Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Bit of Whimsy

Two things happened last Sunday morning almost simultaneously or at least they were so close together that I can not remember which came first. Waiting for David to leave for church, I clicked on the TV. I picked up my newest book, “Body by Science” by Doug McGuff, M.D. and John Little, to begin reading. An infomercial for some new exercise program affordable for four easy monthly payments was on TV. No,I am wrong. The 4 was crossed out and over it written a big 3. This purchase came with a money back guarantee such that if you did not reduce 2 pant or skirt sizes in the given period of time, a full refund was granted with a free gift. Oh, we love the freebies. I laughed and picked up my book and read the opening section on testimonials and trust.

What I read about testimonials and believing what others say was so good that I will quote word for word. “A case in point is the experience of a writer for a popular fitness magazine who once wrote a factious article about a “miracle supplement”. At the bottom of the page on which the article appeared, he had the magazine’s art department create a perforated square roughly the size of a postage stamp, next to which appeared the following recommendations.‘For optimal muscle gains, cut out this little piece of paper and place it in a glass of water overnight. It contains a special mix of amino acids that are released in water over several hours. In the morning, remove the paper and place it under your tongue to allow the amino acids to enter your body‘.” He intended it as a joke, a last minute bit of whimsy to fill a page when an advertisement had been withdrawn. His intention was not communicated very well to readers, as, within days of the magazine hitting the stands, the publisher was inundated with requests for “more of that awesome paper“.

I had a good laugh. We are pretty smart people and still the power of suggestion makes quite an impact. However, a little research can go a long way. Or at least save the receipts.