Last Friday, I made the mistake of going into a drug store to buy some vitamins.
I generally get my multivitamins at the grocery store, where there are just two choices: Mega National Brand multivitamins and Store Brand multivitamins. But I was running a bunch of errands and happened to be near a drug store, and so thought I’d pop in, grab some, and carry on.
Little did I know. The vitamin section does not take up part of one shelf in one aisle any more. It takes up several aisles, each of which stretches off into the distance for many kilometres. The section appeared to have it’s own postal code.
It took me about 20 minutes to find what I wanted (it was on the shelf marked “Boring Standard Stuff We Don’t Want You To Find Because The Other Stuff Is More Expensive.”) I took notes about what I saw, mainly so I’d be able to find my way back to the checkout. I’ll share them with you now:
Beauty Supplements: “Give your skin a healthy glow no matter what your age!” Glowing skin probably doesn’t indicate health. It likely means you’re living too close to that reactor.
Hair Tablets: “Feed your hair! Make your hair stronger, thicker and longer!” Question: What will this do to my arm hair? I really don’t want it getting thicker and longer.
Multivitamin Mix: According to the multivitamin industry your supplement needs change over time. For instance, you are supposed to take one set of pills as a child, and another as a teen. After that, there are separate sets for adult men and women. Finally, there’s a set for people over 50, but strangely, nothing different after that. This is either because A) The vitamin industry is run by 30-somethings that assume it’s all downhill after 50 or B) Marketers haven’t realized the baby boomers are getting to 60 and provide manufacturers with a whole new industry segment. (“Specially formulated for 62-and-a-half-year-olds!”)
Time Release: Many of the bottles claimed to have “time release” formulae. I’m not sure whether this means that each pill comes with a tiny stopwatch and a clipboard, or whether it just sits in your stomach for days like a tiny brick.
Pills, Tablets, Liquids, Soft Gels, Capsules, Chewables: With so many delivery methods, one thing is for sure — they’re still going to be hard to swallow and bad-tasting.
Cabbage Diet: Because the only thing more satisfying and appealing than the cabbage diet is the cabbage diet pill.
Total Foot Recovery Cream: I’m still not certain what this is for. Do people go around misplacing their feet? Further, is there Partial Foot Recovery Cream, for when you’ve only lost a toe?
Bee Pollen: This one stunned me. It means that somebody, somewhere makes a really good living combing pollen off little hairy bee legs.
Men’s Health: “Formulated for men’s health – supplements for ‘a man’s most personal assets.'” I had no idea television remote controls needed vitamins.
Fish Oil: So you too can have seal breath.
Water Balance: Apparently there’s a whole section of supplements designed to help you maintain your body’s water balance. I didn’t look, but I bet the instructions on all of them say: “Take three pills daily with a very tall glass of water.”
Australian Boost: “A special blend of herbs and oils from the Outback.” And you just know the same bottle is sold in Australia, labelled “Canadian Boost — A special blend of herbs and oils from the Northern Tundra.”
Cat Laxative: A) Because we really want to see you try to administer any pill to a cat and B) See also Skin Repair Products.
Top Sellers: So you can choose what to put into your body … based on what everyone else is buying.
Photo credit: RayNata via Wikimedia Commons