Half full vs half emptyI recently bought a bottle of vitamin C and guess what? It was less than half full.
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
I recently bought a bottle of vitamin C and guess what? It was less than half full.
Of course, that’s typical of bottling in America today. Most containers or bottles, except for beer, liquor, juice and soda, are half full with cotton stuffed inside.
Now, as you know, filling those bottles half full is a marketing ploy. Sure, the label tells you the exact number of vitamin C tablets inside. But you don’t really know how big each tablet is or how much space they take up. So when you open the bottle and it’s half full, it’s just a little bit surprising, since you thought you were getting a full bottle.
OK, so why doesn’t the manufacturer just use a smaller bottle? Because then you’d be outraged at the price you pay for something so small and you’d decide not to buy it. It’s a little like when you found out your girlfriend was wearing a padded bra. Sure, you still married her because there are greater offenses than wearing a padded bra. But you could never really fully trust her again, right?
Nevertheless, let’s give the manufacturer the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the vitamin C tablets are claustrophobic and need their space. In that case, I fully understand. Other than that, I can’t think of a single logical reason why the bottle would have to be half empty.
Or maybe the tablets bounce around during shipping and can be damaged if the bottle is filled too full? That would make some sense if there had been cotton stuffed inside as padding. But in this particular case, there wasn’t. They were free to bang around like the silver balls in a pinball machine and not one of them was damaged even though they’d traveled all the way from arid Arizona to sunny North Dakota.
So I powered up my computer, intending to discover the name of the president of the company who manufactured the tablets so that I could have a meaningful discussion with him. In this case, the president was the chairman of the board/chief executive officer who is a 66-year-old Harvard graduate.
I guess he was busy. So I emailed their marketing department to ask why their bottles are half full and I haven’t heard back yet. That was five days ago. Now I’m beginning to think this might be a sensitive topic.
After all, getting half of what you think you paid for is rarely a welcomed thing. Although few people must call the company to complain or they’d probably change their tactics.
Because, to me, buying a half-full bottle of anything is a little like buying a car without a back seat, shoes without heels, a bed with no mattress, sunglasses with no lenses, a TV minus the remote control and a two-section couch with one cushion; so that you and your wife can flip a coin to see who gets the cushion tonight.
Or maybe they should just put one vitamin C tablet in each bottle and then you can start a really nice bottle collection or get really good at recycling. Why not?
Which reminds me of something Fred Allen, the American humorist, said, “I’d rather have a full bottle in front of me than a full frontal lobotomy.”
I couldn’t agree more.
But what do you do? Call your congressman? Alert the Food and Drug Administration? Not a bad idea. Better yet, just don’t buy their product. Send it back to them, ask for a refund and tell them, “Hey, if you want me to buy it, fill it up because you can’t pull wool over these sheep’s eyes.”
Meanwhile, did you happen to know that moderate drinking can boost your IQ level? The typical pencil can draw a line 35 miles long? Smokers are twice as likely to develop lower back pain as non-smokers and that 550 car accidents a day are caused by falling asleep at the wheel?
You see, sometimes when I get frustrated I just need to distract myself with other tidbits of information. Which reminds me of a friend who recently filled out an online dating profile and the perfect match that came back was his ex-wife. Now that’s frustrating.
Holten is a freelance columnist and cartoonist from Dickinson.