloggers Club on Facebook to talk to other writers in the Starts at 60 community and learn more about how to write for Starts at 60.

Stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox

Sign up to our daily newsletter for more great stories

Leave your comment

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up