One of the most vacuous and inane phrases in the English language is "Up To." It is impossible to determine what it means. It means what you want it to mean but may not deliver the expected results. In context it means a quantity, something that can be measured, counted or weighed. It means anything from the slightest, smallest amount imaginable to the largest, biggest, ginormous amount possible. Those in the marketplace use it so often that it is becoming meaningless. When one says "up to" any amount of change satisfies the claim.
I don't mean to brag but I have already eaten three tomatoes from my garden. The first one entered my alimentary canal in mid-June which brings me to those upside down tomato growing devices seen in so many magazines and catalogs. A smiling man or woman stands beside a plant that is growing downward from a special container and it has 245 red, luscious ready to eat tomatoes hanging on it. The smiling man says, "This tomato will produce up to three bushels of fruit in a season." Fuzzle! I have tried it three years running and I only got about three tomatoes but that does meet the criteria of "up to."
Automobile manufacturers of today tout their cars mileage by saying; the Swift Salubrious Seven model will get up to 36 MPH in town and 51 MPH on the highway. Notice the clever wording. If you buy the SSS you will only get 18 in town and 25 in the country.
Turn the page of that magazine and see a smiling woman seated at a table stuffing envelopes or packing live animals while cooing, "I am a stay at home mom but I still have time to work at home, care for my children and in less than four hours per week I can make up top $1,500." That is a very deceptive advertisement. If she makes $5.00 after working 25 hours the company can still maintain she made up to $1,500.
Then there is the smiling, nubile, young, curvaceous, drop dead gorgeous, bikini-clad beach body who brags, "I lost 45 pounds in 32 minutes using LLL. You can lose up to six pounds per week with Liquid Lariat Liposuction. Lasso that fat and brand it gone. Drink away the fat." Up To. Liar! That "babalicious" was never over weight, she lives in the health club working out ten hours per day, eats lettuce leaves and air sandwiches with illusions as bread. Weight Watchers couldn't find her with radar because her body will not reflect signals. However, I am not opposed to some one-on-one time with her as she explains the program.
BW and I bought six of those energy saving curly cue light bulbs. The ads touted, "Save up to 70% of the energy of conventional light bulbs. They have a life expectancy of up to eight years." We shelled out several shekels for each bulb. Guess what? Two of them burned out during the first week.
I have had it "up to" here with those ads.
Larry Vandeventer grew up North of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State University. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or 317-839-7656. He has published six books. Contact him to purchase them.