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Doug Clark: Today’s real game is between the ears

Happy Super Bull Sunday.

This is the day when the dark forces of merchandising pull out all the stops to hypnotize us with images of hot chicks, prancing Clydesdales and talking babies.

Man, those talking babies give me the creeps.

Some of these super commercials will be hilarious, of course.

A lot of them will be dumber than a box of socks.

But every one of them will be designed to separate you and me from our hard-earned cash.

Oh, yeah. There’s some kind of football thing going on today, too.

But selling stuff to suckers is the real game being played today.

Even Madonna’s halftime appearance is part of the National Undertakers Association campaign to promote the wonders of embalming.

This hocus-pocus in HD focus is nothing new.

Conning consumers has been going on since flimflammers hawked snake oil out of the backs of covered wagons.

Then television came along to elevate the art of lying to a cinematic level.

The Super Bowl is America’s mass-market money shot where advertisers are reportedly forking out $3.5 million for a 30-second chance to pick our pockets.

But take heart, people. We consumers have hope in a tough-minded hero named Heather Peters.

Peters made news this week when she won a near-$10,000 judgment in a California small claims court.

It’s not the amount that matters. What matters is that she beat the mighty Honda corporation in a case that was all about misleading advertising.

The issue was simple: The 2006 Honda hybrid Peters owned didn’t get the 50 miles per gallon as advertised.

Peters, according to an online CNN report, is just one of 200,000 customers who own this hybrid. She is, however, the owner who dropped out of the “proposed class action settlement that offered dissatisfied customers a couple hundred dollars.”

Being a former attorney, Peters took the do-it-yourself approach and filed her own lawsuit.

Her contention that the car company’s advertising was misleading convinced a court commissioner to award Peters the dough.

Honda, like all mega-enterprises, must have an army of high-powered litigators at the quick.

Which means an appeal is as certain as the sun rising in the morning.

Even so, imagine the chaos and the cost if each and every one of those owners decided to take the Heather Peters approach.

We should erect a statue in this woman’s honor.

Peters has proved that the little guy (or gal) can hit back against the Goliath-size companies when the hype doesn’t measure up to reality.

Could this be the start of a national movement?

I, for one, have always wanted to get even with the fast-food burger barons.

Watch the TV commercials. You see these sizzling, succulent patties the size of manhole covers.

Then you actually order one.

Surprise!

Is that a Whopper?

Looks more like a whimper.

If we burger lovers start filing meat misrepresentation claims maybe we really could have it our way.

So enjoy the game and try not to let the commercials suck you in.

Give those embalmers credit, though.

I saw Madonna on another TV show recently. And you know, for a cadaver she does look almost lifelike.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at dougc@spokesman.com.


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