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Hey, Matt:

In newspaper ads for television sets I often see, in tiny print, "simulated picture" or something to that effect. Is there some obscure consumer law that requires the notation?

-- Verve, the Net

"Simulated picture" is the same as the "serving suggestion" you see on frozen dinners. The FTC will slap your hand if you give consumers a false impression of your product through packaging or advertising, so you'd better not get people's hopes up before they buy. For technical reasons, a photograph of a television screen beaming out Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? would look pretty awful. So for the newspaper ad you paste in a photograph of Regis's dumb mug. But that's fakery; it's not a representation of an actual TV picture. So to cover your butt, you put "simulated picture" in bitty print, just in case somebody gets one of your TVs home and Regis doesn't look so good. -->

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