It shouldn’t surprise us that in American culture we’re drawn to bells and whistles: the bright shiny things. After all, we’re bombarded by advertisements and marketing all the live long day. You can barely turn your head without something vying for your attention. And so little of it holds any real value, too. It’s all around us, and sadly, people are attracted by bells and whistles. We love the bells and whistles. But the reality is that we should be wary of the bells and whistles for a few reasons. 

1) The bells and whistles are usually meant to camouflage defects. Those defects may be by design, or by general oversight, but a lot of time the bells and whistles are there because the “product” simply has little value without them. Something has to grab your attention, so toss on a few bells and whistles. They are decoration; lipstick on the pig–as it were. 

2) The bells and whistles may, in fact, be warnings to a potential tragedy. However, some folks can’t help but be drawn to them. As poet John Donne once wrote, “…for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” In a fair number of cases of this modern age, the bells and whistles should not be regarded as signal to come and enjoy, but a cry to flee and head for safer ground. Sort of a, “Danger, Will Robinson!”

The reality is that for some they’ll never realize point 1 or 2 until they realize the product they’ve been sold is cheap and disposable, or it’s ruined you to one degree or another. In our age of slick marketing and state-of-the-art spec sheets a mile long, be sure that what you’re getting yourself in to holds some real value, and isn’t just something worthless draped in bells and whistles.