I was the dummy, no doubt about it. Sometimes life becomes just a game of Gotcha!, and a dummy is required.

I heard it even as I was hanging up the phone…that fast talking New York voice at the other end exclaiming a gleeful “Gotcha!” And he was right…but only for five minutes.

The Fast Talker had just sold me, The Dummy, a bill of goods that made Bush’s selling the American public on the Iraq War look like a kindergarten exercise. And I should have been arrested on the spot for an indecent display of stupidity.

I was desperate for a camera–not just any camera, of course, but a particular Nikon model that apparently due to Nikon’s major miscalculation, was essentially unavailable for the foreseeable future in any of the usual places in this country–like camera stores, and not just my local ones. Coming up with one of these, along with a specific lens anywhere outside of Hong Kong, was going to require more than the usual goose chasing of which I am a master.

That’s when I got tangled up with the New York City Fast Talker. His alleged company’s web site was offering both the camera and lens at a not-too-bad price, or so it appeared. Appearances were definitely deceiving, as I was about to find out. But not so fast.

First I had to be led through the Fast Talker’s maze of verbal twists and turns that left my head spinning with all that he was going to do for me for oh-so-little money. All of those add-ons and must-haves, bundled in twos and threes, further confusing the issue, while making them a better value. Ha!

Where was 60 Minutes when I needed them? I was the perfect example of the complete dupe that fast talkers dream of and lie in wait for. I should have been on film as I got caught up in and fell for the illusion of falling prices and “a good deal.” Ha! again.

Starting at a figure approximating a down payment on the Taj Mahal, the Fast Talker rapidly reduced the original price at my every hiccup of hesitation by lump sums, each of which came close to the amount of a mortgage payment on a 3 bedroom suburban home. Why wasn’t my red flag alert system waving so furiously that I could only see red? Most regrettably, I have no answer for that.

In the end, the final “highly discounted price” seemed a whole lot less than it actually was. The illusion couldn’t have been more successful–for five minutes.

That’s how long it took my dazed and dazzled head to come to, and then I called the Fast Talker right back. Or tried to. Guess what. He had just “stepped out.” And in the following week that I continued to call his presumed company, he never came back in. And he had proclaimed himself to be “The Sales Manager.” Is anyone surprised? “Gotcha good!”–or so he, whoever he really was, thought.

In attempting to right my wrong–within minutes of having committed it–I was told definitively by whomever answered the phone that cancellation was impossible. “The order has gone through, we can do nothing to stop it.”

“Furthermore, don’t even think about returning anything, despite what the Sales Manager told you in his brainwashing of you. We will not accept any returns–and, just for even thinking of trying to return anything, we will charge you you a re-stocking fee, even though we will have nothing to re-stock, and the re-stocking fee will be only $700. Can you believe that deal? It’s highly discounted.”

“Gotcha!” was resonating in my ears.

Then, this week I heard another resounding ‘Gotcha!’ This time it was a voice coming from the east–the east coast, that is. But it had a Texas twang. The voice was unmistakably that of our deluded leader. He was delivering his State of the Union speech–more aptly, State of Delusion speech. Its whole message was easily summed up with ‘Gotcha!’, delivered with that signature smirk, only slightly subdued.

With two more years to go, and yet seemingly not enough time to get him legally evicted from that white house we pay for him to live in, he’s not backing down on escalating a war that can’t be won. He thinks he’s got the lack of time on his side, so he can do whatever he wants with nothing to stop him, so ‘Gotcha!’ is his.

The New York Fast Talker should be so lucky. His ‘Gotcha!’ is about to come flying right back in his face as if shot out of a high powered boomerang with a whiplash return.

There is recourse with other entities–legal and media–that can and will put the New York City Fast Talker and his bogus bunch right out of business. (Wish it were so easy to get things done in Washington.)

And guess what…Visa is already on to the bogus bunch. I wasn’t the first to have heard their ‘Gotcha!,’ but I plan to be among the last. Never have I been happier to say, “Gotcha back!”

W, look out–you’re next.

Internet Explorer 6 or older browser detected. This website is functional only in Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer 7+ and other internet standards compliant browsers. Please visit this site using a current browser.