GRATIS (PLUS SHIPPING AND HANDLING) – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Gratis

I love late night local television advertisements. Garry and I sometimes sing along with the text. It’s remarkably similar from one ad to the next, regardless of what is being sold.

“It’s free! Gratis! All you have to pay is shipping and handling!” The price for which is usually more than the item is worth. For a while, this was the thing on auction sites. The price? One cent. Shipping and handling were a mere $19.95.

“And if you buy one now, you can get a second one free. Plus shipping and handling.”

I get the shipping, which is a lot less than they are charging … but what’s the handling thing? Picking the item up and sticking it in a box? Adding a label? Collecting the money?

Maybe you are being charged “extra” because they have to drive to the bank with your money?

“And even better: But NOW and you can have three — that’s right! — THREE of these amazing (knives, shampoos, weight loss products, tire pressure gauges, ad nauseum) for the same low, low price of nothing except the minor cost of shipping and handling!”

They never tell you the price of the shipping and handling. With good reason! Is this how people buy those weird gifts you get at Christmas? In those bright boxes that say “As shown on TV”?

My first professional writing job that wasn’t for radio was writing these advertisements. They appear in print, too. You’ve seen them. They are full-page ads in cheesy magazines. They used to show up in the back of comic books. They pay about $800 for each ad. If you do them often, you can create a boilerplate for them and churn out a dozen a week.

Ah, I bet now I’ve got your attention!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

18 thoughts on “GRATIS (PLUS SHIPPING AND HANDLING) – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I “love” the part where they say, “”..and if your order NOW, you’ll get….!”
    That’s where I jump with my “bonus lures”.
    “And, if you order now, we’ll give you (1) (2) (3) FREE gynormous vegomatics — autographed by Chef Albert DiSalvo. Call NOW…don’t miss this opportunity of a LIFETIME. Call NOW!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I watch a channel from about 2 pm (sometimes a little earlier) to 4 each weekday (mostly). I’ve seen SO MANY of those damned ads that I can quote them verbatim now. That channel, who targets “the elderly, lame and halt” (apparently) OVER-sell “Medicare” ‘insurance” (which isn’t really insurance at all and I have to wonder how many older people got sucked into those by promises of ‘includes dental, vision, hearing and DMR (durable medical equipment)’ which ‘real’ Medicare doesn’t cover or doesn’t cover well. Also the walk in bathtub (hawked by Pat Boone (o the might have fallen. Hard.), burial insurance (Alex Trebec. Really???), the ‘Sunsetter’ – that overpriced electric awning thing (they don’t have a distributor in Utah oddly enough) and power chairs for stairs (which can be installed outdoors too!). Yeah. I know why I don’t watch TV any more. It’s been reinforced is all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But remarkably, a LOT of people buy this stuff. Even when we don’t know the product, we can always predict exactly what they will say because they all say the same thing, just fill in the blanks with product name. We like to guess whether they will offer you two or three of the same thing and how much the shipping and handling will add up to when you order all three (free!!) …

      But these people pay well. VERY well. Which is why famous people do them. It’s a lot of money!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “and get a second one free, Just pay an additional fee…” said very quickly in a hardly noticeable, small print style voice. Free, means it shouldn’t cost anything more than the first one, and should be included in that price, in one shipping package, the original shipping charge covering both. If it’s something I think is worth buying I will wait until it shows up in, “not available in stores”, stores, where I can look over the product and buy it if I feel it’s worth a try. Many items never show up in the “As Seen on TV” shelves telling me it’s probably a bad, or bogus, item. The big plus is if an, “As Seen on TV” item is available in a legitimate, store, and it turns out to be bad.., you can return it a lot easier than one purchased from a TV ad telephone number. A very small couple of things I’ve tried out this way have turned out to be useful.., the rest are crap, and go back for a full refund. A few stores like Walgreens, CVS and Fry’s Electronics have “As Seen on TV” sections. There have also been dedicated “As Seen on TV” stores where everything they sell is “As Seen on TV” and not supposed to be there, according to the ad. They all lie!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. But if you don’t want to take a chance, you can buy it and try it, and return it to Target if it sucks. I have the feeling that Target, and the others, only order items they’ve had reasonable success with.

        Like

  4. I buy a lot of stuff online, but only if the seller offers free shipping. And since I have Amazon Prime, it’s always free. As to those TV adds that say, “if you act now, we’ll send you a second one for free; just pay shipping and handling,” I never fall for that. Most of that stuff is gimmicky crap, anyway.

    Like

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