I’m always reminded of mankind’s progress when I buy toothpaste at the pharmacy. There are at least 20 types of toothpaste on any given shelf and all of them differ in some way. You have the paste or the gel. There’s the mint flavored, the bubblegum flavored. There’s the one that looks white and the one that comes in three colors: red, white and green.
More specifically look at Colgate for example. There’s the “2 in 1” (what the 2 or 1 represent I have no idea), colgate tooth decay, colgate tarter control, colgate total, colgate total with whitening, colgate total with whitening and scope fresh mint blast, colgate sensitive, colgate hyper sensitive.
So here I am, a guy standing in a pharmacy aisle looking at 20 different toothpastes trying to pick one as if this decision will affect the next few months of my life. I’m lost.
I tend to find one product and stick with it to the point of it becoming “the old” compared to “the new”. I now understand why so many fathers are still using Old Spice; it just takes too much time and energy to switch to a better product or another brand.
Why can’t they just make one product that covers all the bases?
The problem I have is that a company has the technology but it will break it down into pieces and sell each one on its own and the customer (or mankind) gets the raw deal. I hate how they “improve” a product but still sell the old one: bleach, ultra-bleach, michael-jackson-bleach. Of course from a marketing point of view this is how it’s supposed to work.
What I suppose is work is the marketing reality: is the product sellable? If it isn’t then they don’t make it. Can you imagine the technology or the products that have been invented in the past few decades which were swept under the rug because they were not marketable or sellable? The free market says supply should meet demand, but in most cases the supply creates the demand. No one knew about flat screen TVs but now everyone has to have them and they’re slowly becoming the norm. Same with DVDs. I think this is why I like technology, it makes the older versions of itself obsolete and therefore it makes things a little easier for the rest of us.
But then there are so many products that we never get to see or use because someone in some board room decides it won’t sell. Money.
One of the things I used to like about the future according to Star Trek was that there’s no money. People work for the purpose of mankind’s advancement. There’s no currency or economics or marketing to hinder progress. Supply and demand is fixed to the betterment of the human race. I suppose if Star Trek came out in the 50’s McCarthy would’ve made Gene Roddenberry out to be a communist. But then again in the future according to Star Trek people are not driven by the need for material things.
And that’s why we don’t have flying cars that run on air or teleportation or those computers where you can tell them what kind of food you want and it replicates it for you in 5 seconds.
Bottom line is I still live in a world where it takes me 15 minutes to pick toothpaste.
Beam me up Scotty…