This article belongs to Heads or Tales column.

If you got upset every time someone lied to you, it would be almost impossible to function in daily society.  You wouldn't be able buy a car, vote or go out on a date.


Driving, voting and sex have a lot in common.  They can get messy at times and it's always possible to have an accident; but, for the most part, they are enjoyable activities which are often even more fun after a couple of drinks.   


So, rather than deny ourselves basic pleasures, I believe it is important for us to develop a coping strategy to deal with the daily onslaught of lying.  For this reason, I recommend trying to conserve energy and get offended only when people lie to you as if you're a complete idiot.


The one real problem with this strategy is that it makes it almost impossible to go shopping.   If there is any group (other than professional athletes on steroids) that seems particularly dedicated to separating you from your hard-earned money while at the same time insulting your intelligence, it would have to be people in advertising.


Advertising used to be about explaining value to the customer.  It was a noble craft that was dedicated to helping consumers make informed choices in much the same way as an escort service strives to help clients find true love; that is, by maintaining an illusion just long enough for the merchant to verify the credit card you're using.


These days there is a new strategy afoot on Madison Avenue – offering less while asking you to pay more. 


This trend started awhile back with pretzel pieces.  Just in case you haven't come across these items in the snack aisle, let me take a moment to describe them to you…. 


Pretzel pieces are broken bits of pretzels that have been seasoned with flavorings other than salt and then packaged as "gourmet" (translation: more expensive) snacks.


Most of the time when I go to buy regular pretzels, I like to check two or three bags to see which one has the fewest broken pretzels at the bottom.  Now, when I go shopping, the pretzel companies are trying to sell me entire bags of broken pretzels.

One man's floor scraps are
another man's gourmet snack

This would be fine if, like every other product sold in the world, you got a discount if the product was slightly damaged.  Instead, I'm asked to pay more for broken pretzels than I am for fully intact pretzels. 


It just this kind of insanity in the real world that makes the voices in my head seem so much more reasonable.


And exactly where do you think all these pretzel pieces are coming from?  Is it so far-fetched to think at the end of the day there's a guy that goes through the pretzel factory with a push-broom and a dustpan to collect all the pieces that have fallen off the assembly line during the day?  This goes a long way toward explaining the latest flavor offering: Honey Mustard and Lint.

In many parts of the world,
 women are forced to make
pretzel pieces for only
pennies a day


There is a more serious problem, however.  Other companies are starting to copy the success of the pretzel manufacturers.


The latest addition to the rip-off sweepstakes is the invention of the foaming cleanser.  This new-fangled soap is designed to sit in a designer plastic bottle on your sink or in your bathtub at home.  A quick press of the pump on the top of the dispenser yields a handful of foamy lather.


But you can't fool me.  I know what lather is… it's used soap.  If I don't pay for broken pretzels, I'm certainly not going to pay for second-hand soap. [


We've collected used soap so you don't have to!


And I'm not even going to speculate on where the previously owned soapsuds come from…