No, I don't mean that kind of dubious. I mean the ones that promised amazing things, things that every young person would crave, but when you sent in your money and received your package 4 to 6 weeks later, you soon found out that the people selling these things were crooks. Con men. Full of horse pucky.
You know the sort of thing I mean. Here's an example...
Ever wish you could see through walls? Or ladies clothes? (Hello, ladies!!) Or men's clothes, if you're so inclined? Well, for a measly buck you can have X-ray vision!
All you have to do, says the ad, is buy these special X-ray glasses and you can let your inner creepy perv out to play. Also, you'll be in demand from local hospitals and doctors for your ability to diagnose people at a glance.
However,the reality is this. You wait six to eight weeks for that cheery knock on the front door only to find out that these X-ray glasses did not in fact use real X-rays (which is good, because if they did, there'd be people walking around everywhere with massive head tumours)and wouldn't let you see through anything. In fact, you could barely see through the tiny hole in the center.
These X-ray specs consisted of two bits of cardboard with a piece of tracing paper between them to blur your vision, causing two slightly offset images which gives the illusion of an X-ray. In other words they give you blurred vision, which you could already get for free by merely squinting.
Here's another timeworn example...
A machine that turns plain ordinary paper into cold hard cash, simply by turning a knob. Sounds good. Sounds incredible. Sounds highly illegal. But even if it is illegal, you're just a kid, right? You'll never do any porridge. Besides, by the time they cotton onto your counterfeit operations you'll be filthy rich and can afford a top-flight defence team. So why worry?
You have to put money in it first. I mean, sure... it looks like paper is going in and coming out as money but it's all a farrago.
The only way you'll make money with this thing is to sell it to some other sucker and then move to Alaska.
Tired of being a shrimp? Everybody knows tall people get more girls and better jobs. But body-lengthening surgery is a tad pricey, so why not invest $1.98 and get a pair of "liftee" height-increasing pads.
Yes, they're just wedges you put in your shoes. I mean, OK, according to the picture in the ad they'll make you an incredible eight inches taller, but you will feel like this...
Another question that arises is the slightly odd promise of 'romance' occurring once you start wearing these. But what happens when you take the girl home and take your shoes off? Buddy, you'd better have something else with which to impress the lady. Like an amazing six-pack or an MBE or fat piles of cash from your money-making machine.
Then there's the claim that you'll "Find and qualify for the best jobs". I can just see that scenario.
"Well, you've flunked out of three schools, been expelled from five and you've never passed a single exam, however, you are extremely tall. Congratulations, you're our new attorney-at-law."
Anyway, as I was saying, you almost never see these kinds of ads anymore, and do you want to know why?
We've been slowly but surely eradicating them. Oh yes. You didn't think they'd disappear by themselves, did you?
You're welcome, world.
Michael and Clark will clue you in on some more of our covert ops later in the week.