I’m convinced my wife would be an easy mark for a snake oil salesman.
She’s pretty sure miracle products are hitting the store shelves regularly while I’m of the mindset that if what I’ve got is working, I don’t want something new until I actually see someone I know with the new thing.
My wife will quickly seek out and buy any miracle cream she sees in a magazine just because it said it would lift out wrinkles or stop split-ends. I laugh at her every time she brings home wrinkle cream and I don’t think she likes it much when I do that.
She believes there has to be a way to kill pests without odor, without harsh chemicals or oily substances. Once she bought little wristbands that glowed in the dark that were supposed to repel mosquitoes. They looked like kids toys. She’s purchased electronic mosquito repelling devices, she mail-ordered some special mosquito plants that were going to keep the bugs away naturally. Citronella candles are stacked high in our storage cabinets.
The only all-natural bug fighter that remains on duty are the toad frogs on the patio.
Earlier this week, since a checklist for a retreat we were attending instructed us to remember bug spray, she had us on a quest for the latest and greatest mosquito defense system. I nearly died in the aisles of the store helping her find the product.
“I want one of these bug repellent tags,” she said.
I told her we were in the wrong store, they sold cattle tags in the farm and ranch store and mooed at her. I said we could always go to the pet aisle and get her a flea collar if she didn’t want to go to the feed store.
After I picked myself up off the cool, hard tile floor, she explained that it was a little device that clipped onto your belt or pocket that employed a tiny fan to continuously blow out an invisible screen of protection.
Sure enough, right there in the bug spray aisle was a product made by OFF, just as she described. What she didn’t tell me was the device was $8.50 and the refills, which last “up to 12 hours,” are $5.50.
I recollected that the spray bottle of Deep Woods Off in my tackle box had cost me just a little bit less than one of those refills and it had served me well for several years now.
She said: “Fine, I won’t get you one then.”
My wife isn’t alone. If something takes a little too long, leaves a mess or doesn’t work on the first try our society is quick to move on to the next thing. Often that “next great thing” is differentiated from the “last great thing” by packaging or color alone.
When the man pulls his wagon into the Town Square and holds up a shiny, odd-shaped bottle we’re all instantly suckers.
“My wife says we’ll take two, sir.”