No one reads the terms and conditions. Or the anything else. Yeah, that includes you.

So, I’ve been in tech for years. Whether it’s tech support, or IT, or just generally dicking around with whatever project. I’ve seen more terms of service pages than I have hairs on my head. And I’m fairly sure I’ve read a grand total of maybe 2 of them. Here’s the thing. So have you. Here’s the other thing. It’s not just the T&C’s.

People don’t like to read, even if reading turns out to actually be good for them. And in one case, had just one person actually–as a Linux professor of mine put it–read all the words, that person might have found themselves $50 richer.

Kenyon Wilson is the associate head of performing arts at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and decided to put an Easter egg in the syllabus for his music seminar class this past semester. The hint read: “Thus (free to the first who claims; locker one hundred forty-seven; combination fifteen, twenty-five, thirty-five), students may be ineligible to make up classes and …” This would have led students to a locker that contained a $50 bill, free to the first student to claim it.

It would have, except–yep–no one read the T&C’s. So that $50 sat in a locker for the semester, and the only one who knew it was there was the guy who put it there. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn he’s also the only one he knows who actually reads all of the words.

So if you know a guy who tells you he reads the rules, you know a guy who’s lying. But be gentle. He’s just trying to be like everyone else.

PS: Professor Allen, thank you for not doing something similar just to make sure we were reading all of the words on your final exam. I’m not thanking you, however, for your final exam–that was kind of brutal.

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