Here’s another amusingly misleading marketing expression:

as low as (adv.)

Asterisks ahoy!  “As low as” is a deliciously ambiguous term that simply means that somebody, somewhere might actually get this price, rate, or deal, though it probably won’t be the actual human who just read the ad.  Or maybe it could be you, if you were to accept the worst possible terms of the deal.  To crack the code, just replace the word “as low as” with “for you, highly unlikely to be,” and you’re on your way! For example:

Marketing copy: Act now! Rates as low as 2.49 percent!

Translation: Rates are, for you, highly unlikely to be 2.49 percent.  But if you were a complete idiot, and you accepted a loan that would explode in one year, increase to 18%, and indenture your children to the Russian mafia, why yes, we would give it to you for 2.49 percent.

Marketing copy: Prices as low as $1,000.*

Translation: We have a car that we’ll sell to you for $1,000.  It has no air conditioning, a blown tire, and a slight tendency to rapidly accelerate when shifted into Park.  *Internal combustion engine not included.

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