I base most of my fashion sense on whether or not it itches.

~ Gilda Radner ~

Let’s Get Rid Of Fine Print

April 25th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 47 secs

What is fine print?

What is fine print?

Isn’t fine print frustrating? I mean, there are reams of the stuff in documents ranging from home loans to gym membership. From travel itineraries to health plans, it’s all there in tiny, ponderous detail… in the fine print.

Consider this: why do we put up with so much miniature writing written in unintelligible gobbledygook? Aren’t we allowed to understand what we signing or buying? Or, is it merely a deliberate ploy to conceal and confuse?

Contracts and tickets crammed with print too small to see are a contradiction. After all, contracts are meant to be of mutually benefit and be fully understood by both parties. But, unless you are a lawyer, who knows what it all means? And, even if you happened to hire a lawyer every time you booked an airline flight, went into a theme park, or had your car muffler done, they better have exceptional vision. Because who can read such tiny writing anyway?

Take ingredient lists on packaged food. Tiny 5-point text set against a red background requires a magnifying glass to read. So you can assume they don’t want you to know what you’re eating, which isn’t a very pleasant thought.  But then, why do we accept that?

I’d say it’s a matter of precedent. In this case we are all so used to miniscule print and hidden descriptions that we toss each item into our trolley, and click the “I have understood the 15 page list of fine print jargonese” button and take it all anyway. But how unfair is that?

So let’s not feed this by adding anymore fine print of our own. Let’s make everything we do clear, honest, and sincere so nobody need fear they’re being hoodwinked by doubtful practices and calculated deception.

After all, that’s what decency and good practice are all about. If things must be covered with indemnities and statements of liability, so be it (but not in some secret, two-faced way). Let the print be readable in every sense so a regular person can understand the intent. That way, we’d all be happier knowing the consequences of our decision-making and not feel cheated by hidden tricks in the littlest print (that so often drives us crazy with insurance, loans, airfares, medicines, and car hire). If we want to uphold fair play and just outcomes, it’s high time we started getting picky about honesty and got rid of the sneakiness of fine print.

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