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Updated on January 14, 2011

We are sold through deceit, dishonesty and "the sin of omission"


We are a nation of liars. We exaggerate, embellish, fabricate, intentionally omit and outright lie to achieve our goals. On just about every level of our communications with one another, in our presentations and solicitations, advertisements and even news reporting; the spoken and written word is fraught with conjecture, suggestion, omission and blatant dishonesty.

We never get the ‘full story,’ the entire truth. NEVER! What we are fed is a line of BS designed to prompt desired behaviors. Advertisers are great at the art of manipulation. The facecream which promises to “reduce the appearance of fine lines.” The pharmaceutical company hawking the latest and greatest drug suggests that this particular medicine may effect depression, aches and pains, whatever we try, desperately, to avoid in our day to day experience; remove from our daily existence.

Cosmetics companies use 16 year old models in their push to sell middle aged women the panacea that all women of that age are believed to be seeking. Full, luxurious hair if you use this product, mile long lashes if you choose this makeup, an 18 year old body if you go online and sign up for this program. Never mind that image of perfection sold to potential buyers is, naturally, all the things that age tends to make less and less available. Do these egregious sellers really think that women are so desperate as to believe their product will actually lead to that youthful image?

Of course, there is the reality of the unwritten but tacit understanding that there is more to the story than meets the eye. You must read between the lines, read the fine print. There is always so much more said there than in the multi million dollar, polished and professionally produced efforts foisted upon us by the purveyors of greed and disenchantment.

Cable companies, cellular/mobile businesses, TV franchises; all dangle the delicious carrot before our eyes. “This package is only $29.99 a month“…until you continue to read and find that there are all kinds of add on costs and that most of your desired programming is not available. AND, in some instances; the promotion we read or view paints a picture of inexpensive rates only to find that these kick in after you’ve paid the normal rates for the first year of your mandatory 2 year contract. So, all those sought after savings we’ve been fed via word and image are only hooks to entice new subscribers. Then, when that first bill arrives; whoa! Surprise!

We’ve all watched the TV automobile commercials where all types of grand claims of performance that flies high above the competition, gas mileage which compares to no other competitor, loan rates and endurance which is equal to none. And, without a single exception, they all carry the very rapidly scrolling, miniscule print at the bottom of the screen. Required by law, the purpose is to lay all the cards on the table; list the disclaimers, prerequisites, limitations and exceptions to the touted ‘great deal’ being pushed on the viewing public. This, as we all know well, is a phenomenal joke! Who can ‘read the fine print’ as it moves at speeds even a speed reader could not comprehend. The size of this information is so small that one would have to stand right in front of the screen with a magnifying glass in order to catch even a bit of it. Yet, even when presented this way, it is considered legal “let the buyer beware,”

Rebates are another of the favorite come-ons offered by huge mega-comglomerates. “If you purchase our product, all you have to do is fill out the form and receive your rebate.” “Only $99.99 after rebate!”

Yeah, right! Have you ever experienced the time consuming dispute known as collecting your ‘rebate?’ Well, I have. And, in 3 out of 4 instances, this resulted in a year long battle which required going all the way to the top echelon of the company in order to claim my rightful rebate.

Somehow, the companies find ways to, “sadly“, inform the clueless customer that they did not fill out the form correctly, did not file in time, did not include all the necessary attachments, did not fax rather than mail, did not offer ‘proof of purchase,’ and, my favorite; “we have no record of your account.” Funny; I’m talking to this particular company representative on the very product for which I have applied for my rightful rebate; one which I have been paying on account monthly for 6 months now and, somehow, they don’t have me in their system. So, I inform them of this and, still; no relief. All my efforts, no matter how factual, result in having to climb the corporate ladder to the very top rung in order to register my complaint so that I might get my just return.

So, too, have been experiences with other establishments which want that business! Oh how they do! But, surely, the ill informed customer (oops! that’s consumer, now!) should NOT expect the company to live up to it’s promise. However, should the consumer find themselves in a position of paying the bill late; oh…there are add ons, penalties and more.

Most items for sale in this country come with a huge caveat, big disclaimers, and minute print which is where the real information is. Along with the unclear sales pitches are loads of verbiage protecting the industry from failure to provide the very service, performance, and/or results promised.

Politicians use double speak and “what the definition of is is” type obfuscation to achieve election, support, donations from the public while, in effect, they have actually said nothing of substance. Deniability is built into every bit of communication, including most correspondence which arrives in our mail boxes and email. Dancing around actual facts and figures; most politicians use terms such as “may,” “might,” “could,” “what if,” and so on, with the hope that the mere suggestion of a possibility will spur donations, votes, support for bills and remove any detractions from whatever the politico happens to want.

Political campaigns are great participants in the Big Lie. Speech writers, poll takers and campaign managers are not strangers to this methodology and are proficient in extending the deceit on all levels. It’s called “spin.“ Whichever way the political winds blow; that is the approach taken to placate the masses in order to gain desired ends. The ability to use vague terminology, to use phrases which, when dissected, are found to only appear to say something tangible but, in truth, have said nothing which can be held answerable. Entire presentations fashioned in such as way as to be, intentionally but imperceptibly, implausible and, therefore, when questioned, deniable and, therefore, without responsibility.

Of course, there’s the old “ bait and switch,” as well as the “you could be eligible…,” “be the first 100 callers,” and, the always enticing, “you may be entitled to compensation for injury and medical expenses!” (For the most part, those legal eagles who are inviting you to join their ‘class action’ lawsuit stand to profit exceedingly at your, literal and figurative, expense.) Then, there is the always popular “get TWO for the price of one, just pay additional handling and shipping.

Beware! When you hear any of the above, be ready to pay much much more for way less than is promised! Watch out for hidden clauses, bloated S&H charges and additional ‘fees and costs.’ Nothing is as it seems when it comes to big selling crusades! Don’t take these at face value because, unfortunately, what you see is not what you get.

Wrap this all up using an industry, a profession which specializes in the biggest, most deceptive 'sale' of all....the practice of law. Schooled to be adept at altering the meaning of words and phrases; attorneys at law excell in clouding the generally understood meaning of words in order to win the case; right or wrong. Referring to the beginning of this article, the conundrum of "what the meaning of is is" is, tellingly, the least of the problems with our legal system and it's tendency to manipulate the truth. As in the 'big sale,' the original purpose of the law; to seek justice has been perverted to a "win the case no matter the cost to the greater good, and no matter the cost to the fabric of our society.

Sadly, we have come to this. Apparently, the truth is not good enough, reality is boring or uninteresting and in need of enhancement. In our over stimulated environment, the simple facts are just not enough. What has happened as a consequence is that buyers have become suspicious and untrusting when deluged with sales ads, promotions and pitches offering a bigger than life outcome. Cynicism ensues and the beauty of the free market and the letter/spirit of the law has been tarnished by the massive effort by far too many who stand to gain by selling us the BIG LIE!


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    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Oh...I'm SO GLAD you "bought a different vehicle!" You are right, d.williams..most of us have gotten the message! the REAL message..and that is not to trust. Which is the sad part of all this; that we, automatically, know we are being lied to and misled...which is just too bad. It shouldn't be this way but, alas...such is life. Thank you so much for reading and commenting...very valued imput, d.williams!!

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      This is an excellent and comprehensive account of our current state of greed in this country, and around the world, sad to say. I don't think there is much negativism, or pessimism, in telling the truth. But i do think that the people in general have learned not to believe much of what they are told by advertisers, merchandiser, or anyone else trying to hawk their wares. The one i like is when you see an ad for automobile sales that states: 0% financing for the "well qualified". When asked what that means they try to skirt the issue, but when pressed, it means your must have a credit score of 850 or you do not qualify. Mine was 780, and i was too much of a risk to qualify for that 0% financing. ?? Needless to say, i bought a different vehicle.

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      MM...unfortuntely so. I hate being so pessimistic but, sadly, there is reason for being so. "Let the buyer beware." A slogan designed to warn against a skewed system. Too bad we must 'beware.' Thankfully, there ARE genuinely honest purveyors, still. I wrote this one day after a particularly frustrating phone conversation w/one of the rebate reps. who was doing everything possible to deny my legitimate claim. I won! however! Thank you for your comment!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      There is very, very little we can buy these days without being scammed. You nailed it -- we either succomb to unrealistic promises (loved the teenaged models selling to middle aged women -- so true!). But the worst is things are so complicated by the seller that OF COURSE we're falling into their trap. Who has the time, patience or even desire to read all the fine print of our credit cards, cable service, cell phone service -- EVERYTHING is stacked and not in the consumer's favor.

      Lying is so commonplace.

      Hard to be an honest injun in this world!!! MM

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      You are so right, Beverly. Isn't it a shame that we can't just be honest in commerce? Actually, this problem exists across many areas...sadly. thank you for your comment. Kathy

    • Beverly Stevens profile image

      Beverly Stevens 6 years ago from College Station

      I agree with you all the way. It's tiring to sift through it all for the truth, if there is any, especially in politics.

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Thank you Pamela99!!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      I couldn't agree more. You really nailed it!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Amen, sister! You said a mouthfull!

      Don't you just love the ambulance-chaser ads, "If you have suffered injury or death..." ... Um...if I'm DEAD, I'm not watching your stupid ad!

      Even the non-advertising graphics on news programs are not left long enough to reasonably expect folks to read them. I happen to hold a certificate in TV broadcasting, and we were taught that any words placed on the screen had to be left up long enough for us to read them fully 3 times over. This is not a law, but a protocol--intended to accomodate slower readers. They do not seem to honor that courtesy anymore. I am a fast reader, but who can read a credit roll (which I like to do) at the end of a movie, when it is shunted off to the side and miniaturized so they can shove in another ad or promo for another program?


      Voted up, useful, and shared!

    • gr82bme profile image

      gr82bme 6 years ago from USA

      Well done. You go girl!

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Not sure I understand, EMan, but I do apologize for the acerbic nature of this hub...I just happened to have gotten off the phone w/my cell service which stirred my ire because they don't recognize me or my acct. and are trying, in any and all ways, to renege on the "rebate" carrot they dangled at the brick and mortar store they used to entice me to buy a particular, the battle is ongoing and I just had to Vent! Thanks - always - for your great and supportive comments, Eman!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      ..yoweeeee!!!!!!!!! me thinks people are liars - all over the goshdarn world my lucky cats .....just not the U ......S ......of .....A !!!!!

      I love your spunk, your intellect, your passion ...but me's hubs are a wee bit lonely without your comments !!!

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Bobbi, I think it's part and parcel with the dumbing down of America, the ridiculous sitcoms and insulting advertisements along with the passivity of the viewing, consuming public which allows this to continue on all levels even when there are enough who are fed up with being dressed down, talked down to, disrespected and the out of touch content we are constantly seeing. Money talks....we'll see if anything changes. It took a very long time for the 'womens' movement to catch on and, of course, the minute that had any power at all; it was coerced, co-opted and redefined to become, almost, ridiculous. The powers in commercial interests DO NOT want to see threatens the bottom line.

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 6 years ago from New York

      When Time Warner lost 155,000 customers in a matter of 3 months, they Still don't get it. I guess they must lose every single customer they have in order to 'get it.' Idiots!

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Hey, I know this is a bit vitriolic and isn't necessarily my finer side but, isn't it the truth? I don't really like being so negative but, the reality is reality. It's too bad we tend to feed off one another, as a species, rather than nurture one another. At least, in the profit motivated corporate world, as well as the political arena and 'self improvement' industry; this seems to be the case. Thanks for the comments.

    • We Save Cats profile image

      We Save Cats 6 years ago from SE Kansas

      You said it and I agree with you.

    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Very good Lucky. Enjoyed this immensely. Thanks.

    • vietnamvet68 profile image

      vietnamvet68 6 years ago from New York State

      Sadly this has been true for many, many years. Now it has become the norm and a lot of people fall for the lies and decite that we are fed and buy into it. We are manipulated in so many ways anymore people don't even realize it. Great write my dear, God Bless

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 6 years ago

      I think you pretty much nailed.