Bill of goods

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Sean Work:

    My theory is that at some point a common swindle was to sell someone a bill of goods – not the goods themselves, but just the bill. In a similar vein I’ve seen ebay auctions for the boxes of various popular products.

  2. Brendan:

    My thoughts exactly… someone was shown a ‘bill of goods’ and said I will sell you this for $5000… they pay the money assuming he means the items listed ON the bill of goods, but actually just receives the bit of paper.

  3. G Lampa:

    Agreed. It seems to suggest that all you came away with, after parting with your hard-earned money, is the bill itself. Hence, you’ve been “sold the bill”.

  4. Mike:

    I’ve always felt it meant being compelled to buy a whole collection of goods, including a lot of useless things you wouldn’t otherwise want, in order to get what you do want. If some of the fiction I’ve read has any basis in fact, many a prospector arriving in the old West or Klondike was compelled to buy a whole outfit of picks, shovels, axes, camp stove, tent, etc when all he really wanted was a couple of shovels. So the scam is that you were manipulated into buying a lot of what you don’t need. Still practiced today by cable companies, cellular providers, etc.

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