Daily Archives: June 20, 2011

Corrective Packaging

The problem became clear to me when I was naked, wet and in someone else’s shower.  Too late, I realized that I had forgotten my shampoo and conditioner upstairs in the guest room.

As problems go, this one wasn’t huge.  There was an assortment of products right there on the back of the tub.  At least eight bottles of stuff.  But I didn’t know what was in any of them because I have presbyopia.  Because I’m old.  Ish.

Presbyopia.  Sounds like a terminal disease or a religious sect, doesn’t it?  It’s neither.  It means my eyes are aging along with the rest of my generation.  Mostly, I see fine with my glasses.  But mornings are impossible:  first, I hobble out of bed, my joints cracking like pinecones in a fire. Once I get into the shower, I can’t tell the difference between shampoo, conditioner and body wash.  I make mistakes.

And it’s not just in-shower products.  And it’s not just in the morning.

I can’t tell my day from my night creams, so presbyopia may actually endanger my life.  The day cream has SPF to keep me from contracting skin cancer, which is vital to me as an Irish-American still awaiting my first tan.  The night cream has something in it to make me look years younger.  I’ve been using it since 1987, and if it worked as advertised I should just now be developing acne.

I don’t want to get them confused.  But I do.

Women with sagging butts still want what hasn’t relocated to look nice, you know.  In fact, it becomes increasingly more important as other body parts fail.  And we want to know that we are using the right stuff in the right order.  We need the “turn-around” cream first and then the regular moisturizer.  In that order!  We can no longer afford to do it the other way around by accident.  And we tend to shampoo first and then condition.

Products designed to be used by wet naked people who aren’t wearing their glasses in the shower should have HUGE printing.  They do not.  It is completely unfair.

No.  It’s worse; it’s discrimination.  Ageism.  Chauvinism.  Some “ism” or other.  This packaging bigotry prevents aging folks from making intelligent choices, minimizes their independence, and undermines their confidence.  Sometimes, it also makes their hair sticky.

It’s “Boomerism.”  Boomerism is “the practice of ensuring through packaging that Baby Boomers, who never were as great a generation as their parents because there were no Nazis for US to fight, will feel inept while grooming.”  Boomerism.  You heard it here first.

I blame the packaging industry for my distress.  I should sue.  Or go into assisted living.

Twenty-somethings – the folks who obviously design these labels – they don’t have presbyopia.  They can’t even spell it.  We aging boomers still have some cash to spend (at least until they take away our Social Security).  We need assistance:


The first company that trades on this need will reap HUGE REWARDS.

Imagine the advertising campaign, filmed in a low grade blur:  An attractive 50-something Diane Keeton-type takes off her glasses, steps into the shower, and squints at the 10 bottles on the back of the tub.  She chooses a bottle.  The camera shot changes to one of just the shower curtain.

“This doesn’t seem right,” she says, after applying something to her hair.  Her hand reaches out for her glasses and they disappear back inside.  We hear:

“Oh No!!”

She can now see that she’s just massaged Nair Hair Remover into her scalp.  The camera moves to a lineup of legibly labeled products on her sink, next to her glasses.

Now, this is my idea, my design.  So any of you advertising folks need to know that I expect a percentage of the excess profits from products that cannot be accused of Boomerism.  And I know just what I’ll do with my share of the proceeds.

I’m getting Lasik eye surgery so that I can read my stupid alarm clock.


Filed under Humor