The package depicted white Jockey undershorts. As you
can see, the undershorts that came out of it were anything but.
Let’s deal with the magenta shorts first.
Their story is part of what comes down to an ancient observation:
There’s a sucker born every minute.
An impulse purchase goes bad
Last August, I was walking past Macy’s here in New York and a thought occurred to me. Rather than wait until my underwear wears out and then have to hustle to replace it, why not stash away a package, for use when I would eventually need it?
So I ambled into Macy’s, found the men’s department, and asked where I could get a package of plain white jockey shorts. A clerk disinterestedly pointed me “that way.” Wandering “that way” I found a display of Jockey brand briefs. I found a package that portrayed white ones, the only kind I wear. I grabbed a pack and took it to a checkout counter.
A few days ago, five months after I made my purchase, it was time to replace some old briefs with some of the new ones. I pulled out the package, ripped it opened and found….the shorts were magenta!
It was a bloody outrage! Or a magenta outrage, if you will. Macy’s and Jockey had showed me white shorts, but surreptitiously sold me magenta shorts. It’s enough to make my head explode.
Does anybody for a moment think I’m going to get undressed in the locker room of my local health club and reveal I’m wearing magenta undershorts? Or go to my doctor wearing magenta undershorts? Or even meet a nice woman at a bar and….well, enough of that. You get the idea.
Evidently, you can’t be
too paranoid these days
How could this have possibly happened? Why had Jockey, or Macy’s, or Jockey and Macy’s decided to betray me? What profit is there in baiting-and-switching an old crank into buying a color he’d rather die than wear when you can just as easily sell him the white shorts he wants?
To be scrupulously, meticulously, rigorously, relentlessly fair to a fair-thee-well, had I examined every single side of the six-sided box of shorts, one side at a time, paying rigidly concentrated attention, turning it over and around, and over and around again with a fixed stare, I might have noticed…that one panel of the box did indeed reveal, through a cellophane window, that something inside was magenta.
But I trusted the picture on the box. I was more interested in the printed information around the photograph of white Jockey shorts, to make sure I had the right size, the right design, the right brand — all of which was stated or illustrated on one broad front panel. Who but a paranoid lunatic would start turning the box over and around and from side to side, looking for contradictory evidence? (Clearly, I wasn’t nearly paranoid enough to survive in the deceptive jungle that is modern America.)
Stuck and miserable in
a magenta nightmare
So now I’m stuck with bought-and-paid-for magentas. And no, I can’t take them back to Macy’s. Who but that paranoid lunatic I was talking about would horde receipts from a box of underpants in case he were to discover, five months later, that the wrong color had been foisted off on him?
Moreover, I’ve ripped open the box. What am I going to do — stride into Macy’s waving magenta shorts and a torn box, with no receipt, and demand a refund for a five-months-old and now-undocumented purchase?
They might think this is some kind of elaborate shop lifting scam. They might call security and the cops. I might end up in a cell phone video on the evening news, handcuffed and getting clubbed and tased by overzealous cops. I keep thinking about that poor woman who got beaten and her baby ripped from her arms for sitting on the floor while waiting her turn in a welfare office where there weren't enough chairs.
So I’m stuck forever with magenta. I’ve shoved the shorts into the back of my underwear drawer. No doubt when I die, somebody will go through my stuff, find the magenta shorts and say to him or herself, “I didn’t know that about him!”
Well, come to think of it, that’s not the way I want to be remembered. So after I finish writing this, I’m going to wad up all the shorts into a ball, (there were three pairs in different magenta hues) cram them into a paper bag, and then surreptitiously dump the bag into a city trash basket.
More than 30 bucks worth of underwear in the trash! All because of bait-and-switch. Or casual deception. Or a screw-the-public attitude. Which brings me around, at last, to Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump.
When the nation’s educational system
is treated like mislabeled underpants
One of the few cabinet appointments Donald Trump made that hasn't self-destructed yet was of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. He appointed her at a time of high outrage at for-profit colleges — a great many of which proved to be nothing more than theft mills targeting the vulnerable poor.
Many for-profit colleges deceived the most vulnerable people they could find, promising them a degree and a bright future, when in fact all that the poor suckers got was a worthless piece of paper, if anything, and a lifetime of debt. One for-profit college listed their ideal recruitment targets. And guess who they were:
•Welfare moms w/Kids
•Experienced a Recent Death
DeVos had skin in the game of
financially skinning suckers alive
When Betsy DeVos’s name was first bantered about for the job of education secretary, American Progress magazine reported that
Overall, DeVos’ paperwork showcases an extensive web of investments, several of which raise eyebrows. She has investments in companies that hound students to pay their federal loan debts, as well as in psychiatric hospitals under federal investigation for Medicare fraud. She also has more than $1 million in an undisclosed venture related to education. And although her filings do not show any direct ownership stake in a private for-profit college, she has chosen to put some of her money into firms that are invested in that industry.
Among the article’s conclusions:
•”DeVos profited from student loan misery”
•"DeVos has a connection to a major for-profit college”
•"DeVos has investments at firms that also own for-profit colleges”
So naturally, Donald Trump thought she’d be perfect as Secretary of Education.
Phony forgiveness of
This month, the DeVos’s U.S. Department of Education announced that it will cancel $150 million worth of student loans. But before you jump up and down with joy, and declare that Betsy has seen the light, understand what a piddling drop in the bucket this gesture is.
• In order to qualify, you can only have attended a college that a) closed and that b) went out of business between November 1, 2013 and December 4, 2015. All other victims are disqualified.
• Not only that, but you had to be enrolled at the time the school closed, or have withdrawn no more than 120 days before the school closed.
• And furthermore, you can only qualify if you did not enroll at another of these Title IV-eligible schools within three years of the date the prior school closed.
Got all that? Then there’s more than a piddling chance that even if you were ripped off by a for-profit college, you get nothing, nothing, nothing. That includes the ripped off former students of so-called Trump “University,” which closed in 2010.
And here’s the bottom line
What really happens is, DeVos and her pals, including Donald Trump, are inoculated against serious clawbacks by some future administration from the cost of those loans. The taxpayers eat the unreimbursed costs. The victims of for-profit education remain victims. And life goes on, except for those ripped off students who are so screwed that they commit suicide.
Hey, this is America, where, when you get right down to it, everything is magenta undershorts.