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Jewelry For a Fallen Woman

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"Congratulations, senior," was the way I was greeted by a woman on the phone who slipped by caller I.D. as it said, "Anonymous." She spoke rapidly, telling me, "You are entitled to a free alert system and $3,000 in grocery coupons," letting me know my worries are over as this system will work everywhere in my home and "even outdoors." All I have to do is wear a necklace or bracelet with a button I am to press in the event of a fall. Before I can find out if it's 18k and will look OK with the dress I am wearing to my son's wedding, she lets me know this offer is good only for today. "You will be billed monthly at the rate of $34.95."

"You said it was free," I reminded her.

"The jewelry is free. That's the cost of the monitoring service."

I finger my diamond-studded Bicego necklace, reluctant to replace it with jewelry even if it connects me to 911. Without seeing it, I know it's not an item that will cause friends to ask, "Where did you get that?"

Before she can sweeten the offer by throwing in one of those snappy wheelchairs, I tell her this isn't a good time for me to talk and ask for her number, saying I'd like to return the call when I'm less rushed.

"Do you want me to call you back at six?"

"No, I have my spin class and then I'm meeting friends for drinks," I lied. "I'd rather call you."

"We only call out."

"I only call out."

She hung up before I had a chance to suggest she look at my website,, to see if she might be interested in an unusual piece of pique assiette mosaic. But my offers are good every day; maybe I'll hear from her again tomorrow.