Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Retirement Issues - A World Upside Down

Is it just me, or is the whole world turning upside down? I’m confused. Products that appear to be innocuous personal care items function more like narcotics, while products that are essentially cosmetics are masquerading as medicinal or biological.

Perhaps it’s always been like this. Perhaps I’m just more attuned to it now that I’m retired and have time to pay attention. Maybe so, but I think our social structure is heading straight to hell in that proverbial hand basket, cleverly disguised as a shopping cart.

Something that’s known as “bath salts” sounds like it should be a harmless personal care product. It’s available without prescription or proof of age in tobacco shops, fringe specialty stores and online. With names like Lovey Dovey and Kush Blitz, you might have images of romantic couples soaking together in a bathtub of bliss. You’d be dreaming up the wrong pipe.

A cautionary article in Time magazine reported that these so-called bath salts contain methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). With a name like that, it’s no wonder someone came up with bath salts instead. MDPV is an hallucinogen that leads to euphoria but can have serious physical side effects and psychological consequences, including suicide. Not your romantic bath soak indeed.

The same issue of Time covers the flip side of this trend. An Italian company has created fragrances that are intended to mimic the smell of blood. Yes, you read it correctly. Blood. Time reports that Blood Concept is launching new scents named for the four blood types—A, B, AB and O. With all the interest in vampires in pop culture, they’ll probably rake in the Euros. I hear that early sales are especially strong in Hungary and Romania.

My first thoughts are analytical questions. Do their production forecasts model the ratios of the blood types in the general population? If your own blood is type A and you wear B, will you have an adverse reaction? Is type O universally appealing? Then my marketing instincts kick in.

Why would anyone want to deliberately smell like blood? Musk I can understand, especially for guys who believe that’s macho. Maybe even perspiration, if you want people to think you’re a fitness buff, but you hate to work out. But blood? If you’re going there, how about vomit, to let everyone know you party all night? And what’s next? Earwax? Bellybutton lint? Can’t wait to see how those are positioned in the market.

Getting back to Blood Concept and the vampire craze—suddenly I’m taking a mental stroll down memory lane. I find myself wondering: What ever happened to the good old-fashioned hickey? A quick Google turned up many items on hickeys, including a 59-second video on YouTube: How to give someone a hickey. Maybe the world isn’t turning upside down after all.

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