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Welcome From The Chief Editor

Marketing departments and lawyers. Do we really need them?

Without them, things might actually be simpler. Without the marketing department getting involved, we might actually be able to buy just shampoo, for example. But with them, we can only buy "invigorating shampoo," "refreshing shampoo," "moisturizing shampoo," or "energizing shampoo." I don't know about you, but I don't buy shampoo based on whether it invigorates, refreshes or energizes me. I buy shampoo to clean my hair. As for moisturizing, nearly all shampoos have to be used with water, so I don't need it to be "moisturizing" either. In fact, I don't know of anything more moist than the water that I must use the shampoo with.

I doubt I'd be lining up to buy anything that makes any part of my body smell worse than it was before I washed with it, so having a refreshing scent should pretty much be a no-brainer. But the marketing "geniuses" have to convince us that the personal care product we are buying has a "refreshing scent." Hey, my wife's best friend LOVES the smell of skunk. We even got her a skunk candle for Christmas one year. I hate flowery, "foo-foo" types of scents (lavender is right at the top of those scents). So what one person thinks is a refreshing scent is an abominable scent to others.

I'm certain that lawyers are responsible for the wacky warning symbols we see on all sorts of our everyday products. I'm sure no company wants to be sued because someone misused a product. But can you really predict the stupidity of some people? Check out this confusing composite of warning symbols:

When did we return to the days of Egyptian hieroglyphics? The first three make sense, as do a FEW of the others making up the last three rows. But some of these are so "out there" that I'm bound to become injured just trying to figure out what they represent. At the very least, several thousand brain cells die just trying to figure these warnings out.

Take this one. It's meant to inform the user that there is an explosion risk. But, at first glance, it says to me that I may be subjected to a meteor bombardment if I use this product. That interpretation makes better sense to me than this product may explode. It actually took me quite a while to figure this one out when I first encountered it plastered on the side of my wife's shaving cream can. And yes, my first glance impression listed above is exactly my first take on the symbol.

As if all of those symbols weren't confusing enough, these confusing symbols have spread throughout various industries, like the laundry industry. I know you must have seen them and not been any more "enlightened" upon discovering them than you were before you first spotted them.

If these symbols are an attempt to make it easier to discern fabric care instructions, then the whole industry failed miserably. It fails because they are too hieroglyphic-like and there are too many of them. There are 10 more symbols here than there are letters in the entire English alphabet!

Between the warning symbols, the laundry symbols, and every other obscure and meaningless scribbled hieroglyphic (think the "idiot" lights on the dash of your car for another collection, right off the top of my head), and navigating this minefield is a lot like learning another new language that has the propensity to change whenever it wants and on the slightest of whims. It's insanity!

I hope you navigate the symbol minefield and the marketing poison unscathed. Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity and prosperity.

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