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We’re All Above Average, Aren’t We?

What do American drivers, the children of Lake Wobegon, and termites have in common?

They are all above average.

Here’s what a regular reader called LLP pointed out in an e-mail:

There is a TV ad running here in Southern California for a pest control company. It states that “the average termite eats 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” so your million dollar home is at risk.

This got me thinking that the idea of average is on the upper limit — which does not make sense since no termite can exceed the maximum time alloted in a day or a week.

I wonder how many more misleading ads are being foisted on unsuspecting or “unthinking” people who simply listen to such blabber.

One other example, LLP points out, is a new car’s mileage per gallon of gas — “which does not take into consideration driving conditions, driver’s habits or vehicle’s load.”

Other examples of above-average promises?