Small Print Insults My Intelligence

We’ve all seen advertisements that incorporate differently sized text to make a product or sale look more desirable.  Normally, the resulting deception doesn’t stretch credibility.  For example:

Sale on Sunday!

Everything in the store

up to

50% off!

I’m not sure how many people realize that “up to 50% off”  can mean “one item for 50% off and a lot of stuff for 10% off.”  Since businesses keep pulling this stunt, it must be duping people.  After all, sufficient reading comprehension skills have become rarer and rarer.

But I digress.  Here’s a variation of small print marketing I found recently:


In case you can’t decipher the whole thing, the full guarantee reads as “guaranteed for 10 years in storage.”  You probably wouldn’t notice the “for” and “in storage” if you saw this packaging in person, either.

If you believe that a battery can be used for ten years, you deserve to be fooled by this.  However, if North Korea is preparing to fire nuclear missiles at the world’s battery factories, you might need to store this product for up to a decade.

As you can tell, Duracell is looking out for the customers’ best interest.

2 thoughts on “Small Print Insults My Intelligence

  1. Over here where people get duped the most is ads in furniture stores. There would be the usual statements of no deposit and no interest for the first two months with very small print stating monthly interest of up to 20% thereafter. But what pulls people in is the monthly installment. Let’s take a fridge. In SA you could expect to pay around R4000 for a fridge of reasonable size and quality. The add would say monthly installments of only, say, R250 for 36 months. Underneath that in slightly smaller print it would give the total cost of R9000. Under that, in text so small you have to squint to see it, it would give the cash price of only R4000. Most people don’t notice that if they buy on credit they end up paying more than double than if they just saved up a bit and bought it cash.

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