Less is more.
That sounds like a chant from a meditation or a chapter from a self-help book. But it’s also a description of many of the things you buy and use.
The first example goes back to the early days of unleaded gas.
How do they make unleaded gas? By not adding in tetra-ethyl-lead. When refiners started producing unleaded gasoline, they charged you more for it than they did for the gasoline WITH lead.
There still are running cars that need leaded fuel and to use one, you have to put the lead in by yourself.
But that’s okay… you buy an additive and it costs you something. You know that from the first.
Fast forward to 2014. The big health fad now is gluten free. They don’t add gluten. Same story as the gasoline. Generally, it costs you more per ounce than what you’re used to buying.
Why? Well… um… People with Celiac Disease can’t tolerate gluten. Most of the rest of us can. It’s the latest thing. Have you ever tasted gluten- free spaghetti?
No you haven’t. Even if you’ve eaten it, you haven’t tasted it. There simply is no taste. It’s like eating air but with calories.
How about fat free? They take a major ingredient out of something… say, butter or milk or yogurt. Do you get a discount because something’s missing? Of course not. What you get is a container with less in it, but for the same old price. That’s called a price increase.
You can say the same about sugar free. They don’t add sugar, but you pay the same price or more than when they did.
What about hair coloring that doesn’t contain ammonia?
What about lactose free milk?
What about unsalted chips and pretzels and such? It’s not like there’s a big workforce sitting around the Lay’s factor scraping the salt off each little potato chip.
Or even bread in which they no longer have to over- refine the flour?
Or dozens of so-called all natural everythings.
“Hey, we don’t put in any of those nasty artificial colors or preservatives. Aren’t WE the health conscious ones?”
Yes. Only now you save a bundle on those tons of yellow dye #5 and calcium propionate you used to ship into the food factory every month but do we get a break?
I’m thinking of reducing the size of these rants by 25%. You might like it better. But it won’t be any cheaper.
-At this point it looks like Charlie Rangel has won his primary election but the results don’t include absentee votes which stand a small chance of altering the result.
-Coming your way soon: inflatable seatbelts, another technomonster that sounds like a million car recall in waiting.
-For those of you who thought Eli Wallach was dead, you’re right… but just barely.
-The Union Square Cafe on 16th between Fifth and Broadway that helped revitalize the once crummy neighborhood… now finds itself a victim of its own success and will close because of a giant escalation of its rent.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
© WJR 2014