Iniard Watch

Friday, January 20, 2006

Designed for Laziness…. Clorox Toilet Wand

The makers of the Clorox Toilet Wand understand one thing pretty good… nobody likes cleaning the toilet. They also know something else pretty good…. People will pay money to think they are getting out of some nasty work, like cleaning a toilet. I believe that this concept was their inspiration behind the toilet wand.

Magic Toilet Wand.. $10

They make it look very easy on the commercial. Everything gets so clean, so easy. The brush head is disposable so there is no nastiness. Just pure clean fun!! They even named it a “wand” because most people associate that word with magic. And hey, if you can clean your toilet without it being a nasty job, then it must be magic. And who wouldn’t pay $10 for a magic wand that cleaned toilets. Well, if it was a magic toilet cleaning wand, and you circle it over your toilet while mumbling some chant in Latin to get your stains to disappear, it may be worth the $10 you pay for the starter kit. Unfortunately, it is not magic, and cleaning a toilet is still a nasty job. There are a few “shitty” things you learn in life that can not be changed, sort of like laws of nature:

1. Bears actually do shit in the woods.
2. You can’t polish a terd.
3. Cleaning toilets is a nasty job.

Now, the truth… The disposable foam brush comes preloaded with some Clorox cleaner and also some blue dye, because the nice cool blue color makes you feel like you are getting some instant results. (I think it would be a separate blog to discuss why a bleaching product to get stains off of a white surface would need to have blue dye added to it.) At any rate, the foam brush may be good for those “in between” cleanings, but for a more robust cleaning effort, on a bimonthly or monthly basis, you are going to need some hard bristles. The foam sponge don’t cut it.

In addition to making it look easy to do the hard cleaning, they also dwell on the fact that you do not have to keep the nasty toilet brush around, since the foam sponge brush heads are disposable. What they fail to mention is that you still have the magic wand, that was submerged in the same nasty toilet water as the disposable foam sponge. You still have a toilet-water-contaminated-thing you have to store. For this they include in the starter kit a wand hanger that lets you hang the nasty thing right on the side of your toilet. As if I would!!! Hang it there on the side of the toilet dripping toilet water on the floor and next thing you know your kids are using to swirl the toilet water around because they see you “playing” in the water with it, but I digress…

Besides the fact that this doesn’t really work that good, it is expensive as hell!! The amount of cleaner that is preloaded into the sponges are about the right amount for 1 toilet bowl. I live in a 3 toilet house, so to do our cleaning with these would require 3 of them, at about 50 cents a pop. $1.50 to clean 3 toilets, and I still have a toilet water contaminated wand and had to put more effort to clean them with a sponge instead of a brush. This adds up to over $80 a year for disposable toilet sponges.

Replacement sponges.. $0.50 each

Mr. Rhythm’s good advice is that for about half the price, you could get a 78 cent “non disposable” toilet brush at walmart, use it once to clean your 3 toilets, and then throw it away! You could have a stash of clean new brushes in your closet, and just plan on pitching them after each use. You could also feel good knowing that you are supporting an entire family in China with your extravagant use of Walmart Toilet brushes.

What we do in our house, is leave the brush hanging over the bowl between the seat and the rim overnight. The next morning, the brush is at least dry, so you can put it in an old plastic grocery bag, stick in the closet and forget about it. We’ve been doing it like that for the past 10 years, so the way I figure, we have saved about $1000 so far by not resorting to magic and hype for help cleaning our toilets!!

O.K, I think I should stop ranting before I set some kind of record for the longest blog about cleaning toilets….

Thursday, January 19, 2006

up UP and AWAY!!!

Like the daring baby bird, who has grown tired of eating prechewed worms from mama blogspot, I am getting ready to spread my wings and leave the only nest I have known since I pecked through my online shell. If my wings are strong enough, I will make it safely to my new nest. If they are not, I may crash to the ground and be eaten by the neighbors dog. Assuming the former, it may still take me a few days to learn how to chew worms on my own, digest my new independant thoughts, and begin to excrete new blog material. (Yeah, I finally got that darn blog spot out!!)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Do Not Call Registry

You would guess that someone like me, President and CEO of Iniard Watch, would have jumped on the opportunity to be on the National Do Not Call Registry when it first came to be. Since I also tend to be a procrastinator, I finally signed up just this morning. It was surprisingly easy and took two and a half minutes, after I followed this Link. I have heard some people express concern about having to submit thier SS number, but I did not have to. Maybe they changed the rules, or maybe my registration won't work??

Part of my delay was that a part of me actually liked humiliating the phone solicitors. One of my favorite routines is to act like I have speech and hearing problems while repeating “HELLO”, or giving the phone to my 3 year old daughter. There are several other good ones in a book, Fun With Phone Solicitors by Robert Harris. You can get a few of the routines by searching inside the book here:

Not the Prettiest Burger on the Block...

If you are like me, your expectations of a fast food meal are about as low as they can get. As a matter of fact, I could probably rummage blindfolded through the dented can cart at Aldi’s and come up with a more appetizing meal than some of the menu items at the local McDonalds, Rally's, or the like. However, there are times when you are on the go, in a pinch and find yourself at the drive through window.

When you order, you think about the hamburger you see in the ads, all neat and orderly,like this:

It kind of even looks apetizing, perhaps just reminding you of an earlier time in your life when you were addicted to them without being concerned about all the fat you were eating. Then, to bring you back down from your saturated fat euphoria, you open up the bag to find something looks like it was slopped together in about 2 seconds with no care or consideration, and is visually more in line with the nutritional beauty of the sandwhich like this:

Well, to get to the point, I stumbled across an interesting explanation of the great lengths they go to when getting a hamburger ready for the photo shoot to be used in commercials,magazine ads, etc. It is a 10 step procedure that has pictures along the way. You can enjoy it HERE. Kind of makes me wonder what taco bell goes through to make their crap look edible!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Schick Quattro Power Infomercial

Shick has a new web ad campaign devoted to their Quattro power razor that is pretty funny. It is an infomercial style website that has videos of a late night infomercial campaign. It is very nicely done, with lots of videos and content. Obviously done with a bit of a budget, as they paid the money to get Kato Kaelin for their lead man! In the spoof they are over-exaggerating the powers of shaving with their razor, making claims that it will get you promotions, friends, and even help you score with the chicks. (Kato is in bed with 3 women after shaving). There are also some good and cheesy promotional lines they use in late night ads, like “I can’t stop talking about.. see, I’m doing it right now!”

Although it is very entertaining, I think that the points they are exaggerating in the spoof are the same points they are trying to subtly make for real in their tv and magazine spots. Use our razors and you will be a better than people that don’t use our razors. At any rate, I found it very amusing and thought it was a good way for them to spend some of the profits they are making from all the fools spending $20000 for a close shave.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Campbell’s Soup… Mmm.. Mmmm.. Greed?

When you keep an eye on Iniards like I do, then you probably already know that just about anytime there is new and improved product packaging, the net price you pay for something goes up.

Today it was “Shock and Awe” in the soup aisle, as I was overwhelmed with the new Campbells soup display system. They have the refrigerator shelf pop can dispenser type things that allow them to have big pictures on the fronts as mini billboards while the soup is stored behind them. Since Campbell’s has about 15 feet of shelf space, this new system allows them to put the pricey stuff in the new containers right at eye level, with big eye catching pictures, and then the economical soups in regular old cans are quietly hidden down on the bottom where you have to really get on your knees to find them. Down there you will find the economical family size vegetable soup which has 6 servings and costs $2.19, or $0.37 per serving.

$0.37 per serving

What they are really pushing is the “Heat & Enjoy” soups, which come in microwavable bowls and are pre-diluted so you don’t have to waste time with pouring soup in a bowl and adding water, since that is too much like cooking dinner. They really like to mention how the Heat and Enjoy soups are microwavable (as if the regular soups were not). It is essentially the same soup, only in a different package. For this convenient package, which holds two servings, you pay $1.00 per serving. (3 times the amount of the original). Don’t worry about the costs.. .just Heat & Enjoy it!!!

$1.00 per serving

For the people that are willing to spend even more money, they have the “Soup at Hand” collection, which is essentially the same soup again, pre-diluted, only this time in a cup shape microwavable container, like a sippy cup for soups. This soup is for people that are too busy to realize how much they are paying for soup…er.. I mean for the people that are too busy to get a spoon out when they want to enjoy a hot bowl (or sippy cup) of soup. For this added feature in the soup packaging, you are paying $1.79 per serving (about 5 times the price of the original!!) Maybe they think that if you can hold it like a starbucks cup, you can pay starbucks prices for soup.

$1.79 per serving

What I also found interesting, is that the low sodium version of the regular condensed veggie soup was also $1.79 per serving. Same soup without as much salt costs 5 times more? Seems they must have done some research to figure out that is the most people will pay for soup.

Designed for Gifting… Black n Decker Power Scissors $30

Since Christmas is over, I have decided to convert my “Designed for Christmas” series into “Designed for Gifting”, since the retailers and manufacturers of these items like your gift budget money anytime of the year, whether it be for Christmas, Valentines Day, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, or any gift giving occasion.

The Black n Decker Power Scissors seem to be a good gift idea, because let’s face it… not too many people already have one, and everyone needs scissors. Plus, the price is just right for gift budgets… $30.

I look at this item and see a very limited use tool. I am sure it will make cutting some things easier, but is it worth it to have a $30 pair of scissors for cutting just some things? In the commercial they show some flooring contractor cutting carpet padding with it. Isn’t it just easier to use the razor cutter you already have out for cutting the carpet? Plus, if you are doing a big project, and cutting through heavy material, like flooring material, I am sure the battery life will drain pretty quickly, just like my black and decker cordless drill.

The ads also like to show the people cutting fabric. Despite my cutting edge blog, I am not a ginsu cutting expert, although we all have dreams about being the ginsu chef in the commercial cutting through pop cans and tomatoes like there is no tomorrow. Anyway, my experience with fabric is long blades result in smoother cuts. I think you would have to be careful with such a short blade to not end up with a jagged cut line. Not to mention, my wife has a simple rotary cutter and cutting mat that makes quick work of cutting through fabric, and it doesn’t even require batteries.

The other thing about this item that I do not like, is that around my house, the two things you can never find are the scissors and battery chargers. I would be afraid that if this item were in my house, one of the two components would always be MIA, probably snatched up by the elves that come in at night and hide the remote controls, kids socks, Tupperware lids, and my spare Honda keys.

Once again, black and decker comes up with a novel idea that looks good on paper, and probably looks good on their sales reports, but fails to live up to the vision created in their ads. And because most are purchased as gifts, they do not get many complaints since the people using it (if they do even use it) got it for free anyway. My advice is just to get a decent set of manual scissors that you can use for anything.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Dairy Diet Update....

Last year I expressed skepticism about the Dairy Diet being promoted by the Dairy Industry. Nine months later, there are more studies being done showing that it is a bunch of crap and information is getting easier to find about how the promotion is funded.

As it turns out, it is funded largely by tax dollars collected from milk producers. Out of the 273 million in taxes collected for promotion of milk, about 100 million was channeled to the Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Program who has spearheaded the promotion of the dairy diet. Now, as a result of their campaign, half of the women in this country have heard that drinking milk helps you lose weight, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

What is interesting is that government also funds the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee who has reported that there is not sufficient evidence to support the claims of the dairy diet being effective for weight management. Since this committee only has a budget of 1 million dollars, and can’t afford to spread the word, I am helping to do it here. Here are some more reports and studies about the dairy diet:

Washington Post: “Children who drink more than three servings of milk each day are prone to becoming overweight, according to a large new study that undermines a heavily advertised dairy industry claim that milk helps people lose weight.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: “Despite dairy industry claims, scientific studies actually show that adding dairy products to the diet does nothing for weight control. If anything, milk contributes to weight gain. Three very recent studies, one at the University of Vermont, another at Purdue University, and the third just published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, reconfirm these findings

National Public Radio: The dairy industry’s latest advertising campaign offers up an appealing formula for weight loss. The message is eat more in order to slim down…. Some scientists say that the industry does not have enough evidence to support the claim in its ads.”

Friday, January 06, 2006

Wendy's Loosening up on the Greed?

My new blogger friend Killired informed me that it was reported in her area that Wendy’s is bringing back the 99 cent value menu. Perhaps Wendy’s CEO Jack Schuessler read my previous blogs and now is buckling under the pressure of Iniard Watch!! More likely, it may be because their sales are on the decline. I think there are a lot of people like me that don’t go to Wendy’s as much since they started getting greedy with the value menu shoppers

This is happening is in Columbus, which is where Wendy’s is based. Hopefully they are starting there and spreading outward, and not just throwing a bone to the people in the same community as their corporate headquarters that may be protesting outside their doors and heckling the employees about the price of a cheap lunch. I should know soon though since the Wendy’s I frequent for lunch is about 45 minutes outside of Columbus.

Notes for Jack:
1. Accepting Credit/Debit Cards – Good Idea.
2. Raising prices on value menu items – Bad Idea
3. Using leftover hamburgers in Chili – Bad Idea (especially when you can make out a corner of the patty.)
4. Using forks and spoons instead of sporks – Good Idea
5. Getting rid of Fat Free Low Cal Italian Dressing and replacing it with fat free French dressing – Bad Idea
6. Price gouging health conscious consumers with overpriced entrée salads – Bad Idea