To all you would-be term-paper buyers: caveat emptor! The New York Times decided to put the burgeoning number of online essay-writing companies to the test. Promising original, A-level work, these firms cheerily take your topic (and your credit card number) and promise to produce prose and arguments sure to bring tears to your teacher's eyes. For fees ranging from $50 to more than twice that amount, a Times editor bought and received papers that included these gems: "Many people consider [Brave New World] Huxley's most important work: many others think it is his only work." And this: "Although many similarities exist between A Brave New World and ... 1984, the works books [sic] though they deal with similar topics, are more dissimilar than alike." You don't say. saved itself the embarrassment by simply not delivering the paid-for paper, or even an original excuse for failing to do so. The writer, the company said in an email, is "facing some technical difficulties," and requested a 24-hour extension. Where's a good homework chewing dog when you need one?

"At $9.95 a Page, You Expected Poetry?," by Charles McGrath, New York Times, September 10, 2006

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