This is not what you think it is.
I was cleaning the loo the other day using one of those cleaners in the bottle with the swanlike neck that is ostensibly to help you get in under the rim, but in fact means you squirt craploads of disinfectant out in the very beginning, before running out just prior to completing the bowl’s circumference. I was trying to navigate the final squirt of solution around the bend when I saw in bold print on the label:
“DO NOT SWALLOW!”
Really? Who is that message for? Presumably the only people who would even contemplate putting the spout in their mouths are toddlers or morons – neither of whom can or would read the bottle first. It would have been better had the warning read
“NEGLECTFUL PARENTS SHOULD NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT!”
“SERIOUSLY DUDE, THIS AIN’T CORDIAL!”
But stuff’s like that now. Not just the warning labels, sometimes it’s the serving suggestions. My butter container actually says “SPREAD ON BREAD.” Hmm, ground breaking idea.
Quite often it’s the whole stupid blurb on a product that upsets me, especially the ones where some marketing guru thought it’d be a good idea if the thing itself appeared to try and talk to you.
An example: I was staying with my brother and noticed his girlfriend’s shampoo and conditioner.
“COLOUR ME HAPPY” pleaded the shampoo, “DANGEROUSLY STRAIGHT” claimed the conditioner. Even her face cleaner was called “WASH OFF!” (complete with exclamation mark).
The back of these bottles was worse, giving the products personalities and attempting a dialogue with me.
SHAMPOO: “I’ll protect your colour treated hair because I’m packed with conditioners to help keep your hair healthy and truly radiant. And that’s a sign of happiness.”
Is it really? I thought smiling was a sign of happiness? Or laughing.
The conditioner was worse, it had vaguely homophobic undertones.
CONDITIONER: “I’ll get right to the point. It’s easier to get straight.”
It then got all condescending with me:
“Can I be straight with you? You don’t have to work as much. Get the look with a big dose of my conditioning…and move in a fine line.”
Weirdly, the directions for use (again, is that really necessary? Are there actually people confused by how to use conditioner?) were kind of creepy, somewhere between Mills & Boon and Sex Predator:
“Use me: Massage me in, relax, rinse me out, walk straight ahead.”
UGH! I instantly felt like a dirty old man had whispered into my prepubescent ear. Good thing I was in the shower at the time.
I don’t get it. I don’t get why shampoo can’t just say “this shit cleans your hair”, and conditioner say “this stuff makes your hair smell better & stops the comb getting stuck in your knots.” I reckon we’d all get the gist.
Tampons are another one. You know you can buy them in silver foiled packs now? That’s good. Us girls like to be a bit ‘showy’ with our sanitary protection. Combine the blinged up little box with a super cool ad showing a bunch of models dancing around a nightclub toilet flicking their tampon packets open and shut in time to the music, and you’ve got one super sexy status symbol. NOT. Nothing, and I repeatNOTHING, is going to make us get excited about getting our period. Unless we were freaking out about an unwanted pregnancy. Actually, that’s a great idea for a tampon ad. A teenage girl stressing out that she’s up the duff, then excitedly running to the chemist when her period belatedly arrives. The conservatives would hate it, it’s bound to get extra publicity.
It’s all such rubbish, and it makes me feel that we’re considered a pretty stupid bunch of consumers. Sure, some of us probably are. But I’m reasonably certain all barr a few real nutters out there DON’T ACTUALLY THINK THE SHAMPOO IS TALKING TO THEM. At all. Not even a mumble.
Radiant hair is just a sign of a good hairdresser; I don’t care what my shampoo tried to tell me over breakfast this morning, I know I’m right.