By Gillian Slade on March 14, 2019.
A woman in Georgia was recently rewarded with US$10,000 for reading the fine print portion of a document about the insurance she’d bought.
She had printed off the pages-long document and diligently read every word about the travel insurance she’d purchased. When she finally reached the last page the document said because she had read to that page she was in a special league – the one per cent of people who read their insurance documents from start to finish.
The company asked her to email them her name and telephone number because she had a chance to win US$10,000. She immediately complied but did not expect to hear anything further.
The very next day the company called her and said she’d won the money. Not only had she won US$10,000 but the insurance company was also donating US$10,000 to a charity that promoted literacy.
The customer expressed delight, telling them she was actually a teacher at two different schools that had literacy programs and understood the importance of getting this message across to students. With that information the insurance company said it would also give US$5,000 to each of the schools.
It later emerged this lady had been the only person who had responded to that paragraph at the end of the contract.
Are you still reading this piece?
In the newsroom we often get calls from people responding to a story and sometimes asking questions that were actually in the story. They simply had not read the whole story. Many people only read the first three paragraphs even though the subject is of great interest to them.
Perhaps social media has fed this trend. We don’t want to take the time to read.
The problem is we are missing out – big time.
This woman in Georgia had a financial windfall but she says she has always been diligent about reading through insurance documents, among others, so that she knows what she is covered for. That is just good money sense. If you don’t know what you are covered for you do not know what you have paid for.
I am frequently at meetings where people will talk about needing more information on a particular subject. They are often bewildered why nobody is providing the information.
It is hard not to scream out that they simply needed to read the newspaper and they would have had their questions answered.
Perhaps the “art” of reading a newspaper has been lost along the way.
A few generations ago adults scanned the headlines and read the first few paragraphs of stories to get a general idea of the day’s news. Later in the day they would sit down and read those stories all the way through.
We are all missing a lot by not taking the time to read and not teaching children to do the same.
(Gillian Slade is a News reporter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 403-528-8635.)
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