Hobson’s choice: the choice of taking either that which is offered or nothing; the absence of a real alternative.
Origin: 1640–50; after Thomas Hobson (1544–1631), of Cambridge, England, who rented horses and gave his customer only one choice, that of the horse nearest the stable door, from dictionary.com.
I just joined another site yesterday. Or it was an app, I don’t really remember. It doesn’t really matter what it was. But this site had terms and conditions that you had to accept before using it. If you are just a general internet user, there is really nothing you can do about terms and conditions. If you want to use this site or app, you have to accept them. And if you don’t agree with them (and my guess would be in most cases, you would always be able to find something you don’t agree with), you simply can’t use the site.
This is the classic case of a Hobson’s choice, where there appears to be a real choice between two alternatives, but one of the options isn’t really an option.
Consider a case where you are at work and the boss wants you do to something, and he says to you: “Either you can do this, or you are fired!” In this case, you have “a choice”– you can either do this task or not. But assuming you want to keep your job, you are left with no real alternative, and similarly very little bargaining power.
The end users on the internet face this on basically every site you join. There are way too many terms and conditions for it to be at all feasible and reasonable for you to read them. Almost all sites present terms and conditions in a way where they *expect* you not to read them, but you *have* to agree to them to use the site. The sad state of affairs is that users *have* to a agree to a term sheet that they *almost certainly* never read. Many sites have terms and conditions hidden at the footer of their site that you implicitly agree to just by being there.
If I had to guess I would say that way less than 1% of Apple users read their terms and conditions sheets. I would be very curious to know that number.
So that’s about it. If you want to use the internet at all, just accept the fact that you had to agree to all these really stupid contracts that you have never read.