Unlike specialty blogs—those that specialize in ONLY one topical area such as politics, religion, sexuality, how-to topics, etc.—mine covers whatever subjects that come up as long as they interest me and I have enough insight about them to voice a reasonably intelligent opinion.
Admittedly this eliminates a ton of topics, most of which I couldn’t touch with a ten foot pole without leaving readers with the distinct impression that I’m dumber than your standard rock.
My formal expertise lies in the fields of Physics and Physics-related topics—30-PLUS years at the post-secondary level (college/university).
As well, since I retired in January of 2003, I’ve plunged headfirst several times into the swimming pool of Constitutional Law. I’m no attorney, mind you, but I’m a quick learner and well-versed in the annals of legitimate research: Physics or whatever.
Today’s topic isn’t directly related to either Physics or Law, but it’s indirectly related because it involves weight measurements and consumer rip-offs. It also involves the attempted victimization of a dear, kind hearted neighbor of mine.
She’s a gentile, long-widowed grandmotherly type (perhaps mid-50s or so) who would share her last dollar with someone in genuine need. And to boot, her Jamaican accent has continued to fascinate me since I met her about 7-years ago.
Now, as for the weight measurements, I can speak with formal authority. As for consumer rip-offs, I’m well aware that these can be absolutely dishonest in terms of the law’s SPIRIT, but perfectly legal relative to its LETTER.
In other words, BUYER BEWARE! I’ve written this many times; ALWAYS read the SMALL print! Yes, the LARGE print may appeareth to giveth much, but the SMALL print taketh MOST of it away.
And even though thou understandeth NOT the small print, ASKETH thou for counsel from someone WISETH in the meaning of SMALL print!
Making a long story short, she showed me a mail flyer she had received advertising one of those commemorative “GOLD” coins at a rock-bottom bargain price, ONLY $69.95 each, plus shipping and handling.
I didn’t recognize the name of the company selling the stuff, but there didn’t seem to be any attempt to hide the seller’s identity. I simply didn’t recognize the name, but it was NOT one of the standard U. S. Mint advertisements.
The AD showed what appeared to be an attractive and beautifully-struck gold coin. The advertising hype described it in glowing terms as a precious commemorative and implying that it would increase in monetary value with time.
My neighbor has three young granddaughters. Thinking these coins may be worth something someday, she asked me if I thought they would be suitable for them as Easter gifts.
It was in a small font, but I noticed an asterisk next to the coin. Asterisks in advertisements ALWAYS get my IMMEDIATE attention (they’re omens that always portend the SMALL print)!
And the more difficult it is to find their associated footnotes, the more the SMALL print will be taking away! It took me a good minute and a half of intense scanning to find out what the footnote had to say.
And what it had to say was that potential buyers of this vendor’s “gold” coins should bend WAY over, completely relax their anal muscles, and hope that the seller has the decency to apply LOTS of lubricant.
The SMALL print was really SMALL. My 73-year-old eyes, even with glasses, had to resort to a magnifying glass to read it. But it CLEARLY stated that the “gold” coin contained .9-grams of 10-karat gold.
This is not a lesson in weights and measures, but suffice it to say that the weight of precious metals is always stated in terms of Troy measure, not in measurements that we’re familiar with: Avoirdupois measure.
As such, .9-grams of gold is the equivalent of 0.031746566 Troy OUNCES. Let’s just round that to 0.032 ounces (THIRTY-TWO ONE THOUSANDTHS of an OUNCE)!
And making matters worse, the purity factor of 10-karat gold is only 41.67 percent. In other words, 10-karat gold is only 41.67% pure gold. So here is what it all means.
The current price of gold is around $1,600 a Troy ounce. So, 0.032 ounces would yield about $51. But since it’s only 10-karat in purity, we’ll reduce that to about $21!
And this assumes that if you could find a buyer dumb enough to get involved, that $21 does not account for his or her margin. In other words the buyer needs to make a profit.
If the market value is $21, we’ll have to reduce this price by at least half again just to allow for the buyer’s mark-up when he or she sells it to some re-processor.
So the bottom line is that had she bought the coins, she would have paid $69.95 each, plus shipping and handling for “gold” coins with (at MOST) a gold-market value of no more than about $11 each if, indeed, she didn’t get a reply of “Sorry, this s**t’s worthless!”
I can’t speak for my good hearted neighbor, but for me, I’d never be able to relax that much while bent over that far, nor is there enough lubricant in the entire world to ease that level of pain… and WITHOUT so much as a peck on the cheek, either!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, but let me reiterate; READETH the SMALL print or keep an ample supply of lubricant on hand at ALL times!