Friday, May 19, 2017

Protect Yourself

In response to my entry one week ago about the idea that much of the consumer protection by the government is merely an attempt to protect people from their own mistakes, one of my faithful readers sent a couple of good examples of the same.  I’ll take a look at one of them.

Remember, the original piece was about a chunk of plastic that you plug into the wall to protect against negative energy of many types ranging from Blue Tooth radiation, which is real but harmless, to noxious psychic energy, which has never been proven to exist, and that’s about as harmless as you can get.  The wide range and varieties of these so-called noxious energies it protects against should have been the first clue that something was probably fishy.  That the company did not explain how their product apparently absorbed or repelled this energy and only backed up their claims with endorsements is also suspicious.  Finally, the information that after plugging in the appliance, it did not draw any electricity is very curious – why plug it in at all?

So I was tipped off about this promotion with a similar sales pitch for yet another miracle product.

This website provides detailed information about “the healing properties of gemstones and crystals.”  They present the usual references to ancient wisdom for all these health claims, secrets from the same ancient people with average life expectancies less than half of ours today.  But ancient wisdom and the mysteries of the orient are staples for these types of sales pitches as they list 42 stones with their special properties (but not their prices). 

Then they cite the science.  “On a cellular level, our bodies and quartz crystal are both made up of mineral silicon-dioxide” and “we are naturally receptive to the vibrations of crystals.”  I didn’t know crystals had cells, yet we are told that one of them acts as a “natural stress reliever that encourages inner strength and brings wealth and a strong business sense,” and another “clears the mind, balances emotions and strengthens personal power.”  Wow, problem solved!  Poverty and a host of mental health issues wiped out for the price of a couple of rocks!  Sounds too good to be true – obviously.  A little research on line shows that none of these claims have any scientific backing.  Any benefit is based on the placebo effect.

The problem is there are so many of these products advertised.  Their target is people facing serious issues in their lives who are searching for any quick and easy way out, the path of least resistance.  These are the same people who hear their doctor recommend a change in lifestyle but opt for the pill instead.  Sometimes the products are designed to solve a problem we didn’t even know we had, but people are tempted to try to make their lives a little better.  The big selling point is that it will take little or no effort.

The fact that these sell is strong evidence of problems within the behavioral dimension of discipline, looking for the easy answer or the “magic bullet.”  Careful examination of the science, if there is any, without falling for the scientific sounding sales pitch and the testimonials about how wonderful they are, usually leads to the conclusion that your money is best spent on something more worthwhile.

I thank my reader for providing the link to this example.  I always welcome comments and suggestions, whether you agree or disagree.  The behavioral model is not necessarily about common conclusions, but about arriving at any conclusions in a well thought out and logical manner without attacking the defender of those ideas personally.

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