“I Spy – small print”

“I spy with my little eye” was a fun game when I was a child.  We especially used to play it to pass the time on long journeys with my parents in the car.  No motorways then and roads which twisted and turned making 30 miles a long way.

Now with over 50% of older people having impaired eyesight, “I spy” is a whole new game re-invented by the advertising industry and hidden in the small print.  Virtually all adverts these days are accompanied by footnotes in unreadable small print, usually disguising a host of disclaimers which protect the seller not the buyer.  So beware !

To play “I spy” now you need a magnifying glass and then these are just a few of the phrases you will see – and my guess at what they mean:-

“Prices are correct at time of going to press”

I Spy – they want you to think prices are going up shortly.

“Discounts are for first call incentive offer”

I Spy – no discount left when you ring up.

“If we are out of stock we may substitute garments”

I Spy – goodness knows what you might get.

“A 3% balance transfer applies”

I Spy – an extra charge hidden in the small print.

“Delivery surcharges may apply”

I Spy – we may overcharge for delivery.

“Subject to terms and conditions available on request”

I Spy – if you don’t ask we won’t tell you.

“Tick if you don’t want to receive information from other companies”

I Spy – you will soon receive lots of junk mail.

All the above were in very small print in SAGA MAGAZINE.  So they are aimed at older people and are certainly not designed to give you clear information about the advertised product.  Surely this type of advertising should be outlawed under the Trades Description Act !

Get your magnifying glass out and tell me if you can spy other examples of small print ?

Follow up comment to “I Spy”

In the same Saga magazine, was a loose leaf flyer from British Gas selling boilers.  It was all written in small print and in even smaller print still was a helpful little note:-

“If you would like this leaflet in alternative format such as large print ………………………”

I’ll bet they didn’t get too many requests !


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