Frogs for Hire
by Jan Baughman

The following advertisement was published in the New York Times Magazine, May 11, 1997:

"Giant motion-detecting electronic frog ribbets friends -- or intruders -- with a surprise greeting!

The old-fashioned welcome mat takes a leap into the future! Set this huge 10" x 12" realistically detailed whopper of a frog on your porch, walkway, lawn, or steps. The next visitor is in for an amphibious welcome! Built-in infrared scanner automatically detects movement within an eight-foot area, and croaks out loud froggy salutations! Friends are delighted, passersby astonished, and trespassers take off for quieter pickings! All while you enjoy your own instant warning system."

Below the ad copy is a photo of a friendly (white female) visitor with a smile and look of delight on her face. The caption reads "Visitors are thrilled." Another photo portrays a (white) man in (black) leather robbery attire and a black ski mask, with a caption reading "Intruders get confused and take off!"

I'm confused. All this time, I thought guns were the answer. Yet, all it takes is a foot-long plastic frog to greet your guests and, at the same time, ward off criminals. Friendly visitors have discriminating taste; they are delighted by the sound of a big plastic frog welcoming their arrival (forget that frogs are not indigenous to many households). Burglars, on the other hand, have an inherent fear of frogs. The slightest "ribbit" sends them running, confused and frightened and in search of a more inviting home to rob. Studies have shown that frogs are a known deterrent to criminal behavior. That is why the crime rate in the bayous is so low. I've often been scared by frogs, though my exposure to them has been limited to seeing their legs on plates. I must say, I've never been tempted to rob a French restaurant.

The best part is that keeping a plastic frog on your front porch is safer than keeping a loaded gun under your bed. The frog, unlike the gun, will never be used against a family member or friend -- it knows the difference.

Hats off to the New York Times Magazine for running this ad. Their integrity and concern for our safety is stellar. They didn't want the National Inquirer to have an exclusive on something so important to the public health.

You can order the Giant Radar Frog for just $19.95, or get two for $16.95 each, by calling The Edge Company at 1-800-732-9976. Just don't say that you read about it here.

Published May 15, 1997
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