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The New Snake Oil

I was walking through the mall near my work, looking for a particular store, and I passed a kiosk with three fit he-men in black t-shirts standing around. (“Fit he-men” contrasts them from what I usually see working at mall kiosks: young females and skinny gay guys.) The kiosk was for something called “Energy Armor.” Interesting name and logo, but I was at that time pretty focused on getting my errand done, so I did no more than notice it.

Coincidentally, the store I was looking for turned out to be right above the Energy Armor kiosk, on the second level. When I walked out of the upstairs store, errand completed, I happen to look down over the railing and saw the three men, (two young, one my age), below with a customer. The customer, a young guy, had his arms outstretched to his sides, and he was hopping on one foot. Odd, that.

I gave the kiosk display a closer look. It had multiple images suggesting athleticism and fitness. The name, Energy Armor, made me think “exercise clothes,” but the packages filling the display didn’t look like any kind of clothing. I couldn’t tell what the product was from my upstairs distance.

I walked back to the escalator, rode it down, and as I approached the kiosk, to walk past, I decided to take a closer look at the product. The packages looked to hold watch bands. As I slowed my pace to take in the display, the older of the fit he-men in black t-shirts stepped toward me.

“Are you interested in Energy Armor,” he said, holding up a plastic wrist band. I noticed that he and the other two fit he-men in black t-shirts all wore one of these bands.

I stopped and turned to him. “What is it?” I asked. There was something just inconguent about the whole scene. Everything about the salesmen and kiosk display suggested health and fitness, but the product looks like a gelly band?

The salesman took my opening and stepped closer to me. “This is filled with a silicon-based gel designed to give you increased energy, balance, and strength.” He held up the gelly band, and pointed at the one he wore on his wrist.

He started to continue with an explanation of the “science” of the material, and I interrupted him.

“You just wear it?” I asked.

“Yes,” he answered with a smile. “You just wear it.”

“Hmm,” I said, “okay. Thanks.” I turned and started walking away.

He said, “Thank you,” and let me go.

A wrist band to increase energy, balance, and strength? Really? Someone is trying to sell that? In 21st century America.

I don’t know if they’re actually selling any of the gimmicks, so I can’t comment on how gullible the general public may be. But the owners of the company obviously have a high estimate on American gullibility. In this day and age of wide-spread information, not just at our fingertips, but actually thrust into our faces whether we look for it or not, I tend to presume that people have been forewarned about silly “snake oil”-type products.

I did a search on Google for Energy Armor and found no company or product information. I guess that makes sense if the company are grifters and the product is snake oil. Just like in the old days: into town, give false promises, sell product, move on before anyone gets angry. I wonder how long that kiosk will stay in the mall. I may have to go back and check in a week, just out of curiosity.

See this follow-up post for how the demonstration goes:
The New Snake Oil Demonstration


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