Free! 80% off! 0% financing! $3000 rebate! Act now! Introductory offer!
The reason you keep seeing this is because you keep falling for it!
At one time, the word 'marketing' meant "to make potential customers aware of your product". Today, it means "lie and cheat, to get some poor sucker to buy your pile of junk"

In the good old days of radio and TV commercials, companies often got you to remember their name using a song about their product. After hearing their ads a few times, one could instantly recognize a product just from the tune. And of course there were logos, usually something catchy, yet simple.

These days, all we have are commercials, billboards, pop-up ads, L.E.D. message boards, and ads on city buses, telling us how much we can "save" by buying a product. Very little info about the product itself, just the "great deal" we can get, especially if we "act now".

What's interesting today is that in MANY cases, the "marketing" costs more than the product itself. A perfect example is athletic shoes. I'm not naming names, but let's just say the name has the long "E" sound in it. Most do, so studies must have shown that the long "E" sound sells sneakers. But if a company pays some hugely overpaid "sports figure" millions of dollars to "endorse" their shoes, they can sell them for 15 times more money! Make 'em in China for $10, sell them in the U.S. for $150. But the shoes themself are really not a whole lot better than the ones K-Mart sells for $25.

Often the packaging, or the labor involved with selling the product are worth more than the product itself. The fast-food joints can afford to offer "free" refills on soda, because even though you paid $1.29 for that "medium" soda, the actual soda in the cup is worth about a dime. But the operating expense of getting that cup in your hand could be 50 cents. So if you refill it yourself a few more times, they'll still make money on it. French fries are another example, the actual product costs a few pennies, and whether you order a small or large fries, it takes about the same amount of work for someone to prepare them. But you pay considerably more for a large than a small, so the restaurant makes more profit on the large. That's why they push the "super-sizing".

Another gimmick is "Free". Believe me, nothing is free. Sure they'll give you a cell phone, after you sign a 2 year "agreement" for service with them, starting at only $49.99 a month. That's $1200 over 2 years, not exactly "free". The $40 phone (A $800 value!) they gave you is simply INCLUDED in the price you're paying.

The same holds true for "free" or "0%" financing. The price of the product is simply marked up enough to INCLUDE the cost of financing. And if it's "0% financing for 3 years" they'll really nail you. If one payment is 10 seconds late, even the last payment, you'll pay the "default" interest rate on the entire amount borrowed, going back tho the day you made the purchase. At 25% interest, you'll find that the $2000 bed you bought will now cost you nearly $4000! But it must work, one of the larger furniture and appliance stores in Green Bay actually wore out their electronic message sign outside that scrolls 24/7  "No payments until 2010 blah blah blah". They put up a big new one and now it says "No payments until 2010 blah blah blah". All they have to do is change the year anually. Maybe the new sign does it automatically!

"Rebates" work pretty much the same way, it is simply figured into the price of the product. The car makers offer "0% financing,"
OR "$2500 cash back", but never BOTH. They simply have enough profit margin built-in to the price to "allow" for this, because it sells cars. The reason it sells cars, is because too many people think they are getting something for nothing. But if you really believe in rebates, send me $100, and I'll send you a $50 rebate!

Introductory offers. First 3 months of service FREE! This is an easy way for the cable company to get you hooked! I don't fish, but I'd guess that you use hooks to catch suckers, don't you? Then it's only $99.99 a month after that, with a 2 year "agreement". Pretty much the same deal with the credit cards, "0% financing on balance transfers" for 90 days, then only 24.99% after that! We Gottcha!

Speaking of profit margins and markups and prices, at one time the law required a store to have a "regular" price for a given item, and the item had to have actually sold at that price. Then if they put the item "on sale", they could say it was "50% off" or whatever, of the regular price. The regular price was often called the "retail" or "list" price.

But nowadays, everything seems to be "80% off" all the time. And if you read the fine print on some of these ads, it states that "no sales may have occurred at the regular price". In other words, the "regular price" is an outrageously high price that no one would even think of paying, just made up for marketing purposes. On the other hand, if they are giving you a "free" item when you purchase something else, then they DO use the "regular" price for the free item. "Buy a package of hot dogs for $4.88, and get a free package of buns, a $29.99 value!" "But hurry, this is a limited time offer!" How long? As long as the suckers keep biting, that's how long!

If 4 out of 5 dentists recommend a certain product, it's probably because the company that makes it gives the dentist all kinds of "freebies" he can sell or give away.

If 9 out of 10 pharmacists recommend a certain drug, it's probably because it has a high profit margin for the pharmacy.

If Drunk Driver magazine gives the Smashubatchi XXL sportscar a 5 star rating, it's probably because the Smashubatchi car company spends $2.4 million a year on advertising in the magazine.

Carpeting used to be sold by the square yard. When the prices started sounding too high, they changed to selling it by the square foot instead. A lot cheaper that way! I imagine the square inch can't be too far away. They'll have to do the same with gasoline pretty soon. Only $1.25 a quart! Wow! For those of you that can't comprehend numbers, that would be 5 bucks a gallon.

Getting tired, more coming soon!