Yeah, I bought lots of stuff advertised in my comic books. I fell for the x-ray specs and the handshake buzzer. I remember sending actual paper money and coins taped to the order. And I always received what I sent off for in the mail. You sure wouldn't send cash in the mail today, would you?
When I was a little bit older my tastes changed. I was now looking at Mad Magazine and Popular Science (my favorites). I guess kids that read Popular Science grow up to be pharmacists? And if they read Mad Magazine too they grow up to be Crazy RxMan.
One day I saw an add for a "free hearing aid" in the back of a Popular Science. It was similar to an actual ad I found shown here (from the Popular Science archives):
As it turns out, they weren't going to actually send you a hearing aid... rather a piece of plastic the same weight and size so that you could get an idea how it would feel on your ear.
Ok, now here's the fun part:
They really, really, really, really, really wanted to sell me a hearing aid. For the PAST THIRTY YEARS I have received advertisements from different companies wanting to sell me a hearing aid. I had long since moved away from home, gone to college, married, moved again, had kids, moved, and still, every now and then, they somehow found me and sent me an advertisement wanting to sell me a hearing aid. It's been a long time since I've received anything. They must figure I'm dead by now. And they're right. Retail pharmacy has sure killed my spirit.
I'm not even hearing-impaired, or at least I wasn't when I sent off for the piece of plastic. IT WAS FREE. I just thought it would be cool. You do a lot of stuff when you're a kid that you think is cool at the time. And despite what my kids say, I'm still cool.
Now here's my point of telling you this story... I tossed out my private health information (even though it wasn't actually true) that I was "hearing impaired." I became a golden opportunity for sales, and they persisted, for at least thirty years.
So I have a question for you: Don't you think, for a moment, if you're going to hand over your private and personal health information when you use a "FREE" GoodRx or another discount prescription card that they're not going to use that information down the road, most likely to sell you something?
If you don't think that's true, I have some x-ray specs I'd like to sell you.