Products that don’t do anything and other MKT myths

Dryer sheets. Or, in Kleenex fashion, simply “Bounce” sheets- after the very first product line in the category, devised by Procter & Gamble* in 1975. These are little, nice-smelling square sheets of wispy paper that you put in your dryer along with your wet clothes from out of the washing machine. Supposedly they offer myriad benefits: a nice scent is transferred to your clothes while they dry, um, they smell nice and make your clothes kinda, somewhat smell just as nice too, um….the smell thing? Did we mention that? Oh, they are also sometimes purported to hold magical “fabric softening” properties. So, yeah, a little piece of paper can make your polyester Target piece of crap t-shirt “softer” by swirling around with it for an hour at a really hot temperature and occasionally brushing up against it. P&G must guard the science behind this vundereffect like a hawk with an uzi!

Yes, everyone jams these little squares of crap into the dryer along with their wet clothes. But why? Does Tide smell that bad? I mean, your clothes just sat in a bucket of detergent-y soap-water and spun around for an hour. Do they need more “fresh scent” applied to them?? You already picked Tide in “fresh scent” for an extra dollar! And do you really think that it made your 100% cotton any softer? More cotton-ier!? NO! Check the thread count. There. You’re stuck with that level of “softness.”

Now, by this point, many of you probably stopped reading. “Wow, a rant about a peripheral laundry product. Ooooo, these guys aren’t scared of anybody!” But consider this: you get 80 dryer sheets in one box for about $6. ($4 for the no name® brand, but the logo on the box is so much duller….more on this theme later.) Now, how many loads do you do in a given lifetime?** Two a week (whites and coloreds…yes it’s a Jim Crow laundry universe, Maytag Luther King Jr.’s efforts aside) every week for your entire life?? So, um, hmm, grade-8 come-back-to-meh-nauw…2 x 4 weeks x 12 months x ..let’s say you start doing your own laundry at 18 and stop at 60 when you’re too senile and destroy your washing machine with a phased plasma rifle you illegally kept from the great Nancy Pelosi Replicant War of 2056 because you claim it called you a transvestite…so…x (60-18) is 40…minus 2… PLUS 2… 42…2 x 4 x 12 x 42 (GOwatchcalculaturrrrr, GO!)……4,032 loads of laundry! ….Surprisingly, that’s only 50 boxes in your lifetime of these 80 pack dryer sheets.

Now it’ll be more than $6 by the time T-1000 Pelosi’s go haywire and threaten civilization itself, but let’s just assume that adjusting for inflation at 4000 Remnibi, or jiǎo’s (角’s), it’ll still be the equivalent of today’s six bucks. SO, ahem…6 x 50…is….$300.

So you are projected to drop about $300 today’s money on these stupid things through your lifetime! Let’s not get into even less-funny math by seeing what all these little $6 outlays would have garnered you by the time you’d want to spend it on commemorative coins had they been invested at roughly 4% annual average return… (Answer: about $1000).

Few would sniff at $300 and even less at $1000 (granted, way out at age 60). Moreover, Bounce is just one in a long list of add-on products invented by companies to amp the “stagnant” revenue stream from a more practical, core product that actually serves a purpose.

TTT has already investigated the 100% halo effect of “high-octane” gasoline. But there are so many more just like this.

For instance, Jet Dry. “Your dishwasher was designed for it!” Supposedly, Jet Dry helps your normal dishwasher detergent get at leftover food, wine stains and even the dishwasher detergent residue itself that often remains on dishes and cups. Now, leaving aside the awesome CGI renderings of the inner workings of the rinse cycle as presented by Jet Dry’s advertisements; basically, your dishes were either splashed with sudsy water for an hour or so, or they weren’t.

Likewise, you either have gas in your car or you don’t. Annnnd, you either washed your clothes in a washing machine or you didn’t.

Even better is the spin marketers put on what are essentially commodities, i.e. basic inputs. Coal is coal*** and basically no one cares to try to invent “luxury” coal and charge 30% extra for this “kind” of “better” coal. But millions of idiots regularly pay extra for ~Starbucks~ brand Colombian coffee beans, eschewing the Publix**** or Loblaw’s***** brand Columbian coffee beans.

It’s either 100% beans from Columbia or it’s not. You just paid $3.50 extra for that weird green psychedelic logo. Yeah. Nothing more. Go back and use our terrible math to figure out what you’re actually wasting here, in a lifetime.

Same goes for orange juice. It’s either real Florida orange juice without anything added or it isn’t. Yup: an extra buck fiddy for that ~Tropicana~ logo.

Coal is coal, a coffee bean is a coffee bean, and an orange is an orange.

Of course, maybe some other idiot visiting your house will see your ~Starbucks~ coffee beans and your ~Tropicana~ orange juice in your kitchen, and your ~Bounce~ sheets in your laundry room, and think more of you. Congratulations. Re-gard from a re-tard.

Avoid looking directly into the iris of the pretty logos and save yourself $10,000 by the time you’re 60.

That’s alot of high-waisted (space) pants.

*simply “P&G” (pee’n’jee) to the Marketing folk.

**insert joke here.

***cue some Bill Nye the Assh*le Guy to chime in with, “Well, what about ‘lignite’ coal? Or ‘bituminous’ coal?” Just assume we meant the first one only. Lime…lig…ligament coal. Now, fack’off.

****for US readers.

*****for Canadian readers. US readers take note: you can’t get wine or beer in here. Yeah, the government sells it. Yes, only them. Yes, it’s wayyyy expensive. Yeah, just like Czarist Russia. We like to run a tight ship up here. Watch your step.

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