Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lies and More Lies and What's Left Out


Well, yesterday, we had a leak in our water pipes in our garden at the valve where our own pipes meet up with the city pipes.

Bad news.

And after a lot of back and forth the City Workers told us the leak was on our side of the valve, so we had to pay for it to be repaired.

"There goes our weekend in New York City," I told my husband.

"Funny you should say that," my husband answered. "I just got this promo from our car dealer, saying if we buy a new car we get two days in New York."

We have a 2009 Malibu and the warranty has just run out. We like the car, a lot,  although it has had a number of problems, most covered by the warranty. (For instance BOTH electronic door locks got stuck.)

So, you see, it's a gamble, holding on to the vehicle. Any further break downs are on our dollar.

"Let me see the letter you got," I said. I could see Central Park in summer  in my mind's eye. The Village, too.

Well, I read the first line and said "Yea, right." You see, I'm an ex-advertising writer.  The letter said we could exchange our auto for a new vehicle, with similar or lesser monthly payments.

What do they mean by vehicle? I wanted to know. Anything with wheels is a vehicle.

In advertising, you don't have to lie, just to imply. Or you leave things out.

It didn't matter really as the same line had the ubiquitous asterix, with the conditions of inspection, blah blah blah, I need my glasses, it's in 6 point print.

 Our Malibu has a huge amount of mileage and, ahem, I wrecked the bumper once, a tiny little bang, really but, gee, that's all it takes with these deceptively named decorative plastic BUMPERS And they wanted over a thousand to repair it.

Anyway, today, we received a follow up phone call to this offer, which expires in 3 day. (PRESSURE!)

So I asked, does 'vehicle' mean comparable model. The salesperson didn't know. To me that's code for it doesn't. (They still refer to the transaction as 'an upgrade' though.) And WAIT. It says 2 free nights in New York. Messina? Albany?

I'm a super skeptic. It has only gotten worse and worse lately. The kind of tactics once used only by smarmy companies is now used by everyone. The banks are the worst.

(A few days ago a merchant offered my husband 'a deal of lifetime' on some building material. How much? my husband asked. "First tell me you want them, then I'll tell you the price," said the merchant.)

My play Milk and Water is about Municipal corruption in 1927 Montreal, but it also touches on advertising and marketese.

My grandfather, the Director of Services, one of the characters is upset because my husband's grandfather, the President of Laurentian Spring Water uses questionable advertising to sell his product.

Montreal had a water problem in the early part of the century and Laurentian jumped on it. The irony is our breakage yesterday was very likely caused by 'upgrades' to the local water system which our City is doing due to new standards after Walkerton. Geez. (And we are to be hit with a bill of a few thousand.) Not only did the recent increase in pressure LIKELY damage the valve yesterday, it most certainly destroyed out fancy filtration system. (We didn't turn it off in time.)