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SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – A long time ago when high fidelity was the latest and greatest audio technology, virtually everything was labeled hi-fi as a sales gimmick. Poking fun at the craze, Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip once looked in bewilderment at her new jump rope and asked “How can a jump rope be hi-fi?” Perhaps that was an exaggeration but that type of stupidity in advertisement is used all the time as we’re unfortunately constantly reminded.
Of course the slogans that companies come up with are nothing more than promotional devices designed to sell products while getting us to part with our money. Beer companies seem very creative in that regard. Years ago there was an ad campaign designed around the catch phrase “Less NFS” (Non-Fermented Sugar), as if that brew had less calories and was dietetic. Yeah right, like beer can help you lose weight. Other brewers try to attract customers with differently configured containers or cartons, and there’s even one whose can label turns blue when its contents are cold enough. That must be for people with frost bitten fingers that have lost all sense of touch, or when wearing gloves too heavy for the temperature to penetrate. I guess I can’t blame the companies however since other than changing their product’s color, what else can they do to make it different? They can’t alter the taste since they’d lose their loyal customers, so they’re stuck with selling intangibles, concepts, the sizzle rather than the steak.
Another beverage that tries to attract us with nonsense is bottled water by claiming to be pure, all natural, non-carbonated, crystal clear, nature’s own, from springs, having zero calories, zero fat, zero sodium, zero carbohydrates, while contained in a “plant bottle” that’s environmentally safe. It’s WATER for heaven’s sake, the same liquid that comes out of our faucets at home. Of course it’s clear and pure and natural and has no calories, fat, or carbs.
Lately the food industry and produce in particular has jumped on the “all natural” bandwagon with the claim of being “organically grown,” naturally inferring much higher prices. Now I don’t know why organic is supposed to be better exactly, other than perhaps for the reason that fruit and vegetable growers don’t use chemicals to artificially propagate their plants. Is that really a good thing? I remember being told while stationed in Germany when in the Army not to eat any of the locally grown produce because the farmers used human waste as a fertilizer. Wasn’t that organic? Thank you very much but I’ll take man-made chemicals instead any day of the week.
When it comes to putting stuff into our stomachs we must be very gullible because recently my wife sent me to the supermarket to buy a dozen eggs and to my amusement the carton was marked “All Natural.” What the heck did that mean? Do some eggs come from roosters? Do some come from pigs or are fathered by woodpeckers? To add to this insanity, the eggs were also marked as from “vegetarian fed hens.” What else are chickens other than vegetarians? I wasn’t raised on a farm but I never heard of chickens eating steak or hamburger or other chickens. Are hens really carnivores or birds of prey… I didn’t know that. Since I couldn’t find non-natural Jumbo eggs from cannibal poultry I bought those special eggs at a dollar over the regular price, and they didn’t taste or look any different.
There’s a sucker born every minute, and I was it.