The name has been so common for so long we sometimes forget it’s a trademark. No one calls those adhesive strips anything else except competitors who have to.
Whether it’s a store brand from Wal-Mart or Waldbaum’s or Walgreens or CVS or Target, whether it’s a competing brand from 3-M or anyone else, we call them Band-Aids.
Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer, doesn’t make a big fuss about use of the name in common conversation. It’s almost generic, anyway.
But mindful of competition, the company has churned out dozens if not hundreds of variations to keep its market dominance. More different dimensions and shapes than Macy’s has dress sizes and Lowe’s has nuts and bolts.
Decorated. Clear. Semi clear, huge, tiny. The colors of white skin, plus yellow, red, and so on.
By now, though, it’s apparent that J&J and its competitors don’t know how to make a sterile package that is easy to open.
Maybe you remember those little red strings that ran down the sides of the packaging? You’d pull on them and one of two things would happen: Either the string came out or nothing. You had to claw open the paper to get to the band aid inside.
Modern times brought changes. They’ve abandoned the little red string and replaced it with perforations. When you try to use them one of two things happens: you rip the paper or nothing. You still have to claw the thing open.
Some have peel away packaging. That works better. If you can get the peel started. It’s easier to peel a coconut. Not to mention that while you’re doing all this, you’re also bleeding or burned.
You’d think that in 2012 they’d find a way to make the things easy to open in bad circumstances, but otherwise remain sterile.
And it’s not like they don’t know how to make adhesives. Modern Band-Aids hurt less than older models when you try to remove them. That is IF you can remove them.
Like the packaging, it’s all or nothing. The thing either comes off the wound immediately and without your trying or it stays on forever, especially if it’s wound around a finger or toe.
The worst offender is the clear one. It’s waterproof. And it’s you-proof. You can practically take a nail out in trying to remove one from the upper part of your thumb.
3-M is no better. This is a glue company. It’s the company that makes Scotch Tape, Command Strips and Post-it Notes. And for the record, what does “Nexcare” mean -- if anything. And why are thingies you use to hang pictures “Command” strips? What do they command, besides your attention? And why call Scotch tape scotch tape?
Some of life’s great mysteries are about pretty small things.
--The folks who make LaBella musical instrument strings will be celebrating their 100th anniversary in the US next year. But that’s deceptive. The outfit started in Italy in 1640, 372 years ago, which helps place European commerce in perspective.
--RIP Mike Auldridge who left this world last Saturday, 12/29/12. In the tight little world of musicians who play the resophonic guitar, Auldridge was a king who never flaunted his crown or his ability but he made a heavenly sound, a skill that suits him well now that he’s up there. Mike was 73 and died of cancer.
Happy New Year. I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012
Operation: Flush the Janes
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