CAU­TION­ARY TALE

Be care­ful what you pur­chase or bid for on­line. If you don’t ex­er­cise some cau­tion you might just end up sell­ing your soul

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Be care­ful what you say on­line

‘‘ NO CAR? No home? No col­lat­eral for loan? Bad debt? No prob­lem. No re­pay­ments. We want your soul.’’

That’s the en­tic­ing ad­ver­tis­ing pitch by one web­site of­fer­ing on­line quo­ta­tions to find out the cur­rent value of your soul ( it’s a free, no obli­ga­tion quote!)

‘‘ We Want Your Soul, Inc. ( WWYS) is a global pri­vate eq­uity firm with nearly 250 mil­lion souls un­der man­age­ment,’’ the web­site ex­plains. ‘‘ WWYS gen­er­ates out­stand­ing re­turns for its cus­tomers by em­ploy­ing cut­ting- edge pro­pri­etary soul ex­trac­tion, con­tain­ment and sup­pres­sion tech­nolo­gies in­clud­ing, but not lim­ited to, ge­netic mod­i­fi­ca­tion, op­er­ant con­di­tion­ing and thought con­trol.’’

Soul- sell­ing and pur­chas­ing on­line is a prank that pops up ev­ery cou­ple of years, such as in 2010 when UK videogame net­work GameS­ta­tion de­cided to slip the ul­ti­mate clause into the terms and con­di­tions of its pur­chase con­tracts, ef­fec­tively pur­chas­ing 7500 souls with the click of a mouse.

‘‘ By plac­ing an or­der via this web­site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Do­mini, you agree to grant us a non- trans­fer­able op­tion to claim, now and for­ever more, your im­mor­tal soul,’’ the fine print read.

‘‘ Should we wish to ex­er­cise this op­tion, you agree to sur­ren­der your im­mor­tal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within five work­ing days of re­ceiv­ing writ­ten no­ti­fi­ca­tion from games­ta­tion. co. uk or one of its duly au­tho­rised min­ions.’’

What be­gan as an April Fools’ joke turned into an ex­er­cise prov­ing the point that lazy con­sumers rarely read the fine print. And if you don’t read the fine print, you never know what you might gain or save.

‘‘ We re­serve the right to serve such notice in 6- foot high let­ters of fire, how­ever we can ac­cept no li­a­bil­ity for any loss or dam­age caused by such an act,’’ the con­tract con­tin­ued.

‘‘ If you a) do not be­lieve you have an im­mor­tal soul, b) have al­ready given it to an­other party, or c) do not wish to grant us such a li­cence, please click the link be­low to nul­lify this sub- clause and pro­ceed with your trans­ac­tion.’’ How very rea­son­able of them. The prank was re­ceived as a joke and outed as such later that day, but some peo­ple take this soul- sell­ing stuff deadly se­ri­ously.

One free­lance writer from New Mex­ico, US, tried to sell her soul on eBay re­cently. For real.

The start­ing bid for Lori N’s soul was $ 2000 be­fore the list­ing dis­ap­peared. The writer was in a car ac­ci­dent in 2007, leav­ing her in a coma for three weeks and per­ma­nently in­ca­pac­i­tated, so sell­ing her soul was one way to raise some money.

Ear­lier, a Univer­sity of Wash­ing­ton stu­dent tried a sim­i­lar stunt when his soul sold for $ 400 on eBay in Fe­bru­ary. The list­ing was promptly taken down and the stu­dent’s eBay ac­count was sus­pended.

eBay’s terms and con­di­tions don’t con­done the sale of souls, you see.

‘‘ We don’t al­low hu­mans, the hu­man body, or any hu­man body parts or prod­ucts to be listed on eBay, with two ex­cep­tions,’’ the site ex­plains.

‘‘ Sell­ers can list items con­tain­ing hu­man scalp hair and skulls and skele­tons in­tended for med­i­cal use.’’

At least that leaves a cou­ple of op­tions to raise an in­her­i­tance when we leave.

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