My Thoughts for April 5, 2015  

One thing I’ve noted about my aging as I move toward oblivion is the spring pollens.  Now I know that pollens are necessary for the plants to be able to reproduce, but instead of being carried around by winds, couldn’t we use more insects?  Bees are the most notable transporters of pollens.  Those busy little worker bees, I just love them! They work hard to collect the makings for delicious honey; while at the same time manage to get pollen stuck all over their strong, tiny hairy little legs.  When they visit their next flower, they can’t help but to deposit some of the pollen on the pistle of the flower, thereby starting the process of pollination. These mass microspores travel down the pistol and, yep, a seed is fertilized.  Nature is so amazing. But wait! Many of these seeds get pollenated by the wind carrying the microspores, and that, folks, is what bothers me in the spring.  My allergies get worse with each passing year. 

When I get a really bad attack, I get grouchy and begin to think of ways to eliminate flying pollen.  One thought I had is to send out an army of people to catch the pollen before it begins to become airborne.  Like the bees, we have the manpower. Just think how it would reduce the unemployment lines.  Of course, we would be competing with the bee population and might succeed in increasing the population of unemployed bees.

But, I had an even better idea.  Why not buy some Claritin Allergy pills?  Not long ago, I was wandering the aisles of Target, looking for Claritin; finally had to ask a team member. I was fortified by all the television ads I had watched telling me how great it fights allergies. One pill a day would give me all-day relief.  Its drug fact panel also told me what could happen adversely if I take it.  It could possibly destroy my kidneys, or worse yet, destroy my liver. 

Standing at the Claritin counter, I looked at the price and almost fainted.  I couldn’t believe it.  “Hey,” I thought, “I’m on a fixed income.”  Thankfully, right next to the name brand was a generic brand.  I read its box, which made the exact same claims as Claritin: “ loratadine tablets, 10 mg/antihistamine 10 days of relief.”   The drug fact panel on the back was identical to Claritin. Claritin was just shy of nine dollars—the generic was $4.39.  Gosh a no-brainer, so I bought the generic brand.

Then as I finished my shopping and was on my way to the check-out counter, I thought about the difference in price between a name brand and a generic.  What was the reason for the name brand being twice as expensive as the generic?  Why? Why? Why? It bugged me.

Well, after checkout and on the way to my car, it finally hit me; the cost of television advertising.  Those elaborate commercials touting the magic of Claritin caused the price spike for us consumers. Advertising isn’t cheap.  Companies pay millions of dollars on advertising their product to you.  In fact, TV ads now take up almost twenty minutes of each hour you view a program.  Even the internet is getting into the advertising game.  Try watching YouTube without getting hit-up with an ad.  Here’s the reality; you and I, the viewers, are paying dearly for those ads.  It’s built into the price model of the product and accounts for that name-brand’s high cost over generics.  And, if you don’t buy the product, you are still paying the price of having to sit and watch the darn commercials. A lot of them are more like brainwashing.  Me, I hit the mute button or switch to PBS.

One final factoid: the generic allergy relief tablets I elected to buy worked just great, and my kidneys and liver still seem to functioning.  But, I still have my doctor’s phone number in my iphone, just in case I have an allergic reaction to the allergy relief tablets.  It says to do that on the drug facts panel on the back of the box. A curmudgeon can never be too careful. 

Oh, by the way, Happy Easter!

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