By now you may already have heard of LFTB, i.e. Lean Finely Textured Beef. Doesn't sound too bad with that initialism. However, you would probably have a more negative reaction if you recognize LFTB under its more colloquial name: "pink slime." Pink slime is essentially meat scraps that have been processed by grinding it up and treating it with ammonia in order to kill bacteria. It may be present in as much as 70 percent of ground beef. Now do you remember it?
A more interesting item came to my attention recently, the treating of meat with transglutaminase. The treatment is sometimes known as using meat glue. Transglutaminase can come in a powdered form and when dusted over some scraps of beef, for example, will allow the scraps to become as one (i.e. glued together.)
Yep, pink slime and meat treated with meat glue are now fairly common and have been declared "safe" though cooking meat thoroughly might still be a precaution you would want to exercise. Sort of makes you want to think organic or possibly becoming a vegan. Ah, but I do like a little meat at most main meals. What to do? Oh, Fiddlesticks!
Not being hip enough to have Tivo or any device that allows not having to watch TV commercials, I have often pondered some of the sales techniques. Commercials, however, also can come in print form or show up in e-mails on the computer. Just as I was getting ready to do this column, I received an e-mail that had to be very personal because in the subject line I read: Your new auto warranty policy ID#: UQ446PO98HF. Certainly with that long ID#, the writer must know something about my car. And besides it was signed by someone who is an Auto Warranty Consultant. The notice said that the Auto Warranty Plan will save me up to 60 percent OFF! And further, I apparently was pre-approved as they gave the approval #567E-CFUR7740. Wow, I should maybe write a check to get the Warranty immediately. NOT!
Now if the plan saves me "up to 60 percent off" and I find it saves me 0 percent, isn't that UP TO 60 percent? That reminds me of a television ad from a while back that said that I may be eligible to as much as $40,000 if I were in an accident. Again if I were eligible for $0, isn't that "as much as $40,000?"
On TV in the last few days there has been an ad about a step-in bath/shower that offers a Lifetime Limited Warranty. Of course what a buyer should do is get a few details in terms of what that three word phrase means. It is a fairly common phrase and I believe it is the same as a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
"Caveat Emptor," let the buyer beware. Some folks might think that the product may be good for the lifetime of the buyer or at least until the buyer passes it on to a different owner. Now if the lifetime instead means the lifetime of the product, that would be less valuable. Yet often that is approximately what it means because in many cases the lifetime is judged based on when the company discontinues marketing the product. Some companies will honor the warranty for a specified time after the company discontinues making the product, say two years or five years.
The "limited" is also an interesting word that is subject to interpretation. The limiting might be related to replacement or repair of a defective part only. One such Limited Lifetime Warranty for some bathroom plumbing stated that the Company will, "at its election, repair, replace or make appropriate adjustment (not responsible for removal or installation costs)." Who does get to decide what is appropriate? Further the warranty would be voided if tank cleaners [in a toilet] are used.
Reverse Mortgages have been advertised rather extensively of late. Celebrities pushing reverse mortgages have included Fred Thompson (age 69), Robert Wagner (82), and Henry Winkler (66). Now I seriously doubt that any of those three are so down on their luck that they would need to use a reverse mortgage for themselves.
Briefly, a reverse mortgage allows qualified persons (youngest at least 62 years old) to take a loan on their home and use the money for any needs they may have. The mortgage does not have to be paid until the last surviving home owner permanently moves out or dies. The estate then has six months to repay the balance of the mortgage or sell the house. If there remains equity, that remainder goes to the estate. If the sale is for less than the mortgage, then the estate is not liable for the remaining amount of the mortgage. The owners living in the home do need to pay the taxes and also must pay for insurance on the home.
Other celebrities selling to the "older folks" include Alex Trebek (age 71), James Garner (age 84), and Pat Boone (age 77).
To be fair about actual users of what is being sold, note that Fred Thompson apparently helped his mother (age 91) negotiate a reverse mortgage. So even if he wasn't a direct user, he at least helped his mother get a reverse mortgage.
Until next time: Oh, Fiddlesticks!