Faced with bait-and-switch tactics, the OFs stand their ground

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the school routine was already is in place in many institutions of learning.  

The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie and had their frequent-eater card stamped. Just like frequent miles, there are rewards at the Your Way Cafe for having a card and getting it stamped.

Enough stamps and the bearer of the card is entitled to a free breakfast. It is a good thing some of the OFs eat at the Your Way Café during the week; otherwise, if the group showed up with cards stamped sufficiently to receive a free breakfast at the same time, poor Darcy would go broke.

The OFs were fired up Tuesday morning on the “bait and switch” ads in the paper, even with coupons. This scribe did not realize so many of the OFs encountered this practice and what they did about it.  

Two of the best tales were about a major chain that has been around a long time. It seems that one of the OFs saw a car battery advertised in the paper for a really good price and since he owned an old clunker, which he used mainly to run around and go to work with, he knew the old car was in need of a battery.

“Perfect,” he told himself. “The sale is tomorrow and I am going down early in the morning before work and get one.”

The OF showed up with the ad and asked the clerk for the battery on sale because there were none on the sales floor. The OF said the clerk asked him what kind of car he drove and the OF told him.

The clerk said that battery would not fit in his car so they couldn’t sell him one. The OF said he blew up because the clerk had no idea what the battery was being used for. The OF said he could be using the battery to operate running lights for crabbing on his boat; it was none of the clerk’s business what the battery was going to used for.

He then asked for the manager. The manager came and said he was sorry but that particular battery was all sold out.

The OF said he pointed out to the manager that he (the OF) was the first one in the store. He told the manager to look around — there was only the OF, the manager, and the clerk there.

Where is everyone who bought the battery?  He didn’t see anyone leaving the store when he came in. The OF said he threatened to sue them individually and the store, and he was coming back with a cop.

The manager finally admitted there were no batteries, and sold him a better battery at the sale price. The customer has to stand his ground.

The next is the same store chain, and this OF says it was in an ad this store used off and on. The ad says the store has a tool chest full of tools for a ridiculously low price.

The OF says twice he tried to take advantage of this ad and both times was told the store were sold out. The next time he saw the ad, he went that evening to the store and saw quite a few of the boxes ready for sale on a table.

The sale was the next day and, just as the OF above (the OFs at that time lived hundreds of miles apart and this was not the same store, but the same chain so conversing with the other OF did not take place), this OF showed up first thing in the morning.

The table was empty and a clerk said he was sorry but they were sold out and offered a similar set at a higher price. This OF raised such a fuss, and insisted they were there and said that he checked it out the night before.

He, too, threatened legal action and they brought the advertised tool set out from the back and sold it to the OF for the advertised price. The OFs stand their ground.

One OF said he likes the way Walmart does it. Whatever the sale item is, it is where it is supposed to be and all wrapped up in plastic.

When it comes time for the sale, the wrapping is removed and the sharks come to the chum. The OF said he was in the right place at the right time, and had no intention of purchasing a TV but was right there when the Walmart employee was removing the wrapping off one of these sales.

The OF said he grabbed one and paid less for that TV than a cheap clock radio cost. The OF still has it and it works great.

The wife saw him later on in the store with the TV in his cart and she asked, “What the heck is this?  We don’t need another TV.”

The OF told his wife the price and took her back to where the TVs were to show her, and they were all gone. The OF said that he was unintentionally one of the Piranhas that just happened to be the first in line.

The OFs say, when messing with seniors and saving a buck, be sure to have your ducks in line because you are messing with a formidable foe.

One OF mentioned that we can’t trust the weatherman, we can’t trust politicians, we can’t trust the news, and we can’t trust ads. He added anyone that pays full price for a mattress must be from another planet.

Another OF mentioned he thinks the real “bait and switch” going on now is the one being perpetrated by National Grid. In this OFs opinion, National Grid wants a 5-percent increase, so the company asks for 11 percent.

The people become furious and get up in arms, the legislators get behind them, and the Public Service Commission reduces the increase to 5 percent. The PSC says, “Look what we did for you.” The legislators say, “Look what we did for you.” National Grid says it listened to the populace and so it accepted the 5-percent rate increase.

The only win would be for a 0-percent increase but that would not help National Grid with its increase in operating expenses. “Lets see how this one plays out,” the OF said.

Those Old Men of the Mountain who met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie (and who can’t wait to get their hands on the next ad for something they need or want) were: George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Robie Osterman, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Richard Frank, Dave Williams, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Pete Whitbeck, Roger Shafer, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Otis Lawyer, Duncan Bellinger, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Wayne Gaul, Duane Wagonbaugh, Bob Lassome, Don Wood, Sonny Mercer, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Warren Willsey, Mike Willsey, Josh Hundley, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.