As we get ready for the joyful holiday season, let’s not forget to be wise in making our purchases and to not get caught up in being lured in by “too good to be true” claims. The poem below was posted by the Council of Better Business Bureaus in 2000 but is just as applicable today.
“Twas a week before Christmas and all through the town
Came echoing cries of “the best deal around’!
But the seasonal joy was marred by the sight
Of fast-dealing swindlers – a perennial blight.
The stockings that hung by the chimney with care
Would likely be filled soon with questionable ware.
And Ma in her kerchief and Pa in his cap
Were busily searching for bargains to wrap.
When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter
To the TV they ran to see what was the matter.
A sincere (?) announcer – so earnest – and on cue –
Did his best to convince them what he said was true!
More rapid than eagles his adjectives came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name –
“Now ladies, now gentlemen, now children and all
Our offers are super – here’s the number to call!!
The buy of your life, there’s nothing so fine
As five rooms of furniture for $499.”
At the same moment there appeared at their door
A fast talking salesman with values galore.
A bundle of bargains he had in his car
Goodies and gadgets priced way below par.
Imported wool for a handsome new suit
Computers and cameras and steak knives, to boot.
While they stood there transfixed, he went on and on
As his latest ad was tossed out on the lawn
And the bargains they saw made their temperatures rise,
“What wonderful values!” “What wonderful buys!”
Imported perfume at $2 a quart
Fur coats at a discount (if you don’t care what sort).
And just look at this before money is spent –
Our toys are reduced a full 50 percent!
Brand name appliances with prices to cheer,
(Except they don’t say they are left from last year).
Furniture marked up so the price can come down
To make it appear as the best deal in town.
And diamonds so cheap that even the children
Can dress up their Mama to look like a million.
“We’ll save lots of cash,” they exclaimed with delight;
“Let’s buy all our presents on this very night!”
As they reached for their purses and were turning around
Down the chimney came Sanity Clause with a bound!
The look in his eye and his cautioning hand
Made them stop in their tracks as if by command.
“Do not be deluded,” old Sanity said,
“By the advertised claims you just heard and read.
Outfits who use this high discount appeal
Will promise you anything to make a fast deal.
Complete satisfaction AFTER you buy
Is quite unimportant to this sort of guy.”
He looked at them shrewdly and said, not in jest,
“ALWAYS investigate – BEFORE you invest.
There are plenty of good honest merchants to find
If you peel off vague promises and look what’s behind.
These good guys are just as concerned as you are,
To stretch out your dollars and make them go far.
Don’t try to get something for nothing,” he said.
“You’ll wind up with plenty of nothing instead.”
With this warning he left and he hopped in his sleigh,
To his team gave a whistle and they scampered away.
But they heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight
“Merry Christmas to all – all who do business right!”
Your Tri-State Better Business Bureau wishes everyone a safe and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! For more information, call 812-473-0202 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*This article was written for and published in the Evansville Courier & Press, Business Section, December 14, 2014.