Being the avid fisherman that I am, I understand each time I venture out, I am bound to have a different outcome. Sometimes the fish are biting, and sometimes they’re not. Sometimes I catch 50 fish, and other times I’m “skunked.”
“Wind from the East, fishing the least, wind from the West, fishing the best,” is but one of the many old school indicators that guide me through the waters. “If the barometer is falling, forget about calling (the fish)” is yet another old saying that has been used through the years.
We cannot omit the relative humidity, the pollen in the air, water temperature and presentation and color of the lure or fly, as these are additional factors that weigh on a fisherman’s mind in providing a successful day on the water.
Or we could just go by what a good friend told me, at one point, “Tim, every day is a good day to fish. (His point: Even a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work.)
So I was surprised one day while checking out new fishing lures that the advertisement claimed this particular lure caught 54.6 percent more fish — not 54.9 percent, or 53.2 percent, but 54.6 percent more fish. Really? Now, what kind of research possibly could be done to come up with this statistic? Was the wind out of the West each day they tested the lure? Was the barometric pressure just right? Did all the stars just happen to line up the days they tested this miracle lure to come up with this statistic?
Or, is it like so many other ads that just make some bold proclamation about their product with little data to back it up. Let’s face it, not every business can be No. 1, or the best in the world. And to make a claim that one product works 54.6 percent better than another is ludicrous, and is going to be difficult to prove.
Have you ever entered a store to see everything in the joint on sale? Psychologically, there is something going on there. I receive magazines from two outdoor companies that are constantly promoting a sale. (Recently, it was the Black Friday, Yellow Tuesday, Green Wednesday and the Cyber Monday sales).
You’ve assuredly seen ads of products, (they normally sell for $19.99) on television that give you a deadline on how long you can attain the product at this price. But wait, order now, and we’ll give you not one, but two of the seven-bladed razors that cut 22 percent more facial hair. What a deal. How could I possibly pass this up? And, lo and behold, if you call back after the deadline, the price is still exactly the same. I once ordered an item on the internet, but erred on my credit card number. The company gave me 30 minutes to correct my mistake. When I didn’t correct the error, they gave me another 30 minutes, and this went on for more than two weeks.
And jacking up the price of an item only to come back and show today’s 20-percent discount is misleading.
In the financial services industry, we have similar issues. Sure, a representative of a company can show a 30-percent gain in gold, if they get to pick the time period.
Some companies boast about the predictions they’ve made through the years, but a closer look makes one realize many predictions are made that do not come true. When one actually materializes, they run with that one and shove the rest of the predictions under the carpet. It’s made to look like they’re genius caliber. But let’s face it, if starting today, you predicted rain in your city might you eventually be correct?
It falls upon us as consumers to understand these misleading ways and make informed decisions before we initiate a sale. Good shopping.
And now, my favorite statistic: Teen pregnancy drops off dramatically after age 20.
Tim Schumacher represents Strategic Financial Partners in Hays.