Buyer Beware:If it’s too good to be true, leave it on the shelf.

Last week I read an article in the newspaper that made me strut around the house yelling “ AT LAST”!
What brought me to such a euphoric state? Well it wasn’t the discovery of a drug for woman comparable to Viagra, but rather an announcement that the FDA made that they were going to take a far more aggressive role over deceptive ad practices.
One of their first targets is the worlds’ biggest yogurt maker Dannon, who agreed to pay a $21million fine and stop making exaggerated health claims for two popular Dannon products. Marion Nestle, a New York University nutritionist stated that “The claims aren’t about health, they’re about marketing”. DUH! I’ve been ranting about how absurd the notion that a food product has been developed with so many magical health properties for years.
Activia is supposed to cure “irregularity” which is the latest problem that seems to effect a great majority of Americans. It used to be called constipation, but I guess that’s too harsh a word. When did this start and why are so many afflicted with this problem, and why do they have to buy a specific product for their situation?
Well it sells because it contains probiotics, a beneficial bacteria for the colon, but so do most yogurts. It also contains 19 grams of sugar which means it has it has over four teaspoons in a four ounce container. Aren’t we supposed to be more aware of sugar content? So now you become regular but you get diabetes? Makes sense to me.
What about beans? Lots of fiber and cheap. I just got five 15 ounce cans for 4 dollars. We all know about the power of the bean, yet there are no cutesy commercials touting their benefits with a movie star as a spokesperson sharing the great outcome they got from eating beans. There’s not even an animated bean dressed in spandex jeans circling around a group of constipated adults sharing the latest research on beans and their benefits.
Do you think lifestyle might have an impact on irregularity, like lack of exercise, very little sleep and too much stress? When you’re stressed out your intestines suffer big time. It’s hard to get anything to pass through.
Aside from the above, the most important message we should take away from the latest food fiasco is “buyer beware”. If it’s too good to be true, leave it on the shelf.

Nickel and dime mentality!

I’m sure we’ve all heard the expression “I’m sick of being nickel and dimed”. Well, I have reached the end of my rope when it comes to this axiom.

The other day I attempted to get a number from directory assistance with the clone that is fast becoming the voice of America. Most often it misinterprets my requests and gives me numbers in cities I have never heard of. This must have been happening to a lot of people because the phone company has come up with a solution. If your annoyed at the robot you can press the number 1 and get a “real operator” for twenty five cents. So on top of the money it costs to access a number you have to pay additional funds to talk to a human who can understand what the robot has screwed up. You used to be able to do it for free.

If you delve into it, they’ll tell you too many people didn’t want to talk to the clone so they had to charge extra money. I suppose it would cost too much to bring the real people back so that more humans would be employed rather than robots? But this is the new wave of so called economic prudence.

The air lines is charging for just about everything, food, luggage, ear buds, pillows and blankets. There used to be a pillow and a thin blanket as a courtesy. Not any more, if you want it, you buy it. How many of us, unless we’re desperate, want a pillow, harder than a rock, and a blanket that has no potential for warmth as a remembrance of our trip?

I bought a refundable ticket for a recent trip and tried to change it. By the time I got told all the rules and the additional costs I felt as if I had just gotten off a Ferris Wheel run by a mad man. The explanations were so convoluted that I was convinced the agent had previously worked for the C.I.A.

I’m waiting for them to start charging for the pilots. We’ll soon walk onto a full airplane with an empty cockpit. They’ll ask for volunteers first and if there aren’t any takers, they’ll read off a menu of individuals with certain levels of competency and charge accordingly.

Banks now charge for all kinds of services that used to be free and I’m sure they will soon make you pay to talk to the teller. All they have to do is call them a consultant or a coach and they’ll be able to grab more cash from us. Paying your credit cards by phone is another money drain. They position it as a convenience their offering and then inform you that it will cost you ten to fifteen dollars for the service. The reason is that they have to process it.
How taxing is this process, and how many people are involved in the process? Don’t you just access the account on a computer and put in the amount with the persons’ information? How long does that take? Not fifteen dollars worth?

If I don’t pay it on time it will cost me twenty five or thirty dollars. Sure you can do it on the internet or put it in the mail and not be driven nuts. But all the above organizations used to have services that were supposed to make their customers feel they were valued.

Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate some of the “nickel and dime” mentality and return to some “soothing and supportive” ways to keep your clientele wanting to come back instead of running away.

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