Right of Corporations To lie

Cigarette companies in Australia are demanding to be compensated for loss of sales when the Australian government insisted on truth in advertising, putting grim images of the consequences of smoking on the packs. Cigarette companies seem to think they have a constitutional right to lie to their customers and to kill them off. They should feel fortunate we tolerate them at all. They are in roughly the same position as the makers of heroin.

Why would anybody start smoking? Everyone who smokes tells you they wish they could quit, even if just to save the money. Anyone who tricks another into starting should be hanged.

We have a ridiculously high tolerance for being lied to by corporations. Oil companies claim they have state-of-the-art technology to clean up oil spills when the truth is they can only recover at best 5% of the crude once it hits the water and have no technology at all to clean up a bitumen spill.

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes fills the giant boxes only half full. Shampoo makers advertise all natural but when you read the fine print all the ingredients are chemicals with unpronounceable names, except for aqua which they use to disguise simple water.

When you sign up for Internet service the bill is 25% higher than promised because of all manner of fees and it is much slower than advertised.

Your food can be irradiated or genetically modified without labeling. The government conspires with agribusiness to make sure you do not know. Those 10-year energy saver bulb die after 9 months. Liquid soaps from China are advertised to smell like lemons and grapefruits but when you open them, they smell like pig vomit.

Then there is Post Cereals and its phony premiums. You comply with all the rules and send away for your $35 Reebok PlayDry Tee shirt and get nothing, not even an apology.

Then there is Dawn dish detergent that promises to donate $1 from the sale of each bottle to help clean oil-soaked wildlife. Then you read the fine print and discover they do no such thing.

And that does not begin to tackle the problem of incompetently designed products, like Brita pitchers, nearly all electric kettles and Colgate toothpaste that explodes if you take it on an airplane, or Campbell’s Chicken à la King with only one chunk of chicken per can.

We have been far too resigned. We need to fight back at crooked corporations. An honest corporation is now a rarity.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:70)