From the Publisher’s Desk: Reading the fine print


By Bruce Schlabaugh

In life we have been warned to always read the fine print.

For Life After 50, we use a larger than usual type size so that our readers can easily get through our news stories and our classified ads. There are, however, several examples where even with my “cheater” glasses I cannot get through the fine print.

One example is the EULA agreement that appears in many computer software packages. EULA stands for End User License Agreement. There are at least 10,000 words in this document — all legalese. I don’t know how many years it took attorneys to perfect this agreement, but it must have been quite a while. This is the one where you start to read it then you through up your hands and scroll down to the “I agree” box, check it and then leave the document behind you. God only knows what I have just agreed to. I have always been afraid that there might be a quiz at the end.

If that fine print is not enough try renting a car. The agreement is so long that even the agents have given up. They say initial here, here and here then sign here. After one look at the fine print you do so willingly. God forbid you should return the car with a scratch on it. You will be tied up in repair paperwork for months or even years. To try to work out a simple solution with their “Customer Service” department is an exercise in futility. Just trying to speak to anyone in that department will drive you up the wall. The phone prompts alone can go on for hours.

The final fine print assault comes with TV ads. You know the ones. Usually they are the medicine ads, or the ones for asbestos attorneys or legal issues. The ad appears on your screen. At the bottom of the ads are more than 500 words of legalese mandated by the government to protect us from unscrupulous claims.

The fine print is blurry even with a magnifying glass. You are given three seconds to read the whole disclaimer. All I can say is good Luck. I am a quick reader and I have never gotten halfway through the finely printed messages in my lifetime.


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