Some Truly Amazing Deals!

It's time to venture again into the Far, Far, Far-out Frontiers of Free Enterprise.

Today, Spaceship Hightower takes you for another spin around the wondrous world of truth-in-advertising, with Consumer Reports magazine as our chief guide. First, let's stop by the Galaxy of Incredibly Shrinking Packages, always a fun way for companies to jack up prices in the hope that consumers won't notice.

Got a new baby? Maybe you like to use Pampers "newborn swaddlers" diapers. What you won't like is that the maker, Proctor & Gamble, has quietly cut the number of swaddlers per package from 48 to 40, yet you pay the same price to get less product -- a sneaky 17 percent price hike. Likewise, Wegman's supermarket downsized its yogurt cup from eight ounces to six, but instead of trying to hide the change, Wegmans' label actually brags about the rip-off, declaring in happy red type: "Smaller size, bigger taste, same price!"

Then there are some product promises that make you go, Huh? Proctor & Gamble, for example, has a new man's "body wash" sold under its Old Spice label. It's apparently meant for those sweaty times when men might feel that more than plain old soap is needed. Yet, the label makes a bold promise that most of us wouldn't think necessary: "Won't wash away testosterone!"

Many come-ons require attention to the small print - such as the ad for a chain of clubs called "24 Hour Fitness." Then In tiny type you learn, "Not all clubs open 24 hours." There's also Marriott hotels, which puts a bottle of spring water in your room saying, "Please Enjoy" ... but the small print says, "If consumed, $4.50 will be billed to your room."

The prize for the "No-Fooling" Award, however, goes to a swimming pool supply company that offers this hot deal: "Buy 1st Item at Double Normal Price... Get 2nd Identical Item Absolutely FREE!"


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