I keep getting mad at this advertisement for an online retail outlet that “pays you to shop.” They proclaim that when you buy things, you “earn” money through rebates. One testimonial says “I earned 400 dollars so far shopping on [this site].”

News flash. You spent thousands to ‘earn’ a few hundred. That is not earning. In business, it would be considered a loss. If you spent a thousand dollars to run your company and earned one hundred dollars, you would not be in business for very long.

Let’s call this “earning” what it really is – a discount. You spend one thousand and receive 100 dollars cash back. You’ve saved 100 dollars off the price. You didn’t earn 100 dollars. You paid 900 dollars instead of a thousand.

If you spend more than you make, it is not earning. Period. Net revenue is negative, so it is not earning. It is a loss.

You have simply engaged in crass consumerism and are now pretending that you’re getting paid to do it. One brand evangelist for the site says “Just shop for the things you would normally shop for, and get paid for doing it. Sounds like a good deal to me!”

I worry about the deterioration of human intelligence. Is it really that often that you go to a department store or other online retailer and buy “the things you would normally shop for?”

What would be cool is if you could find some way to get paid to sit through annoying pop-up video advertisements or those forced 15-30 second commercials that interrupt internet video content. Like my grandfather used to say, “If I had a nickel for every time I had to [fill in annoying activity here], I would be a millionaire!”