You can expect the lifetime of an average person on earth to be something like 70 years. For the average mayfly, it's one day. For the average U.S. citizen, it's "until the McRib comes back to town." When you buy a product with a "lifetime warranty," the manufacturer could be referring to any one of those. Or they could be referring to something even more convenient for them: the lifetime of the product.
Say you manufacture backpacks, and they tend to last about five years. You could offer a five-year warranty, but that would put you at a disadvantage with your competitor, who offers a lifetime warranty on their backpacks. That leaves you with two basic options. You could improve your business to compete on price and quality ...
Ha ha, because that's a thing businesses do!
... or you could twist language into an unrecognizable perversion of itself in order to make a quick buck while ensuring your lazy ass has to be inconvenienced in no way whatsoever. Guess which one most companies go with.
To do the latter, simply arrange your lawyers in a pentagram and have them transcribe the unholy malediction "The 'lifetime' of the product is defined to be five years," and when the smoke clears, your old warranty is now a "lifetime warranty." Better yet, Camelbak defines their product life to be "until something breaks," but this level of black magic douchery is best left to professionals.
The most surprising thing about that explanation is that it doesn't say "bro" at the end.
Now, because only a select group of smart and attractive people read columns on Cracked, you are on equal footing with your competitor, as far as everyone else is concerned. And it didn't cost you a thing except the use of language as a means to communicate with other humans.
Products that qualify: daily contact lenses, the light from a sputtering candle, Smash Mouth's career
Aaron Kheifets is an occasionally mustachioed comedian, writer, and director. You are allowed to follow him on Twitter, watch his videos, and look at his website.
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