A number of years ago, someone I know bought one of those exercise “steps.”

For those of you not familiar with this type of product, it is a plastic step used for aerobic fitness, or so I was told.

Intrigued, I asked this person (whom I won’t embarrass by identifying) how much the “step” cost.

“Oh, around $50,” Mom said.

“Fifty bucks!” I was flabbergasted.

“Mom, come here. I want to show you something,” I said, leading her to the stairs going to the second floor.

“Look, there are about 25 steps right here,” I said, pointing to the steps. “And they’re free!”

Dupability is in our bloodlines, apparently. I’ve met very few scams I didn’t like. At age 10, I paid 5 cents for 10 albums. At age 12, I paid $6 for 12 sea monkeys. At age 18, I paid $18 for one-hour Martinizing that took nine days. At age 30, I paid $36 for one-hour Martinizing that took nine days. At age 40, I paid $40 for popcorn for three people at a movie. At age 50, I paid $50 at a restaurant on St. Simons Island for the grilled shrimp entree, which included four shrimp – which I’m pretty sure were sea monkeys.

I’m a fleeceable fool; a chump with a penny in his pocket itching to be spent on some ripoff, racket or hoodwink.

At this very moment, I’m considering buying a kit to build a robot that will vacuum my house, even though I’ve only vacuumed twice in the past three years.

“It sounds too good to pass up,” I say to myself — while that little guy on my shoulder (the one I never listen to) is saying “no, dummy, it’s too good to be true.”

But even this sucker knows better than to fall for the swindling swill of “pure” bottled water.

Proof comes from London, where (a number of years ago) Coca-Cola admitted that its Dasani “pure” bottled water is nothing but tap water.

And I thought Sherlock Holmes was dead.

According to the story, Coke said that Dasani is taken from London tap water and undergoes a “highly sophisticated purification process” which removes impurities. Coke uses the same process for Dasani water sold in the United States, the story stated.

And then they sell it to saps for somewhere around $1.89 (or, at a professional baseball game, $7).

In fact, half of all bottled waters you’ll find in supermarkets and convenience stores are “purified” waters taken from taps. So, basically, if it doesn’t say “mineral,” “source,” or “spring” water on its label, you’re just drinking pretentious tap water. According to Consumer Reports, someone who buys $1 water bottles spends 700 times the amount they would spend on drinking tap water – in a year.

Yet, every day I see thirsty people walk right past a free water fountain or a free water hose or a free puddle to spend $2 on bottled water that came from the very same source, or puddle, they snobbishly spurned.

A sucker knows a sucker when he sees one. And I see them everywhere.

Email Len Robbins at lrobbins@theclinchcountynews.com.

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