Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Aldi's Bargain Basement Bullshit

I am incapable of going on a shopping trip to an Aldi or Lidl store without checking out the weekly 'special offers'. I appreciate the efforts to have themed catalogues of 'fishing', 'camping', or 'world cup', but more often than not, the stores are filled with a mishmash of unrelated paraphernalia ranging from media-centre PCs to electric dog-bowl warmers.

On my most recent trip to my local Aldi, I observed the following on sale for €2.75 or so:

The ACU-STRAP morning & motion sickness band!  No drugs? Non drowsy? Sounds fantastic!

Let's investigate a little. What does this product do?
Stop travel sickness before it starts! The Acu-Strap uses the science of acupressure to alleviate the nausea of Morning Sickness, Travel Sickness, Anesthia and Chemotherapy. [Source]
Neat! The "science of acupressure". What is "acupressure"? Well, it works on the same principles of acupuncture - applying pressure to parts of your body to trigger a self-healing effect. After some investigation, it seems that while the proponents agree that acupressure works, few of the believers seem to agree on what the actual mechanism at work is, or even agree on how to map out the pressure points on the body. How very curious.

Skeptical Neuroscientist Steven Novella wrote a piece called "Why I am Skeptical of Acupuncture", and any sensible person who takes the time to read it ought to agree with him, so allow me to quickly copy and paste the five headings he uses to focus his undermining of this ancient chinese practice:

1) Acupuncture is a pre-scientific superstition
2) Acupuncture lacks a plausible mechanism
3) Claims for efficacy are often based upon a bait-and-switch deception.
4) Clinical trials show that acupuncture does not work

Okay, so acu-puncture/pressure doesn't work, but what's the harm? What's the harm in charging people €3 to wear a piece of cloth with a plastic nipple and enjoy a relatively cheap placebo effect?

Forgive the 'slippery-slope' mentality, but I can only see it as a negative that something so stupid is available so cheap on the mass market. This moronic fashion statement is a conversation-starter, and over countless coffees across Ireland, credulous nitwits will hear their friends rave about their magic wrist-bands that cured their nausea, as they regurgitate the pseudo-science about 'acupressure' and contribute to the growing number of people who are turning away from science-based medicine and embracing flashing lights, ritualistic practices, and other expensive (and dangerous) wastes of time, when genuine medical intervention means the difference between life and death.

I entirely expect that the vast majority of people who use this product will realise that it's a piece of junk as soon as they stop to consider that there's no instructions in the packaging telling them how to position the "scientific" acu-pressure nipple they just purchased, and that their nausea and vomiting hasn't taken the slightest hit. All the same, I worry for the ninnies (won't somebody please think of the ninnies!). The people who persevere with this piece of crap because they see that the box says to "Stop travel sickness before it starts!", so they wear the band constantly to keep the threat at bay. It's cheaper than buying medicine or going to the doctor, so if it doesn't work, just keep adjusting it until it hits the sweet spot!

I fired off an e-mail to Acu-Life, posing as a customer seeking advice on how to wear the band. This is the response I got:

I am not familiar with the Acu-Strap wristband... I am not sure there is any simple remedy for morning sickness. Generally, it passes after the first 3 months of pregnancy.

The Acu-Life strategy:

  1. Remove references to shitty product from website.
  2. Deny existence of shitty product.
  3. Sell remaining stock to Aldi for quick hocking.
  4. Profit!

Remember, reading Sully's blog keeps Rheumatism and Gout, Lumbago, Sciatica, and Arthritis at bay, and balances the body's four humors! If you stop reading now, it could be fatal.

1 comment:

Jason said...

You are a beacon of light in a cesspool of retardation, Sully.

Speaking of stupid shit, this chick I know was telling me about a christian dude she used to date. The guy was against sex before marriage - it's sinful in the eyes of God, you see - so he did the good christian thing and rogered her up the ass. For over 2 years.
Clearly during the act God was looking down with warm and benevolent pride, for the morally upright Christian was restraining his sinful desires by adhering to such chaste, self-denying principles.