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Up to… What?

By David Snook

Do you ever look beyond the “Sale – 60% off” signs? Usually you will find between “sale” and the figure that there are two tiny words inserted, “up to”. I immediately discount the deal as I know those two words mean it is a totally worthless offer.

Up to… What?

But obviously many people - I guess - must fall for it, because sales people and marketing people still use those two heavily mitigating words.

The same principle can often be used with other walks of life. On the BBC’s lunchtime TV news on September 14 there was another very biased report on the review of stakes and prizes in gambling that is due next month. According to the report, online betting and fixed-odds betting terminals are in the firing line. And the wording of the introduction said that the “industry regulator estimates that up to two million people in the UK are problem gamblers.”

Which industry regulator? The UK’s Gambling Commission? It may be so but I have not seen that statistic attributed to the Gambling Commission before. And of course there are those two pestilential words “up to” prefixing the numbers. Those two words render the whole statistic meaningless but few people will have focused on that.

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