Having recently joined Angie’s List, David was determined to get his money’s worth out of the yearly fee. To that end, he decided to take advantage of one of their special offers, a new fuse box. What was wrong with the one we had? Apparently it was old, which makes me worry about my future. David said the benefit was safety, and there’s no arguing with that, although I can think of better things to do with eleven hundred dollars. And the sure knowledge of what I was going to have to endure to get this done—phone menus, permits, the invasion of my home by a sloppy electrician. Was this really necessary?
And this question led me to think about some of the items I regard as necessity that simply aren’t. Conditioner, Bounce sheets, paper towels, vitamin water—none of these things are vital. This line of thought caused me to consider products that delivered on their promises and products that didn’t. Here’s an example of one that didn’t:
Several months ago I was walking through a Japanese department store in Singapore when I came across an intriguing box labeled “Detox Foot Patch”. The big-letter claim was that it would “Relieve pressures and pain on joints, neck, shoulders, wrists and legs, especially for long hours working and standing people.” The patches contained “Incredible bamboo acid quintessence,” and the small-letter claim was that they would “clear out body toxins, activate cells, maintain a good complexion, and relieve fatigue.” This was about the stupidest product I’d ever seen anywhere, but at twelve Sing dollars for eight patches, who could resist? That night I followed the simple instructions, sticking the gluey side of the patches across the soles of my feet. I was told that in the morning the patches would have changed color due to all the body toxins they’d absorbed during the night. What they did was make a stinky oozing dark mess on my sheets. It was a silly experiment. When I mentioned to a friend that I’d tried the patches, she was enthusiastic. “I love those things!” she said. “They really work. I use them at least once a week.” Odd; she seemed so normal.
Here are a couple of items that actually do what they say they’ll do:
Almay Get Up and Grow mascara. I didn’t pay attention to what it was called; I just tossed a couple of tubes into the cart at the grocery store. Six months later, I noticed that my eyelashes were thicker and longer than they’d ever been. It wasn’t until that point that I noticed the name. An improvement where I didn’t expect one. How nice.
City Cosmetics Pore Minimizing Primer. Appalled that my nose pores had become enlarged—this due to a lifetime of allergies—I looked up consumer comments concerning pore reducers. City Cosmetics had the highest rating. Ordered online, not prohibitively expensive. The reduction in pore size was noticeable after a single day. I’m very happy with this product.
Champion Sports Bras. Mixed feelings. In the fitting room, I was so thrilled with the comfort, lift, and non-jiggability of these bras that I bought six of them. But the first time I actually wore one to yoga, the interior seam that ran between the cups and along the top turned out to be so aggressively rough that I felt like I was being poked with a thousand tiny needles. No kidding. There was blood. Boob skin is tender. What sadist designed these things?
The agonizing bras led me to discover this wonder-product—Kodomo Baby Lotion Powder. All the anti-chafing benefits of talc without the mess. I got this in the baby section of a drugstore in Singapore, but haven’t been able to find it in Houston.
So now we have a new fuse box. But Bill, the electrician, used the wrong fuse for the air conditioner, so the new box didn’t pass the city inspection. The inspector notified Bill of this a week ago, but Bill’s in no hurry to fix his error—and why should he be? He’s been paid. I should probably be proactive, call Bill and nag and complain until he takes care of it. Also, I could write up a scathing review for Angie’s List. But all that negativity is so tedious. Meanwhile, we’re unapproved and noncompliant. I wonder how long it’ll be before Reliant threatens to cut us off.