Hot Under the Collar Today – and Can’t Keep My Mouth Shut!

OK, my friends, this is NOT a good thing because one of two things will happen…

I will say TOO MUCH and dig myself in deeper than I mean to…

OR…

I will wish I would have kept my mouth shut.

Typically, it is the latter. Why? Because the issue that started this debate was never important enough to reply to in the first place.

STILL!!! I’m a bit of a firecracker sometimes and this is one of those days!

So… this post is aimed at my writing colleagues, many of whom will have seen the “offensive” (to me) post on FaceBook. (I would post a link but don’t want to stir the pot overmuch or burn any bridges…)

Now I am an avid follower and fan of this long-time professional writer, and always will be. BUT – he has blown me off more than once online for disagreeing with him and I am totally flummoxed by that. Why in the world would someone with such a golden reputation make flip comments online – and then totally dismiss any response made to them? Are they so convinced of their guru status that they cannot be fallible? I really don’t know, but I know I don’t appreciate making a reasonable response to someone and them coming back and telling me, “I didn’t mean it like that. You need to quit over-blowing things and move on.”

What????

So why did you post such a nonsense statement that is up for interpretation? So that we, your faithful hoardes, would fall in line and agree? I think not.

This particular disagreement arose due to the writer posting on Face Book and saying that people who respond to his “free offers” of writing “how-to’s” are basically moochers taking something for free that they don’t deserve.

I did not agree.

Free black & whiteProfessionals will often offer free “premiums” of some sort to capture your personal information. You sign up with your email or address and phone number and they send you something “free” in return. It could be an article on how to brush your dog’s teeth and extend his life – or a raffle ticket for a chance to win a massaging recliner chair – or maybe an entry into a drawing for two free burial plots worth thousands of dollars!

The point is, you know you’re giving out info for a chance at something free – but you also know you will go on someone’s marketing list for the next two years. Or worse, get a phone call or a knock at the door from that cemetery sales guy. Probably right at suppertime.

Now here’s what some people do… they order the product in question, open it up and see that it’s as phony as they feared, and then return the whole shebang for a refund. Naturally they get to keep whatever “free gift” was promised because that was the deal. Free Try It Now

The writer in question calls such people “premium bandits.” And THAT is burning my biscuits as well.

Years ago, I was a sucker for any weight loss promo that came in the mail. And boy did I get them! The ones from Prevention magazine were the best… an entire little book dedicated to how you could lose weight, restore your figure and your youth, be able to run circles around people 10 years younger than you, avoid deadly diseases of aging, make your husband fall madly in love with you again, and maybe even keep cancer at bay by eating chocolate brownies!

Of course I am exaggerating… but surely you have been seduced by such advertisements. Especially if they look like real magazines! They even call them “magalogs” or “bookalogs” because they are done in the same format. And boy did they get my attention.

So here’s what I would do…

Carefully read the “guarantee” to make sure I could get the product for a small down-payment – or even free – and hang onto that full-length magazine advertisement. The minute the new miracle book arrived, I was ready.

Tickle MagalogThe ad would say… “Eat this every day at 2pm and lose 5 pounds of water weight by bedtime! (see page 247)” I would turn immediately to page 247 to find out that you only had to consume 14 bushels of freshly steamed asparagus (with no salt or oil on it) and you would go to bed 5 pounds lighter. And it might really be true after you got done barfing and peeing green for several hours – but hey, 5 pounds is 5 pounds, right?

After looking up and trying out a few dozen of these amazing suggestions, I was ready to return the product for a refund. But not without keeping my 12 free reports on how to become sexier and more youthful with every year that passes! All while scrubbing the raw, mashed banana off my face that had given me an allergic reaction I wasn’t expecting. (It was supposed to ‘turn back the clock.’) How would I have known? I’d always been able to EAT bananas – I just never tried rubbing one all over my face before. Let’s just say I learned my lesson about fresh fruit “scrubs” and what they might do…

So was I a “premium bandit” for complying with the “IRON CLAD GUARANTEE” that was mentioned numerous times in the sales advertisement? I think not!

And guess what….

In later years I actually became a copywriter who WROTE some of this stuff. I will say that I never tried to deceive people. I was diligent about my research and citing real evidence that products COULD do what they say they do. But the companies ALWAYS offered guarantees. That info was given to me to include in the sales material and it was repeated over and over to assure the potential customer that they were never taking a risk by ordering the product.

Free guarantee

So to have major writers that I learned from call customers “moochers” and “premium bandits” has me bent a bit out of shape today. I don’t like it. I don’t view customers like that. Rather, I view them as people looking for a solution to a problem, willing to buy a product, and being enticed by whatever premiums the company offers. If they end up making a return it is of no matter to me. I just cared that they were treated fairly and had a choice per the sales offer.

Truth is, most people are too lazy to return a product or stop the auto-shipments and companies know that. They use it to their full advantage. And people like me – and other professional sales writers – make money every time they do that. So why is one of my favorite gurus bashing customers online? And then bashing me for challenging him?

Don’t really know.

And now that I’ve blown off about it, I don’t even really care.

I only took on this battle in an effort to be truthful and honest. Which usually gets me in trouble. That’s what happens when you can’t keep your mouth shut…

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