Here’s what I call an encouraging statistic: Only 12% of surveyed Americans report they missed the canceled start of the pro basketball season. Nothing against basketball, just nice to hear that our heavily hustled population doesn’t always go-with-the-promotional-flow. Occasionally we do try to distinguish between what’s important in life and what’s not.
Which brings me to your local drugstore aisles.
I’m here to suggest that of all the sophisticated surveys about you and me, maybe the easiest and best is the one you can take right in your own drug store. When you write for so many of the Fortune 500 companies that produce so many of these products, you learn how vital their merchandising space is to them. I’ve seen their sales forces equipped with everything from free display counters to dollars bonuses for the drugstore in this pursuit of prominent “shelf space.”
OK, so lets take a stroll and measure — literally measure! — the number of inches different products are getting on those shelves. Obviously, the more inches, the more important these products seem to us the buying public. Here’s my report in order of inches displayed >>
* Greeting Cards ~ In an age when personally knowing family, friends and neighbors has become less common, there’s always Hallmark to find the right words. And often they do. Only you wonder how it is we’ve lost so much of the ability to find our own words
* Confectioneries ~ We know the brain craves sugar. Candy makers have found a gazillion different ways to spin and weave their sweet diversions. Watching eager shoppers from kids to grandmas, you see our drug-infested culture reaching for one of its last safe drugs of choice
* Pain medications ~ Take another look at just how many pain relievers there are out there. Many now locked away from over-eager buyer hands. The pharmaceutical companies have found even more ways than the candy companies to woo you into their merchandising web. They know how intense Americans don’t tolerate very well the discomforts that come from their intense living. Pop a pill and you’ll be like those happy smiling folks on the TV commercials
* Beauty aids ~ Drug stores are famous for affording the customers a fist-full of bottles and sprays with which to enhance what they have, and/or camouflage what they don’t want to have. After awhile, your merchandising survey here slips gears and turns into amazed curiosity. Wow…so many little secrets I never realized before
Of course, the ultimate beauty secret most customers over 40 dream of is that promised secret-of-perpetual-youth pursued by everyone from 16th C Ponce deLeon to 21st C Revlon. In pursuit of the Great Dream, the esteemed Mayo Clinic has recently discovered how cells “age and lose their ability to divide, thereby becoming senescent cells whose toxins produce our aging processes.” Physiologist James Kirkland tells ScenceNews that using drugs to eleminate the senescent cells in lab mice has “contained the aging process.”
Next visit to your drug store, bring a mouse and see which aisle he heads for first.
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