I’m not a sound sleeper. I wish I could change, but I seldom get more than five hours a night, typically waking in the early morning, unable to fall back to sleep. I’m writing this at 4:35 a.m.
My physician has warned me of the health risks linked to lack of sleep: high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and other ailments. What he didn’t tell me was that insomnia can also be associated with nocturnal stupidity, at least in my case.
I normally dedicate the time when only owls and coyotes are awake to my writing, but I have a bad habit of getting sidetracked, surfing the Internet: Facebook, Twitter, blogs, news sites, and yes, infomercials. None of this is very productive. In fact, it’s dangerous.
Keep in mind, I’m a mature retired man who ordinarily uses good judgment. You wouldn’t think I could get into much trouble sitting at a keyboard at 2 a.m., but you’d be wrong. I’m embarrassed to admit what I did recently, but confession is the first step to curing addictive behavior.
Of all things, it was a pop-up ad for wrinkle cream. But not just any wrinkle cream. This one seemed manly, using snake venom as one of its active ingredients. I guess the theory is the venom paralyzes wrinkles. It was the snake venom combined with the before-and-after pictures that captured my attention. If this stuff could produce such amazing results, it was worth taking a further look. So, I clicked on the ad. Big mistake!
This cream claimed to have been featured on the Dr. Oz Show. Surely, that gave it medical cred over other wrinkle erasers. I was becoming more convinced. When I read you could get a 30-day supply for only the cost of shipping, I reached for my credit card and slapped down the $5.95. Minutes later, I had been emailed a receipt and was on my way to rediscovering my youth.
The cream arrived in seven days. The only instructions were on the side of the bottle. Cleanse your face, pat dry, and apply lotion two times daily. It seemed simple enough. I used it every day for the next two weeks, carefully inspecting my under-eye bags, crow’s feet and forehead lines. My skin did feel tighter after applying the miracle potion, but I didn’t see results similar to those before-and-after photos. Not even close! My face was stuck in the “before” position.
Upon closer inspection of the bottle’s contents, I discovered water was the first ingredient and “actual” snake venom wasn’t even included. Instead a synthetic ingredient with “characteristics” of snake venom was listed. Huh? There are chemists with this kind of time on their hands? I’m not so sure I would have knowingly ordered a wrinkle cream containing “fake” snake venom.
My embarrassing story could have ended there, with me out $5.95 for shipping and a half-used bottle of fake snake venom cream in my bathroom cabinet, BUT NO. A couple weeks later, I noticed an $89.95 charge on my VISA account for something I didn’t recognize. It turned out it was for the wrinkle cream!
I immediately called the product’s toll-free number and reached a young man with an uppity attitude and a distinctive East Indian accent who introduced himself as Bob. “I’m sorry, but our ad clearly states you will be billed the full price in thirty days if you don’t cancel your subscription.”
“Subscription? I didn’t sign up for a subscription!” I argued, asking repeatedly to speak to his supervisor. His supervisor was busy—no surprise to me. Nearly 45 minutes later, I was successful in getting a 50% refund, but I was still out more than $50.00, including shipping, and my face still looked like a dried-out catcher’s mitt.
I went back to the wrinkle cream website. If I had scrolled far enough past the fancy ad and read the fine print agreement, it did state I needed to cancel within 30 days to avoid further charges. I wonder how many people actually do this, especially at 2 a.m. It was a lesson learned.
…Hmmm. I’ve always wondered if these non-stick cooking pans actually work. They must. It says here that they have Cerami-Tech technology. Where’s my credit card?