The picture on the back of my comic book looked so real. World War II army soldiers were firing guns and running with bayonets. Best of all, you could get a hundred for just one dollar!
I didn’t want them for myself but for my younger brother who loved playing “army.” Bob had a few toy soldiers but he didn’t have a hundred! I didn’t have a dollar either but I saved my allowance and finally had enough to mail in with the coupon. When the package finally arrived, it looked pretty small for a hundred soldiers—and then I found out why.
The soldiers were tiny, two-dimensional cut-outs in thin gray plastic. They didn’t even stand up. “Oh, Mom,” I cried, “They’re not like the picture!”
“No, they’re not,” she said, “but it was nice of you to do that for Bob.”
I didn’t feel nice. I felt stupid and angry for believing in that Special Offer, for believing you could get a hundred soldiers for a dollar.
It was too good to be true, of course, and now I knew what that meant. A hard lesson and costly, but I’ve always remembered it. Also remembered how Bob thanked me.