Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Read the Fine Print

I am one of those people who actually READS the instruction manuals that come with new appliances, electronics, and cars.  I always figure that there will be some tidbit of information which I'll pick up about the new purchase, that I wouldn't have otherwise known.  I've been ridiculed for this many times ;-D

Similarly, I also read the "Terms and Conditions" before signing up for things like contests, free offers, etc.... especially on the Internet.  More than once, it's saved me from signing up for a "free product" that was going to incur an automatic ongoing billing to my credit card unless I cancelled it -- by phone.  You've got to realize that it's verrrrrrry difficult (if not impossible) to get someone on the phone to cancel, and if you do, you will be bombarded by sales pitches and inexhaustible junk mail.  If you submit your phone number, that also permits that company or their 'affiliates' to bypass the Do Not Call list, because you've invited them to call you.

So, this morning I was reading these 'terms and conditions'  for a contest I was invited to enter -- just for the heck of it (I'd already decided the prize wasn't worth it to me to give them my phone number or birth date).
In the fine print, I read that once the 'potential winner' is selected, they have to fill out a notarized eligibility form.  Not so shocking.  BUT the notice said...

"If the potential winner is a Canadian resident, he or she will be required to correctly answer, without assistance of any kind, a mathematical skill-testing question administered by telephone or email."

Am I imagining this, or are they casting dispersions on Canadian basic math skills??
There must be some reason for this, but I can't think what it would be. If I were Canadian, I'd pass on this contest out of principle.

Many people are also poking fun at the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics... the Russians displayed their cultural strengths (dance, music, art, architecture) in their promo for the next Winter Olympics, while Canada flaunted giant blow-up beavers and moose (is the plural for moose -- mooses???  moosi??). 

I have to admit that I personally liked Canada's choice for the closing fête!  It was different, and I thought it was fun and pleasant and I probably would've gone that route, too, if I were on their planning committee.

I never actually realized the animosity and competitive spirit between Canada and the U.S.   Our family has always enjoyed our trips to Canada.  But I think this contest is going a little bit too far with the math thing...


Kyra J. said...

I am Canadian and I think we have great math skills and have no idea why our abilities to add/subtract/multiply/divide are an issue. Since living in the States, there is much debate over the "awesomeness" between Canada and the USA but there really is no difference. We all live on the same hunk of land so lets get along, EH!


Patty Edwards said...

Well said, Kyra! My friend, also a Canadian, emailed me this math problem he's been working on...
1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321