Sometimes doing nothing means yes

I think the real masters of assuming the sale are those companies that make you do something before you can refuse to buy their products. For instance, when you rent a car, you're told to put initials on the application if you don't want the insurance. They want you to think, "I'm not going to sign that. It's just my luck that after I sign, I'll have an accident!" If you've ever belonged to a book-of-the-month, record-of-the-month, or even your favorite-fruit-of-the-month club, they make you notify them only when you don't want to buy during a particular month.

Or how about the magazine publishers that require you to write to them to discontinue your subscription? These companies make it hard to stop the sale, and when given a choice, most people take the easy way out. The customers who do nothing are automatically forced to buy the product! Insurance companies assume the sale when they send a renewal premium to you. Did you ever notice that they don't ask you if you want to continue your insurance for another year? Once you're on the books, they assume you're their customer for life, and they keep sending premium invoices to you until the day you die! The insurance companies do it, and their clients never recognize what's happening.

Companies that offer you a ten-day free-trial period employ this same tactic. They send you their product knowing that you're probably too lazy to ship it back to them (of course you must pay the shipping charges). Some make it difficult for you to get their merchandise out of the box without ripping the box to shreds in the process. Consequently, you must find your own replacement box, which generally is an odd shape, again making it hard to return. So, once again, you're encouraged to take the easy route and do nothing - and by fault, you're the proud owner of a brand-new ____ ! Congratulations.