The new business model: Intentional billing errors

Just in the last month, I had to call a bank to reverse four erroneous “Account Maintenance Fees” across two different accounts. It appears that intentional billing errors is the new business model for our struggling economy. (For the record, although I am responsible for maintaining these accounts, I did not open the accounts at…


Exploiting the inattentive: The Xbox Kinect Premium Starter Kit

The name of the product is the Xbox Kinect™ Premium Starter Kit. The promotional images and box images show an Xbox Kinect device. But if you look closely, you’ll see that the Xbox Kinect™ Premium Starter Kit does not come with an Xbox Kinect.


Exploiting the inattentive: The posted wine rating may not match the wine on the shelf

The Washington Post did a spot check of area wine stores and found that of the “shelf talkers” signs (those things that describe the wine and tell you what score it received from Wine Spectator magazine) it found, a quarter of them were incorrect, usually by attributing a good score to the correct wine vineyard…


Exploiting the inattentive, episode 3: Confusing movie titles

In early 1997, the movie Fly Away Home, a film about a teenage girl and her father rescuing a family of geese (inspired by Operation Migration), was released on DVD. the movie was well-reviewed and even earned an Academy Award nomination. The very same weekend, the movie with the very similar name Follow Me Home…


Exploiting the inattentive, episode 2: The unlabeled line

In Episode 1 we learned that “Snide” brand powdered laundry detergent comes with a scoop that holds 5/8 cup detergent, even though the directions call for only 3/8 cup. The intent here is to get people to use more detergent than necessary, thereby increasing sales. A box of detergent which should be sufficient for 30 loads ends up running…


Exploiting the inattentive

The makers of a certain major brand of detergent which I will not name (but which for the purposes of this discussion will be called “Snide”) appears to take every step to exploit inattentive customers. A box of Snide detergent powder comes with instructions indicating that for a normal-sized load, you should use 3/8 cup…