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The 2010 Shonky Awards

I have to admit, I’m sitting here feeling a little bit smug this morning. As my many avid readers (hi Mum!)  are probably aware my very first blog post was about the Power Balance Band.  I was so enraged by the stupidity of the useless rubber arm band that I was spurred into action (well my nerdy version of action).

So it was with great pleasure that I read the news that Power Balance Bands have been awarded a Shonky award for 2010 by CHOICE a leading consumer advocate group in Australia.

For those of you unfamiliar with the band it is a silicone band that comes in various colours that has a useless hologram sticker stuck in it, oh wait, no, sorry it’s a  “Mylar hologram designed to react with the body s natural energy flow.”

When worn Power Balance claims that these bands will increase your, strength, agility and balance, magic!  Of course the company has a whole bunch of incomprehensible pseudo-science jargon to back up their claims, but basically, it’s bullshit.

The CHOICE Shonky Awards are given out annually to deserving crap products and this was what they had to say about Power Balance making the list:

“We CHOICE sceptics did our own testing under controlled laboratory conditions – after all, you can’t believe everything you see on TV – and verified the Skeptics’ findings. The money-back guarantee, however, did work. The only power this bracelet seems to have, placebo effect notwithstanding, is in tipping its distributor’s bank balance well and truly into the black – they’re reportedly raking it in. So, if a fool and his money are soon parted, there are apparently plenty of fools out there – and they’re all conveniently identified with a rubber band bracelet. If you see one, offer to sell them a bridge.”

Well said CHOICE, well said. So even though this obviously crap product has been proven yet again to be a fake, people still aren’t willing to admit they’ve been had, this is an excerpt from the Telegraph today as quoted from Andrew Wood, a personal trainer and triathlete from Sydney, who had worn one of the bands for months:

 “I don’t put it on thinking I’m Samson and take it off and think all my power is gone … but you do start getting attached to it so I probably will keep wearing it. I’m less taken by all the hype around its energy systems.”

Less taken in?! Jesus, there is no helping some people, as CHOICE said, at least now they are identifiable by their little bracelets.

Coles “$10 meal” promotion with Curtis Stone also received an award. The premise of the promotion is that you could follow the special recipes handed out at Coles and make a gourmet meal to feed up to four people for less than $10. CHOICE found this to not be the complete truth, unless  you happen to have some of the stuff in your pantry already and you manage to convince Coles to let you buy two cloves of garlic or one bay leaf. CHOICE calculated Curtis’ $7.76 Coq au vin would cost $37.74 if you bought all the necessary ingredients – including the integral half-litre of vin, which somehow wasn’t included in the $7.76 (though you’d perhaps hope not for that price). And it wasn’t just that recipe – the $9.99 Chicken Tikka Masala would set you back $39.74.

Also in the CHOICE line of fire was Nurofen, and more specifically it’s targeted pain relief tablets (neck, back etc) that contain identical ingredients to regular Nurofen pain relief tablets and yet cost more money. Bravo Nurofen, even I fell for that one. I’m the kind of moron who says “My back hurts, give me some back pain relief! No damn it! I said back not shoulders!”

Hmmm maybe I’ve been to harsh on the Power Balance victims, everyone gets taken in by some scam or another. The important thing to do now is to cut your losses, admit defeat, take off the fucking band!

O.k. you got scammed, and it doesn’t feel nice. Nobody likes looking silly, but you’re going to look a lot more silly if you keep clinging to the bands and defending them in the face of all the logical evidence. if you want some dignity back, I would suggest you find some other Power Balance victims and have yourself a little lawsuit. Unfortunately history has shown time and time again that even though the emporer has no clothes everyone would rather pretend he does than admit that they’ve been fooled.

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Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves, But What About Each Other?


Women have always had a complicated relationship with each other, whether we’re singing a karaoke version of “I Am Woman” on a stage with our best friends

(dear god that was an awful movie) or tearing each other’s hair out, the female relationship can be a very fragile and complicated thing.

When I hear of a friend getting a promotion, I immediately think of how far from a promotion I am, I think it’s true for a lot of women. If your friend announces she’s met the man of her dreams, how quickly are you looking for a fault in her “Mr Right”? What about if she borrows your clothes and then gets more compliments for them than you usually do? That bitch!

I’m sure every woman has a story about when another female has stabbed them in the back, I’m also sure that they have even more examples of times when they have been the one doing the stabbing.
I have always wondered why women do this, why do we put each other down to make ourselves feel better? Why do compare our achievements negatively or favourably with one and other instead of just being proud of what we have accomplished? In short why are we competing?

Now you may think I’m being a little hasty to profile women in this way, and perhaps I am. Perhaps I am being a little old-fashioned to think that men and women are so different nowadays, perhaps men are from Mars and women are from Earth (the closest planet to Mars in case you were wondering.)

I thought about this, and I compiled a short survey about male and female competition (click the links for an example of each survey). As you can see the surveys are identical except for the genders. Now, as I have previously mentioned, I am not a scientist, I am an underpaid childcare worker with a mediocre high school education, so if you’re thinking that the survey might be a little rough, you’d be right. I do not have a psychology degree and I am not trained in survey writing or data analysis, this is just a fun little experiment I concocted. i got 20 males and 20 females to complete these surveys.

Let’s have a look at the results! Women’s results, Men’s results.

Click on the links to see the results of the surveys, now rather than go through all the results answer by answer I’ll just comment on the results that I found particularly interesting.

In the work section there is a question about a co-worker calling in sick after going out late drinking.When given the options on the survey 45% of the Women went with answer B indicating that they would give their coworker the benefit of the doubt. sounds lovely right? What nice supportive people we are, oh wait! No we’re not, because 45% of the Women picked C for the same answer indicating that they would keep their coworkers secret but may possibly use it against her later. Wow, remind me not to try any dodgy sick days on you ladies.

For the same question the 75% of the men were giving their co-worker the benefit of the doubt with 15% turning them into the boss and only 10% planning to use it against them. Hey at least those 15%  were gonna stab you in the front!

Ok, so that made the gals look a little harsh, let’s try to even the score and have a look at where the men might be displaying a little cut throat competitive instinct.

The social section, question 3.  The situation with the friend’s ex: 36.8% of the Men indicated that they would be flattered to be receiving this attention over their friend with 10.5% being irritated by the advances and  52.6% thinking that the best thing to do was ignore the advances. The ladies showed a little more loyalty with ony 20% being flattered, 45% being irritated and 25% ignoring it. That’s more like it girls, I’d trust you around my ex any day, you men better stay away though!

I don’t want to get caught up in too many statistics and numbers now. The survey was fun and had some interesting results, but now the more important question do Women compete with each other more than men do?

If so why?( Ok, so I’m going to sound like a whingeing chick from one of those “Female lawyer” shows from the late 90’s and I apologise in advance)

Being a Woman is hard, first off we work just as hard and get paid less, So we work harder and harder to try to get the career path we want  and then… “Uh-oh biological clock ticking, baby time!”  Or “nope, you have reproductive issues madam but please deal with them quietly as the rest of the world is uncomfortable with them”

Don’t even think about being one of those women who says they don’t want kids, everyone knows “those” women are evil. If you do decide to have kids prepare to wade through the thousands of conflicting views on how you should be raising them. If you do find your dream career you’ll probably find it harder to climb to the top than a man.  On top of that we are somehow supposed to be able to do these things while looking amazing and maintaining the perfect weight. I’m getting tired and grumpy just typing this shit.

So when you see another woman who’s holding it together a little better than you, who seems to be cruising along and easily achieving everything that she sets out to do, don’t you hate that bitch? I know I do. I hate her and she probably hates somebody else for the same reason and so on and so on until the whole process is a never-ending chain of bitterness and envy. The sad thing is a lot of these pressures that make us so competitive are put on us by ourselves. If we all just stopped judging how other women dress or how they got their job or whether their boyfriend likes us more, we might have more time to spend solving the bigger issues that affect us as a group.

I doubt it can be done, although… “Women get along only when they ally their powers against other women”  I nominate Sarah Palin.