*Terms and Conditions apply

So this last weekend, I was walking by a store and saw this sign.

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You see that ‘Conditions Apply’? That really gets my goat. What conditions are they talking about, huh? The condition is not that you must come on a full moon night, in a three piece suit, wearing a pink hair clip, chewing some bubble wrap, with 12 people, including a kid, in tow and then you can get 50% off.

OR

if you are the 13th customer on the 13th day of the 13th month (per the Hindu calendar) then you get 50% off.

No NO NO.

It is just that some clothes are 50% off, others are not. How complicated is it to say that?

I almost yearn for the days of ‘upto 50% off’, where upto was in 6 points and 50% was in 48 points.

Who decided ‘conditions apply’ was a more enticing consumer line than ‘upto’??

Rather odd if you ask me. Or even if you don’t.

Then some people take it too far.

The other day I heard an ad for a Bluetooth keyboard. It basically said that ‘with this Bluetooth keyboard you can connect to your smartphone and your tablet seamlessly’.

Great, right? Then at the end of the ad it said ‘conditions apply’. I was flummoxed with that. So being the good consumer that I am, I called them to ask what the condition was. After being tossed around, someone finally said ‘your device must be blue tooth enabled’. WHAAAT?? You are selling a bluetooth keyboard. Of course your device must be bluetooth enabled. What kind of person buys a bluetooth keyboard just for the heck of it.  Do they expect a consumer to say ‘MMMM bluetooth..I always loved the colour blue and wondered why all keyboards were always white or black.’ Conditions apply, my foot.

Next we will have Surf saying’ Surf washes whitest. White as new’ Conditions apply. Condition: You must use water while washing.

Or BMW: The Joy of Driving. Conditions apply.                                                                   Condition: Joy limited to person behind the wheel, not back seat drivers.

And ironically the products and services that should have ‘Conditions Apply’ never do.

Eg airtel. They definitely need a ‘conditions apply’ with all their ads.

Condition: You must have your own personal tower that you strap to your back, and ensure everyone around you has their phone on airplane mode.

Or Any property company  in Bangalore that says 10 minutes to work. Conditions apply. Condition: There is a Cauvery bandh, no BBMP digging on the way, no VIP movement, no Uber/Ola driver using his GPS, parking available near the lift which is waiting for you in the basement.

Do these things even work? Does anyone even read them?

Every single software that we use has these terms and conditions, that we blindly agree.

If you use this software you give us the right to make the next three generations of your family our slaves: Agreed.

If you use this software, you will tattoo a duck billed platypus on your arm. Agreed.

If you use this software, your facebook friends will have happier lives than you. Agreed.

Agreed. Agreed. Agreed.

Just look at cigarette communications as a great example.

Once upon a time, cigarette ads were full of people having a great life. Riding horses, going river rafting, hanging out with beautiful members of the opposite sex and so on. In small print was a sign that said; If you smoke cigarettes, you will smell awful, no one will want to kiss you, You will be unable to even climb the horse. PS: it can kill you.

No one cared. They all smoked away.

Now the PS is the headline: Smoking Kills is loud and clear on the pack. And no conditions apply.

I think the Terms & Conditions Apply epidemic is growing out of hand and someone better do something.

Let’s work together and Make Headlines Great Again.

About being over rated

Last week Donald Trump, after getting bashed by Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes, said Meryl Streep was over rated.

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I didn’t think there was anything he could say that I would agree with but in this case I found myself nodding in agreement. And I thought, not just Streep but there are so many people and things that are over rated, but no one calls them out.

So as a public service I wanted to talk about a few of them.

Usain Bolt is over rated.

Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games...Commonwealth Games - Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games - Glasgow, Scotland - 26/7/14  Jamaica's Usain Bolt during a press conference  Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Harding  Livepic  EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Yes he can run the 100 metres under 10 seconds. But that is only useful if you want to get somewhere in that time. Imagine his mother saying ‘Usain can you run down to the store and get me a loaf of bread and the shop is about to close’. Usain charges down and finds the shop closed already because the shop owner’s watch was running fast. Or his mom says ‘Usain can you run down to the store and get some eggs’. He asks ‘How far is it ma?’. She says ‘Oh I don’t know. About a 5 minute walk’. He does the math and says ‘Ma that is 250 metres away and I only run upto 200m’. As I said over rated.

 

Michael Phelps is over rated.

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He can do the freestyle, back stroke, butterfly and breast stroke. Now imagine he is our by the beach and someone says ‘hey Michael, there’s a guy out there drowning can you save him?’ Michael jumps up and then he runs to the edge of the water and then stops’ Should I do free style first? Or the breast stroke? But the butterfly is my main event. Wish I hadn’t had that bong earlier today’. In this deep thinking the drowing guy gets saved by Pamela Anderson in Baywatch. pam-anderson-baywatch

Over rated Michael.

 

U2 is over rated. They do make some good music and Bono may think wearing those strange red glasses makes him look cool as does Edge with his skull cap. But even a 3 year old kid can see that they are 4 of them and not 2. 3669a3f849a2c43b993b2c3a36e7a14c

And if you can’t even count then you are definitely over rated.

 

Science is over rated. Anyone remember Boyle’s law from Physics? Exactly. It is so over rated that I couldn’t even be bothered googling what it is. Something to do with hot gas. Or that the higher you go the less oxygen in the air and so you need masks. Really?? Have you ever seen any angels, who live higher than anyone else, with masks? Come on..it is all one big con. choirangels

Or over rated..

 

Global warming is over rated. I mean come on. Just look at all those pictures of snow in so many parts of the world. Or the recent weather advisory.dct_special15_1280x720

Do you see warming in them? Haven’t you sometimes gone out leaving the heating on by mistake? Or the air conditioner? Exactly the same thing is what happens when God goes out visiting his mates in another galaxy. Sometimes he forgets to turn the fan off and we earthlings get into a flutter. Global warming: over rated.

 

Let me get back to Meryl Streep. She got an Oscar for her role in Devil wears Prada for being an ogre boss. tumblr_m2pbdvuwle1r06t5b

Come on. I have often been at the receiving end of bosses, or clients, like that. People like me should get recognized for tolerating it than someone like Streep who just played the role of a normal boss. Over rated.

 

I am pretty sure you have your own examples of over ratedness. Let me know. I want to destroy this sham of average people masquerading as top performers.

 

Year end road trip

Do you like road trips? I do too. Having done them in a few countries the time had come to try it in home land.

My vision of road trips..a good car, lovely roads, great scenic beauty, freedom to stop when one feels like, exploring local areas and so on. Rather surprisingly, we had all of this to experience. Roads were fantastic and the red soil in large parts of Karnataka makes for a rich green tapestry. image0183

I don’t know about you, but in my family it takes but 20 minutes of driving and all passengers are fast asleep. All seat belted in and zzzzzzz. So this is what it feels like to be alone in a crowd. The only time someone would wake up would be to enquire the time or if we were stopping to get a bite. I was feeling rather disappointed that what was meant to be this great family time was just like being on a conference call when you are muted by the moderator. If you have an opinion, well we don’t care. Feeling a bit despondent, I looked over to a car, being driven by a man, on the lane to my left. We were both waiting our respective turns to pay the toll fees. He looked at me, then saw the other passengers fast asleep and gave me a wry smile. I shrugged my shoulders to say ‘Well..”. He then gestured to his empty car back seat. Just as I was looking something moved and I realised that he had someone who was fast asleep all wrapped up in a sheet of some sort. Instantly the pride in my co passengers went up dramatically. At least they were sleeping, sitting up. Fist bump.

Talking about toll fees reminds me of the number of times we, or rather I, had to stop to pay toll fees. Common sense suggests that you want these to be as frictionless as possible. After all this is an express way. Drivers should be able to pay the fees and be on their way as soon as possible. But Nooooo. Every toll booth is at least, what seems like, a several hours stop. It is at toll booths you realise that all drivers, irrespective of driving an Audi SUV or a Tata truck is illiterate. Nothing else can explain that irrespective of how the lanes are labelled people drive up to whichever they fancy. Which is a minor problem compared to the toll fees. Firstly, the amounts vary by different sections. I guess there is an invisible logic to this. Then you have to pay amounts like INR 17, INR 62 and so on. 7

Not kidding. So nothing as simple as amounts like 20, 50, 100. You can imagine the time spent at each booth finding coins, fumbling with change as it falls out of the car on the street, and people scrambling trying to pick up the coins. Clearly, the toll booths have adopted that old cliche..The only constant is change.

Just in case you think I have only complaints about the trip, let me hasten to add that is not the case at all. Let me talk about one highpoint. The roads. Barring a total of some 30 kms of the over 1000 kms trip the roads are just fantastic. They are multi lane, well laid roads.Exceeding speeds of 100 would be a breeze. However, I think the people who did the roads have had a disagreement with the traffic cops. Nothing else can explain the large number of speed bumps all over the place. And most of them are in civvies so you don’t know they are there till your car is airborne on hitting one. To add to this surprise element, in many areas there is that ‘only in India’ contraption where the cops put two sets of barricades about 10 feet apart blocking a lane each. So you are hurtling down at 100 KPH, on a perfectly well laid road and suddenly you are confronted with a metal barricade blocking your lane. So you slow down, dodge this one and another one a few feet away and pick up pace again. highway-barricades-23oct16In case you don’t get the ‘please crawl on our expressway’ message there are also speed limit signs everywhere. The speed limit? 60. 60!! I drive to office every day and the road, in the city, on which it is impossible to cross 20 kph, due to the humongous traffic, has a speed limit of 80!! Clearly there is need for the cop party to smoke the peace pipe with the highway party.

So if you like driving, I urge you to get behind that wheel, pick passengers who can stay awake, carry a bunch of change and be off.