The Man with a Stethoscope
by C. M. Albrecht
You’ve seen them many many times. You’re barely five minutes into a TV program when it stops and out comes a doctor. You know he’s a doctor because he has a stethoscope hanging around his neck. He proceeds to tell you about a problem you may or may not have and then goes on to explain that he always recommends Product CureAll to his patients.
Okay, think back. Have you ever in your life seen a doctor in an office, in a hospital, or in an emergency room or a McDonald’s walking around with a stethoscope dangling from his neck?
I haven’t. And believe me, I’ve seen more hospitals and doctors’ offices than I ever wanted to see.
And then comes the part that really gets to me. The TV doctor points out that Product CureAll has been clinically proven to be more effective than Product NotQuiteCureAll. These days, everything you pick up at Walgreen’s has been clinically proven to be effective. Not only has it been clinically proven, but nine out of ten doctors recommend it over that (ugh) other brand. Interestingly enough, Product NotQuiteCureAll (that ugh other brand), has also been clinically proven to be better that Product CureAll, which incidentally makes the same claims. For the past ten years both have also been America’s most highly recommended product. We don’t know who the America who recommends these products is, but America highly recommends them.
Then very probably some of the doctor’s actual patients will step forward and tell you how wonderful Product CureAll is, how it has changed their lives, saved them money, made them healthier, happier, sexier, saved their marriages and made them younger looking to boot. You may even see before and after pictures. I know they used to say pictures don’t lie, but if you’ve seen a movie during your lifetime, you know that just isn’t so. By now of course you’ve forgotten what you were watching on TV. But that’s okay. It was pretty lame anyway.
Understand, I’m not complaining about advertising. I realize that for TV shows to be produced, someone has to fork over some money. My complaint is that the advertisers clearly direct their commercials toward an audience with the education and innocence of a twelve-year old kid from the country.
So if you see a man wearing a stethoscope, run like hell because you know he’s not really a doctor at all; he’s a snake oil salesman.
And don’t even get me started on how I can save $500 a year by switching auto insurance companies.
This jeremiad has been clinically proven to be accurate, but that’s what they said about my $10 watch —
I’m C. M. Albrecht and I approved this message. I’m not running for anything. I’m actually running from — from my creditors