You don’t have to be stupid to buy “stupid” health food. Because all of us are prone to mental shortcuts that sometimes don’t make a whole lot of sense.
Let me introduce you to a good friend of mine, Sarah. Sarah is, for all matters and purposes, not a stupid woman. Given that she studied medicine and works as a psychiatrist, some male members of the human species actually find her intellect a bit frightening.
She and I were grocery shopping recently, and while we were meandering through the supermarket aisles, Sarah picked up a pack of Actimel.
Actimel, if you are blissfully unaware, is this “probiotic” yogurt-type drink sold as “DanActive” in the US, that for more than a decade was advertised with “activates the body’s defenses, documented by more than 30 scientific studies.” Of course they never mentioned that any old yogurt does the same thing at about a quarter of the price and with only half the sugar. It got Danone, the company behind Actimel, one of their adverts banned in the UK and a class action suite in Canada.
Back to Sarah, Actimel and me at the supermarket. “You are buying that?” I asked. “Sure,” she replied, “it has these probiotic cultures that are good for the immune system.” “Like any old yogurt.” “Oh well, but I like it.”
Why Did You Buy Apple?
Anyone halfway interested in nutrition should know about Actimel and the futility of buying it. But I’m not obsessve-compulsive enough to start arguing about lactobacilli in the middle of the supermarket. I value Sarah as a friend and have better things to do than trying to show of my superior nutrition knowledge, especially because Sarah simply took a mental shortcut in decision-making that we all take here and then.
If you ever in the last ten or so years bought any Apple product, you practically did the same she did. When I ask friends why they buy the super-expensive Apple stuff I get answers that range from “Apple products are high quality” to “their products have a lot of value.” Really? Wasn’t it rather that an iPhone or MacBook was the cool thing to have? The vast majority of people I know who bought Apple never looked at tech specs or product reviews.
Respect The Other Guy’s Shortcuts
Before you go now and send off “Apple is great because…” comments, let me say this: it’s perfectly ok that you buy Apple. It makes you happy and obviously their stuff does what you expect it to. It does not matter that a cheaper smartphone by some other company could do the same. You found your solution.
But next time you are about to ridicule someone about their stupid food choices, think for a moment. Products like Actimel actually are made for intelligent people who care about their nutrition. To an uneducated person you won’t even get concept of bacteria being in yogurt across. Apple products are made for a rather similar group. One that can afford their stuff, which means they usually are just as educated and intelligent.
You are trusting a public image, they are trusting a public image, where’s the difference?
Pictures courtesy of “net_efekt“.