Let The Buyer Beware

Opinion editorial by WBZ NewsRadio political analyst Jon Keller

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) -- Many schools that once taught Latin no longer do, but there’s one Latin phrase that almost everyone surely recognizes – caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

Its technical meaning is the same as when you buy something “as is” at a yard sale or flea market. But caveat emptor has come to have a broader meaning in an age when the reach of marketing tools is greater than ever, and so is the greed and venality of some of the peddlers.

It always seemed to me that caveat emptor was a great idea when it came to investing in Tesla, the luxury electric car maker that seems well on its way to becoming one of the great cautionary tales of its era.

Tesla has become the world’s largest seller of plug-in passenger cars, and its groupies swear by it. Criticism of the company and its loose-cannon CEO Elon Musk is often met with a mob-like wave of vitriolic online pushback.

But that just evokes another old phrase – thou doth protest too much.

The Tesla boom is fading fast, with sales that don’t meet forecasts and investors who bet the farm on the glitzy company starting to fade away as well.

The 2017 hike in insurance rates for the Tesla due to sky-high crash rates didn’t help.

Neither did the frat-boy antics of Musk, who got himself fined $20 million and stripped of his chairman title for tweeting false info about his company’s finances.

And now,the NY Times reports, Tesla stock is seen as a “code red” situation.

So much for all the suckers who bought into all the hype.

For them, a suggestion – consider a tattoo.

Something pithy, in Latin.

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Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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