There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute

As a kid, I used to spend quite a lot of time studying the amazing ads in the back of my comic books. The X-Ray Specs, in particular filled me with longing. I was a big fan of Superman back in the day and could think of nothing cooler than to have x-ray vision like him.

 

Somehow, I never noticed the “an hilarious optical illusion” part of the ad. It’s too bad I never had that dollar to send away for my own pair of X-Ray Specs because I would have learned a valuable lesson about advertising at a very young age.

Like my brother did when he sent away for this 7-foot Frankenstein monster.

 

My brother was beside himself with excitement awaiting the moment when he would be the proud owner of a monster of his very own that would give him power over all of us and be able to force us to do his bidding forever.

I have never seen a more devastated (albeit megalomaniacal) child than my brother the day his “monster” arrived and turned out to be nothing more than a sheet of plastic with a picture of a Frankenstein monster printed on it. He was livid. He was insane with fury. He was inconsolable. He destroyed that monster with his bare hands until there was nothing left but tiny bits of (no-doubt toxic) plastic all over his room. The rest of us kids laughed our asses off at him, of course, and had years and years of fun tormenting him about his monster. For us, that monster was certainly worth the dollar. My brother, on the other hand, went on to lead a bitter, cynical life because of that monster — but has been a more wary consumer ever since.

Maybe you can see where I’m going with this? As sort of a follow-up to my last post about Ronald McDonald and the power of advertising in general, I wanted to talk about how we’ve all been suckered in by advertising at some point. And not just by stupid kids’ stuff like this. From the comments yesterday, it’s apparent that we all think we’re much too smart to be taken in by clever marketing.  However, I’m pretty sure, if we really think about it, that’s not entirely true.

Many of the decisions and choices we make every day are made because someone has convinced us, however subliminally, that these are the right decisions and choices to make. From politics to investing our money to vacationing to making purchases large and small. Sure, we may do our own research and because of how we’ve been raised and educated, we are pretty savvy about marketing and advertising and don’t get suckered in easily. But it still happens, doesn’t it?

A while back, XUP Jr. (who has never been allowed to drink pop and now has no desire to) came home with VitaminWater,  telling me what a cool new drink it was because it was full of vitamins and contained “cane sugar” and not processed sugar and was made with fruit juice. And I looked at the label and this was certainly what the label suggested. And I thought, “cool”.  And I had some myself over the next few weeks thinking how great it was that there was this handy, healthy drink I could grab if I was out and had forgotten to bring some water.

And then one day I decided to Google this stuff because it just seemed too good to be true. And of course it was too good to be true. And then Mindful Merchant did some more research and did a blog post about this stuff.

I was more than a little pissed that I’d allowed myself to get suckered in by none other than the Coca Cola Company.

See how easy it is? All of you who think people should be smart enough to not choose things that are not good for them? Do you actually believe that all the stuff you own – your electronics, your car, your toys, your appliances, your personal care products, your clothes – do you think you own all that stuff because somewhere in your mind you decided, all by yourself, without any sort of influence, that you needed all this stuff?

Did you wake up one morning and realize you would no longer be able to survive without a cell phone?  Was it suddenly vitally important that your hair be flat-ironed every day? Was it you who thought you needed a device to heat up your food in seconds and went out and bugged science geeks until they invented a microwave oven for you?

Of course not. You were persuaded by sophisticated advertisers that you need this stuff. Just like advertisers persuade people they need to eat junk food or buy lottery tickets or drink Coke. Sure, some people are smart enough to resist the stuff that’s bad for them. But some people can’t or don’t think beyond the fact that they suddenly want this stuff– just like most of us can’t resist owning a cell phone though in a lot of ways (perhaps different ways) cell phones are bad for us, too.

And I’ll bet all of you have, at some point, been suckered in to buying something that was total crap – like the VitaminWater or the Frankenstein Monster?? Because that phrase in my title by PT Barnum is pretty much the credo of every advertising, marketing and PR person who ever lived. How have you been suckered?

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48 responses to “There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute

  1. Since I am replying to this and don’t live in a monastery, I guess I’d have to say that at some point, I’ve “fallen victim” to advertising and bought something I don’t “really need”.

    Air, water, food, shelter… and a few other things… but sometimes, it’s kind of nice to have more.

    You know, just in case “the afterlife” is all bullshit.

    I worked my ass off to become an engineer, so if I “want” a computer, I’m going to buy one.

    Once upon a time, Eve needed Adam’s genetic material so she could make babies.

    She suckered Adam into giving it to her by, err, giving something to him.

    Was he a sucker?

    Well, I sure hope that apple was tasty…

    I look at it like this – it is “give and take”.

    If I give you my money and get something *of value to me* in return, that’s good.

    If I give you my money and get screwed over, then I’ve been suckered.

    And I suppose the difference between getting something of value and getting screwed is up to each of us.

  2. I can’t think offhand of any times I’ve been suckered by your definition, but I’m sure it’s happened.

    I bought Shreddies a couple times because I thought their “Diamond Shreddies” gimmick was clever. But that was more rewarding them for making advertisemetns that are entertaining (and because I did feel like having shreddies again). Similarly, I enjoy Stephen Colbert’s shameless promotion of things because it’s funny.

    – RG>

  3. Y’know, I’m totally not surprised by VitaminWater’s affiliations. I have to admit that I thought it sounded like the best thing ever in 2004 or so, when it was on the shelves of a local deli. I drank a bottle or so daily of the stuff at lunchtime until I noticed that I was having some, um, “distress” a few hours later. Once I made that connection, VitaminWater stayed on the shelf.

    Too good to be true never is.

  4. Brett – Now you’re just being deliberately obtuse. I’m not talking about the every day fair and equitable give and take of goods in exchange for money or trade or whatever. I’m talking about the insidious ways advertising convinces us to buy things that we really shouldn’t be buying while making it seem like it’s something we really want or need. I keep coming back to the Gillette example where this US company one day figured they needed to tap into the female market and started convincing women that their underarm and leg hair was disgusting and needed to be removed. Here we are 50 years later with a good part of the world convinced that underarm hair is ugly on women. It never was before Gillette started their ad campaign.

    Grouchy – I think you’re an unusual consumer anyway, so I wouldn’t be surprised – though I would question your perceived need for your Blackberry.

    Lanna – Ewww. What got me thinking about it was the weird after-taste. It didn’t seem right somehow – didn’t taste like fruit or even sugar. I still don’t know what that is. They’re very cagey about their ingredients.

  5. I’m a beauty product junkie. But, I am getting smarter now and reading reviews by “real” people (as opposed to beauty editors of magazines who are paid in product to give a glowing review). The bigger picture is maybe i’ve duped into believing I need beauty products? Probably. Bu they make me so very happy.

  6. Absolutely. We’ve all bought stuff we don’t need and been ripped off at least once. We live in such a consumerist, advertising driven society that its impossible to resist the ads 100% of the time.

  7. Advertising does nothing of the sort.

    Advertising plants a seed, it is we who convince ourselves.

    Some of us are able to make our own choices (and yes, that may mean “buying the evil product”), and some of us are lemmings.

    To the anti-consumers reading this:

    Can you honestly, truly say that you could live as well as you do – or even live above the poverty line, comfortably – if people stopped “consuming needlessly” and only bought things related to food and shelter?

    As much as I like the movie “Fight Club”, I’m not really sure I want to live in a world where everyone owns only one set of clothes and we spend our days pounding corn on the abandoned superhighways.

    Like I said, I worked my ass off to become an engineer, and if I want to buy a new Apple MacBook Pro, I’m going to buy one, dammit 🙂

  8. I’ve bought lots of stuff that’s useless to me because I thought it would be useful. The ads made it seem useful.

    My Ipod Touch comes to mind. I never use the thing..

  9. Brett no one is talking about not buying things you want. What is being discussed is the insidious manner in which the advertisers convince you that you want/ need something whether or not you ever did.
    Now I realize as an engineer every decision you ever make is initiated and carried out in nothing but the strictest Spock like logic but for the rest of us non engineer mortals the advertising industry has been known to lead us astray from time to time.

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  11. While I resist it, bottled water comes to mind. It wasn’t so very long ago is you were thirsty you could ask almost anyone for a drink and they would oblige you. There were water fountains available in public places – they had them in malls and office buildings and parks.
    A restaurant would surely help you out if you asked even if you weren’t there for a meal – cafes to0 – if you said “I’ll just have water” brought you nice cold class of water with ice and kept it full – no one imagined asking you to buy bottled water to accompany your meal. Nestle( who is on my boycott list ) currently is running an ad campaign with happy children playing by a lake or stream that states something like ” their brains are 70% water, their bodies are 58% water . . .” and then entreats you to give them what they need and offers their product brand name water – Good life or something like that .
    So no doubt our bodies are made up of a great deal of water and we do need to teach our kids to drink water and to avoid sweetened drinks and to take natural fruit juice only in moderation, but seriously our kids do not need to think that water from a bottle is a necessary part of a healthy diet! Turn on the damn tap for heavens sake, drink out of the hose, take water from home in a reusable container. Bottled water is definately a created need.

    The Citizen did an article on recycling withing the last 3 months, they indicated that 60% of bottled water bottles go to the land fill. SIXTY percent- I shake my head in amazement !
    and while I am ranting . People take water bottles to the water aerobics class at the pool and keep them on the side of the pool . I get that they need to stay hydrated but seriously to my mind this is out of hand. I am thinking thay perhaps this is an oral thing- bottle fed and never full weaned maybe?

  12. Oh, I really wanted those X-Ray glasses! I just knew it couldn’t be real, but I wanted them just in case, but some crazy chance, they were.

    And in that same vein, I’ve been suckered. By virtually any beauty product that made amazing promises, cover of a magazine that featured the most fascinating articles ever, and a gym membership that I never use.

  13. Okay, I’ve thought of a couple. I can remember various things I wanted as a kid because I saw them advertised on TV, none of which my parents bought me.

    Once we had a computer we’d bought from the IBM store, and we were having problems with it. It was running Windows ME, one of the worser versions. We had taken it back to the store, but they couldn’t reproduce the booting/reseting problems we were having. We had a Nerds on Site guy come in to look at it, and he couldn’t fix it either. He said he’d get back to us. We eventually minimized our use of the computer (and I bought a laptop of my own).

    I was convinced that Windows ME was the problem, so we bought a Windows XP upgrade disc. I installed XP, and was still having problems, so I phoned Microsoft Tech Support and the guy in India stayed on the line with me while I uninstalled the XP upgrade and reinstalled it.

    Many months or maybe even a couple years later, I happened to bump into the Nerds On Site guy (in a church, of all places), and which triggered me to ask him about the problem (blindly sidestepping such niceties as “hello” or “do you remember who I am?” or “merry christmas”). He said that there was a problem with the motherboard on that model of IBMs where the capacitors blow up. Sure enough, I opened the box when I got home and there was crap on the capacitors. By this point, the IBM store didn’t fix it because it was out of the warranty.

    All the tech babble had convinced me that XP would fix all my computer problems, but it turns out it was just a hardware problem that the IBM people didn’t bother to check or contact us about.

    Buggers.

    – RG>

  14. I am the most “non-engineer-like” engineer you will ever meet, if you look at my Myers-Briggs score, you’ll see that I place a lot of faith in feeling and intuition (I probably should have been an artist of some sort). It shows up in my hands-on approach to work, I can just “figure out stuff” by gut feel.

    But I temper it with logic and common sense.

    I’m not smarter than the average bear, I just accept 100 percent responsibility for where I am at this point in my life.

    I am where I am now because of the choices I have made, and I will be where I will be 10 years from now because of the choices I make going forward – including what I buy or do not buy, what I eat or do not eat, etc., regardless of advertising.

    If the “rest of you non-engineer mortals” want to blame someone else for your inability to make smart purchasing decisions, have at it.

    I’m not buying it.

    The advertisers didn’t kick the money out of our happy little hands and forcibly shave our armpits with a brand-spanking new Gillette razor.

    We bought it, we shaved with it.

    (Insert *BIG GRIN* here, these are not “fightin’ words”, just having fun with a debate…)

  15. I bought a “slap chop” because I thought that everyone would love my nuts.
    Turns out that the only person who does is me.

  16. LMAO at Lebowski!! Everything I may have had in mind to comment went out of my head the moment I read his comment.

    Thanks for that! 🙂

  17. About 15 years ago I bought into a company I read about on the internet. At that time reclaiming lost money in the USA was a “new” idea. People who left a deposit somewhere or were accumulating payments in an account they had lost track of had a right to the money and it would stay in limbo waiting to be collected. Example: I recall making a deposit with Ontario Hydro many years ago before they hooked me up. I almost forgot to recover this money when I vacated the apartment, which might be one reason I believed the “reclaiming lost money” marketing material. This company claimed to be in the business of recovering anyone’s money. The customer submitted information to the company (the kind of stuff you would never give anyone today as they would be able to steal your identity) and they would do a super search over all of the USA and find any money in limbo, then send a check to the applicant. I bought a share in the business. It turned out to be something I had to aggressively market in the state where I bought the rights. Thus I could not obtain any return on my investment. That mistake cost me something like $2500.

  18. “….It turned out to be something I had to aggressively market in the state where I bought the rights. Thus I could not obtain any return on my investment….” So you decided to invest without reading the fine print? That is what we call “Due Diligence”, nad you should have done it before you dropped the money.
    Ceteris Paribus, Caveat Emptor.
    So did you also buy into Tom Vu?

  19. Lebowski,
    I recall speaking to someone by telephone, if there was any fine print, I don’t recall reading it. What I recall was a kind of bait and switch situation. I was told I could buy the rights and anyone from the area I “owned” who filed a request for lost money would result in a commission payment to me. The money I was spending was start up capital, seed money, for the larger enterprise. Later I was told I had to generate the customers to obtain a commission.

  20. Meanie – I don’t think you need beauty products at all, but I totally understand how difficult it is to resist something that promises to take 10 years off your face or give you voluminous lashes that never smear or streak.

    Pauline – I agree. We all have way, way more stuff than we actually need no matter how diligently we try to avoid over-shopping.

    Brett – Oh dear. I think you’re exactly the kind of guy advertisers love. Because they know you’ll buy stuff believing that you’ve made the perfect decision and made it all on your own. Then if something screws up or you’re not 100% happy with your purchase you would never dream of returning the product or suing the company or demanding some sort of compensation for “false or misleading advertising”. Because you’ll take 100% of the responsibility for it. Let’s take an example like the Vibram 5 fingers shoes. You bought those because the company and perhaps other ‘experts’ said that it was better to run in bare feet. And it made sense to you, as it does to me. So you bought the shoes. But after years of being indoctrinated by running shoe companies telling you you need lots of support and padding to run, what prompted you to decide you wanted to run in bare feet? Did you think that up and go looking for shoes that would accommodate? Why were you running in running shoes in the first place?

    Grouchy – Why do you need a mobile phone in the first place? Generations of people lived very well with just a wall phone – no voice mail even.

    Howe4321 – Thank you for your honesty and insight. I’m pretty sure a lot people have stuff like that at home collecting dust which seemed like a good idea at the time – breadmakers, fondue sets, cuisinarts, etc.,

    Alison – Ha ha. Weren’t those astonishing? Your microscopic critters that resembled fish poo, floating on the top of your tank.

    Dave1949 – Shhh. Brett is convinced advertising has no effect on his life whatsoever. “They” love that.

    Jay – Bottled water is a good one. We all fell for that for a while and it was even easier for water bottling companies because of stuff like Walkerton. Now, thankfully, there’s a big push back to tap water…and maybe Brita, just because it tastes better.

    Julie – I mulled those damn things over in my head many times. How could it be real? It must be real – it says so right here? What do they mean “is that really your friend’s body you see”? Why is it a question? And ditto on the beauty products. All that drug store crap appears to do wonders for the celebrities that endorse them – of course they don’t mention that they don’t actually really use them and have personal stylists and plastic surgeons on 24 hour call.

    Grouchy – I have no idea what you just said, but it certainly sounds like a big rip-off. Damn those buggers.
    Lebowski – I fail to see how a slap-chop could NOT improve your life. Perhaps you’re not looking hard enough at all the value-added this thing has brought to your every day existence??

    Sky – Oh come on!! I want to hear your comment. Think. (Also, please don’t encourage Lebowski too much)

    OC – Ouch! So you’re saying there was a Get Poor Quick scheme out there before mine?

    Lebowski – WHAT??????? Tom Vu is a scam??????????? Next thing you know you’re going to claim the Nigerian Heir investment opportunity is a scam, too.

    MM – Chia Pets are kind of cute. The real scam is these miraculous new seeds they’re selling at Natural Food Stores for a blindingly huge amount of money which are supposed to cure and prevent everything. Marketed as Salvia – they’re really just chia seeds.

  21. In high school, a friend of mine was obsessed with the ads at the back of Popular Science.

    They promised things like helmets that could teach you foreign languages easily overnight, helicopters that worked and you could build yourself, and so forth.

    The only thing that actually worked as advertised was spud guns, though I suppose they were enough fun to justify the whole effort.

  22. @XUP,

    Actually, I was experiencing some pain in my lower legs running in “approved shoes” – you know, the kind that “normal people” wear?

    So I did a bit of research on the internet into running-related injuries. I found a study by an Australian sports doctor who had “run” mechanical legs on treadmills, both with and without shoes.

    The mechanical legs were fitted with accelerometers, and the results of the study showed that traditional running shoes only reduced the feeling of the impact shock – roughly 95 percent of the force was still transferred to the body.

    Combined with some other research into how barefoot runners “run” – they do it by feel, as I’ve learned, by feedback which helps prevent you from using bad form – this researcher was able to explain why it appears to be a lot better for you to go without shoes (or with footwear that is as light as possible).

    So…

    I went looking for shoes that were “designed” for barefoot running. I encountered a blog written by a man named Barefoot Ted.

    Ted was prototyping Vibram Fivefingers, and as soon as they hit the market, I bought some.

    I was actually on the cutting edge. I never saw one advert for the shoes, anywhere. I went on word of mouth from someone who knew.

    But I had already started to run and walk totally unshod.

    I wear the Fivefingers so that I can go into places run by closed-minded people.

    (“OMG! He’s not wearing shoes! How gross!” people say, as they pick up a hamburger at McDonalds with their *bare hands* that have just touched a door handle on the way in the store…)

    I hadn’t been indoctrinated for years into wearing running shoes. That’s really just what people “normally wear”, and it’s pretty hard to run in cowboy boots, wouldn’t you agree?

    No. I take 100 percent responsibility, which means if something doesn’t work to my expectations, I return it and get my money back.

    I don’t blame the advertisers for my problems. That would be a cop-out.

  23. Pingback: Who controls your money? The advertisers, or you? - Welcome to Nowhere

  24. Milan – A “friend,” eh? I’d love to get one of those foreign language helmets. If it’s in Popular Science it must be a real thing, right? Did this “friend” send away for one of those? What did it actually do?

    Brett – Okay, I was mostly just yanking your chain. Mostly. I’m prepared to believe that you lead a life completely uninfluenced by marketing/advertising. It’s possible, I reckon. I’m not prepared to make the same statement about myself. I do my best to research most stuff I buy on a regular basis and/or big stuff I buy and I’m a careful shopper and I don’t own a lot of stuff that seems to be popular to own. However, I’m still fairly sure that I can’t avoid being somewhat swayed by TV commercials, magazine ads, newspaper ads, promotions, etc., etc.

    WTN – Shup???

  25. Recently, the greenwashing around bamboo cloth – turns out its just a fancy way of saying rayon which is hell on the environment to make.

    Less recently the idea that food doesn’t make you fat, fats make you fat – only time I ever ate tons of processed foods and was always hungry!

    When I was 12 I fell for the idea I too could have brooke shields 6′ tall long legs if I wore these ugly wooden flipflops. I was 4’7″ at the time…wasn’t gonna happen, and I just slipped all over the place in those things!

  26. (I know you were just yanking my chain! I was just enjoying being obtuse heh heh heh…)

    Of course I am influenced by advertisements – the reality of having four children prevents me from parking a brand new BMW M3 in my driveway, of course 😉

  27. I would look like I am 20 years old if all of those beauty creams that I buy really worked as advertised. I’m always out of style when it comes to clothing though because I’m so cheap.

  28. My father told me this story about my grandfather who saw this add in a magazine where the guy guaranteed a device that would kill off potato bugs. My father tried to tell him it was probably a scam, but my grandfather fresh from Germany was convinced that the American magazine would not lie. He sent in his quarter and in the mail received to blocks of wood and an instruction sheet to put the potato bug between the two blocks of wood….yep…that is how that went. A quarter does not seem like much these days, but back then it was a lot of money. My grandfather was very disappointed and could not believe that Americans could lie…

  29. @Lebowski,

    M3 (being based on the 3-series) is BMW’s bread and butter – so more money into design, engineering, etc.

    Plus, there’s an outfit Stateside called Horsepower Freaks that does M3 engine upgrades, their Stage 4 kit will put out over 1000 hp. Take that, AMG 🙂

  30. Mudmama – Isn’t bamboo environmentally unsound as well? And, those ugly wooden flip flops you talk about – were those the Dr. Scholl’s sandals? I remember when those were popular. Blech..

    Brett – You do obtuse very well. Every blog needs one!

    Lebowski – Brett just runs everywhere — in bare feet. I don’t know how he gets all those kids around though.

    Linda – WHAT? You’re not 20 years old? You looked 20… okay…maybe 30…ish…sort of…but you looked great, so those products must be doing something for you or maybe it’s just natural?

    Cedar – That’s hilarious, but sad. Way to crush the immigrant spirit, America. Ironic isn’t it that after all these years, Americans are still selling their people blocks of wood?

  31. Well bamboo is a renewable resource and grows quickly, it isn’t endangered. It doesn’t come from clearcutting. I don’t think it is environmentally unsound on its own but I’ll have to research it further…it’s a more environmentally sound choice than hardwood as far as I know. Yes! Dr. Scholl’s! They were a menace.

  32. do you listen to the CBC show The Age of Persuassion with Terry O’Reilly? I love that show. There was also a show on TV that disected commercials from around the world. I don’t remember of it but it was fun. I totally get suckered in. I’ll admit it, I am a consummer. Though I am dead cheap too, so I don’t usually go for the fancy splashy things.

    @lebowski – does the slap chop even work? my husband has been begging me to get it. he’d like everyone to see his nuts too.

  33. Mudmama – Ah. There’s some wood – I thought it was bamboo – that’s being used in a bunch of luxury home construction lately that’s on a big no-no list. But it’s so gorgeous people keep using it anyway. I’ll have to go see what I’m talking about. (Dr. Scholl’s WERE awful, weren’t they? I still shudder whenever I see Dr. Scholl’s products in drug stores)

    Smothermother – Yes, I’ve heard that show. I did a degree in PR so we got to see a whole bunch of inside stuff like this. People have no idea the lengths ad people will go to not just to sell a product but to seriously indoctrinate society. For example, they use people like Hitler and cult leaders as models in some cases because they are so good at indoctrination. The regular joe really doesn’t stand a chance.

  34. Okay, okay. I have to admit that I’m a sucker. Particularly for hair products or make up.

    Right now I’m lusting after those Sketchers Walking shoes that promote! weight! loss!

    Deep down, I know it’s silly. I also know that they’d probably be crappy support for my picky tootsies. But do I still want them so that I can be thin and toned? Absolutely!

  35. Shit! I remember the wooden flip flops. They were awful weren’t they? But man oh man, how I wanted a pair!

  36. I can’t think of anything specific that I’ve been suckered into buying – I’ve made impulse purchases before but I can’t think of an instance where I have bought a product that didn’t live up to the advertising. I guess I am a bit of a sucker for “lifestyle” type advertising but will generally settle for a more economical alternative.

    The whole greenwashing phenomenon is very interesting. I think in a few decades we will look back at this huge push on “environmentally-friendly” product advertising the same way we look at snakeoil salesmen from the old west. Bamboo is a great case in point – the material itself is very environmentally friendly (renewable, grows fast, etc.) but the treatments is has to undergo to become a useful product (especially cloth) are horrible. And yes, I did buy a set of bamboo sheets before I found that out.

    btw – if my trip to Paris doesn’t live up to my expectations, I know who to blame 😉

  37. We’ve all been there.
    When I was young the adds were for Charles Atlas – the wording was “You too can have a body like mine”.
    The system for building huge biceps and large lats was based on isotonics – whatever that is!
    Fortunately I never had the cash but if I had… I would have been one of the ones born every day.

  38. Woops. Apparently I was in the midst of a spelling failure when I wrote that entry. Sorry–it hath been corrected!

    James – Welcome To Nowhere

  39. Sky – Ha ha on those ugly new weight loss walking shoes. I know what you mean. I’ve read the consumer reports on them and they say the ones Reebox makes are actually a good buy. What they actually do for you is work on your centre of balance forcing you to use your core muscles more during every day activities like walking around. And when your core muscles are toned and strengthened your whole digestive system works better, you have better posture, fewer back issues and the toning extends beyond just the core. How much of a difference you’re going to see, I don’t know, but the Reebox are not as pricey as some of the others nor are they quite as ugly, so you might as well give it a go. I’m thinking about it, too!!

    Paul – If Paris doesn’t live up to and exceed your expectations then there’s something wrong with you!! Let me know how it goes.

    Keith – Welcome to the blog! Isotonics includes stuff like free weights which would indeed help to make you look like Charles Atlas if you worked hard enough at it. Not everything is a scam. From what I’ve read the exercises you got with the program were quite sensible. The company is still going strong 80 some years later so there has to be something to it, one would think.

    James – Oh-key-doh-key!!

  40. I have to admit it. I’m sitting here right now tossing back an ice cold bottle of bright red XXX Vitamin Water. In my defense, though, I’m drinking it because I like the taste, not because I think I’m going to get healthy drinking it OR because I don’t like the taste of boring old plain water. (I will never understand people who don’t like the taste of water. How can you not like the taste of water? It doesn’t — or shouldn’t — have a taste.)

    Hmmm, this reminds me that I have an unfinished post about Vitamin Water. Maybe I should go finish that…

  41. Louise – As long as you know what you’re drinking and are good with that, go for it. I love water best anyway — but not bottled water. It always tastes weird to me. And I can’t bear paying $3 for a bottle of water. So, I usually have my own bottle with me.

  42. Louise – Me too! I think bottled water has sodium added to it for preservative or something. I know it’s always listed on the ingredients — like water needs an ingredients list!