Friday, October 3, 2014

Caffeinated Underwear

Some might think this is funny, but it just shows how desperate some people are to lose weight, that they could be tricked into spending money on such an obviously bogus product, underwear supposedly laced with caffeine.  The FTC accused two companies of “deceptive advertising that claimed their caffeine-impregnated clothing would cause the wearer to lose weight and have less cellulite.”

The director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection reminds us that “the best approach is tried and true: diet and exercise," and that any time someone tries to sell clothing that guarantees weight loss, don’t believe it.

Apparently the incentive to sidestep this hard work of disciplined behavior is so strong that a few thousand people did buy the various undergarments before the FTC got wind of the scam.  The companies agreed to reimburse them for a total of $1.5 million.

Discipline is the behavioral dimension where it is very easy to explain the actions needed and very difficult to carry them out:  eat less and exercise more, spend less than your net income, stop drinking to excess, quit smoking, set limits when gambling, and just say “no” to many other temptations.  The challenge of these common sense guidelines makes it easy to compound the problem by falling into errors in other areas.  We abandon responsibility by looking for others to blame or looking to others to rescue us.  We are susceptible to the lure of the magic answer, whether it be magic clothing, magic pills, magic devices, or the magic money tree that never has to be paid back.  This weakness makes us easy targets for advertisers and politicians who want to play the role of savior by selling us their special product or political agenda.  They promise magic solutions and give us false hope that the world can be made better by something other than hard work.  As Dr. Phil might say, “How’s that working for you?”

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