I just sat through another wretched “Cash For Gold!” television ad. The prevalence of these low-budget commercials has increased in direct proportion to my general malaise about the state of the economy.  This latest ad showed a woman digging through her jewelry box and shaking her head in disgust.  Her expression was that of someone who had just discovered mold on her shower curtain. But what was really bothering her were the heaps of jewelry taking up space in her jewelry box.

“Great-Aunt Shelia’s locket,” she seemed to be thinking resentfully, “Why keep you when I could have cold hard cash instead?”

See, the concept of wanting to get rid of your “old, broken and unwanted” gold jewelry doesn’t make much sense to me. If your gold jewelry is old, it’s probably because it has sentimental value.  If it’s broken, you’re probably hanging on to it because you’ve been meaning to have it repaired, because it’s got sentimental value– but, you know, in this economy, now is not the time to repair your old, broken gold jewelry.  If it’s unwanted but valuable jewelry, you probably pawned it already so you could afford to keep your television so as not to miss those hilarious “Cash for Gold!” ads. (There’s an O. Henry story in there somewhere.) And if you’re like me, and your jewelry is unwanted and not valuable, it’s because it came from a plastic egg out of a fifty cent prize machine.

Back to the commercial. Next, another woman appeared onscreen, managing in her seven seconds of airtime to convey a sense of utter and complete dishonesty. Had she been my waitress, I would not have trusted her to put my leftover sandwich-half into a take-home container without first wiping it on the floor behind the kitchen stove.

“I put my wedding ring from my ex-husband into an envelope, and the next day I got back an envelope full of MONEY!” she crowed, clutching fistfuls of bills…all of which appeared to be singles. One look at her and I instantly sided with her ex-husband.

That’s another problem. These ads seem to count on viewers’ lack of awareness that there are other methods of finding out what your jewelry is worth besides sticking it in an envelope and mailing it to the mysterious address that flashed briefly on your television screen in between a motor-scooter infomercial and the start of ‘Jeopardy’. You could mail it to me, for example. I am completely trustworthy. I will definitely mail you some dollar bills back, if you include postage in the envelope.

Or, you know, you could take it to someone called a ‘Jewelry Appraiser’. However, that probably involves leaving your house, and possibly even putting on pants.  (Though I can think of a few other ways you can earn fistfuls of dollar bills by staying pantless, this is a family blog.)

Hmm…I think I now understand the underlying success in ‘Cash for Gold!’ I too want to profit from the laziness of others!  Perhaps I should start a “Pants-Free Jewelry Appraisal Business”. And I would, if that didn’t sound completely wrong.