"Can You See It?"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, September 8, 2018

It seems as though we are not supposed to see. Pick up just about any item for sale in a drug store and try to read the directions on how to use the contents. We all can agree, it’s very important for us to know just what it is we are buying, especially if we are going to consume it.

If you purchase prescriptions, when you pick them up they are usually in a bag with a page or two of directions. The directions are often in fine print. The fine print may tell you if the medication is not taken properly various problems could occur, the worst being death.

Drugstores are not the only offenders when it comes to “fine print.” Many products we wish to buy — or have bought and go to use when we get them home, have print so small it’s even hard to read with a magnifying glass. And, of course, when we fill out paperwork — for anything from buying a car to doctor’s reports, there is always “fine print.” But we sign it because we are in a hurry to get on with whatever we are doing.

I recently had an issue with a credit card company. I was strongly objecting to a charge for interest on my bill — which I pay in full each month. They asked me if I had read the “Cardholder Agreement and Disclosure Statement” when I signed up for the card. I decided to go to my file and look, all the way back six years ago, there was a single page with the tiniest print and the faintest ink. The title of it however was in bold, big, black letters very easy to read; IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ AND RETAIN FOR YOUR RECORDS. So if they really wanted us to read it, why not make it readable? As I cruised through the file I also found a 22-page booklet chuck full of “tiny print” but on its cover, in big, black print was the title, MEMBERSHIP DISCLOSURES.

Just to be sure they made their point, the credit card company mailed me three additional pages titled, “Cardholder Agreement Important Please Read.” It was in the very “tiniest print” I had ever seen. As I read it, using my magnifying glass, I learned they have a “disclosure” way to get out of anything. I’m sure many of my readers have encountered like experiences with issues they have faced.

Here is a trick I use when I really do want to read something. I lay it on the copy machine and chose enlarge and it comes out readable. Of course this cost me money for the copier ink and paper but at least I can read it. There is another way in some cases if you want to read about a product, you go to the internet and if the print is tiny, there is usually that magnifying tool you can use to make it bigger.

As I see it, people selling products want to cram as much as they can in very small spaces so they can tell us, “It was printed on the bag, can, label etc.” When it comes to healthcare products, it borders on criminal that people are so misled and misdirected in using items that could affect their health.

I think old-timers could make a case for discrimination that would hold up because they are the ones who are told their eyesight is failing. Yes, I have heard the comment, “Are you blind?” My answer is NO. Like many elders, I have my eyes checked by my optometrist. I actually had them checked twice this past summer and got new glasses. The doc tells me my eyesight is just fine but I still cannot read a lot of the “tiny print.”

Many of the younger generation can’t read the fine print either and most of their reading is done online. The online people are almost as bad. When there is something you really want to read, it will say click here.

I wonder what the manufacturers that provide all that “tiny print” would think if we stopped buying items that contain it.

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