Tom Valley

Where has trust gone? I'll tell you where ... and thanks for asking. Credibility as we once knew it has been bludgeoned so badly over recent years that it (trust) has put its tail between its legs and headed for the hills. That's what's happened. Who is responsible? Plain and simple: liars.

Lying, cheating connivers who totally disregard facts and cast the confidence and faith of others to the wayside in pursuit of making a buck and/or personal gain. And if you can't see that, then you might as well order a seeing-eye dog because you are as blind as a bat. (And as the Good Lord knows, I am not making fun of people with visual impairments, so stop the campaign to have me fed to the dogs.)

I used to be as gullible as anyone. Over time I've learned that if someone didn't believe what you were telling them, it was because they, themselves, often subverted the truth.

Aristotle once said, “Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.” That quote has nothing to do with this, but every now and then I like to sprinkle in something classy, something eruditely profound. So, there you go.

Nonetheless, cynicism has taken deep root in our society. And it's a shame. Especially when it's born from the supposedly respected institutions we once held in esteem. I know what you're thinking … “I know where he's headed with this.” Maybe, maybe not.

About a month ago, a local hardware store was advertising $10 off the normal price of a gallon of paint. (Is that where you thought I was headed?) Anyhow, I thought how cool, I needed paint. And it was such a good deal, I decided to buy two gallons. So, off I went.

Once there, I picked out the colors I wanted, grabbed a few other items with the money I was saving and proceeded to the cash register. With a smug look-what-I-got-for-free grin on my face, I placed the items on the counter and was immediately hit with the dreaded sledgehammer known as the rebate form. You've got to be kidding me?! It was like the fish who suddenly realizes there's a hook in that damn worm he just chomped down on — the old pull-the-rug-out-from-underneath-you trick. What a scam.

As much of a pain as it was to go through the red tape of going online and filling out the from — which the company is praying you don't do — I tried to do it. After 20 minutes of correcting myself, several times as I filled in a 38-digit purchase number and found out that because the cursor wasn't in the right place not a single number got typed in, I thought I was finished. Not.

I was instructed at the very end that unless I enclose proof of purchase, namely the receipt, all my work was invalid. How the hell was I supposed to do that? No clue. So I slapped the laptop shut and gave up. Which is another thing they hope you do. And of course, even if you do get the coupon in the mail, they have one last reprieve if you don't cash it. Ridiculous, deceitful advertising.

Got time for another one?

Earlier in the day, before going to the hardware store, I thought maybe I'd buy a pizza with the money I was going to save. Heck, I'd have 20 bucks to blow. Why not? When that deal fell through, I went to plan B for supper.

Plan B: Burger King was offering a second Whopper for only $1 if you went in and bought one. So I thought I could get out cheaply (as usual, because that's how I roll) by going to a fast food restaurant and grabbing two burgers for practically the cost of one. So I did.

I went through the drive-thru, placed my order for the burgers – here's where I remind you that one was only a buck — and simply added fries to the order. That's it. No drinks. I got to the window to pay and the young girl said, “That'll be twenty-one dollars and fifty-some cents.”

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I ask you: "Is life in the slammer enough for those who mislead the poor, unsuspecting public such as the gullible sap that stands before you here today?”

And the irony of all this is that Burger King comes right out and tells you it's a deceitful act, a.k.a. a lie. Seriously, if someone doesn't believe an exaggerated story, what do they call it? Yup, you got it. A whopper. How appropriate!


That's the way it looks from the Valley.

“Be open minded, but not so open-minded that your brains fall out' — Groucho Marx. Contact Tom at

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