Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Light and Dark in Daily Deals

Dealfind.com, one of those daily deal Groupon clones that everyone got sick of, often posts questionable deals. Some are only useless or frivilous (oh hi Justin Bieber tooth brush), but others are actively deceptive.

One such deal was for a "Crystal Bala Bracelet With Magnetic Hematite Beads." While careful to avoid specific health claims, they do claim that "in Buddhism, the pañca bala, or Five Strengths are critical to the achievement of enlightenment. Now you can keep them close to you every day with the Bala Bracelet."



How does a mere bracelet help you achieve enlightenment? Well:

"Crystals catch and refract the light every time you move [and] six beads of magnetic hematite polarize the effect of light and dark"

Sciencey yet spiritual! It must work. It's not quite the magnetic bracelets you see at summer festivals that claim to cure cancer, but still, manipulative and deceptive.

Luckily Dealifind has a forum to clear up any misconceptions about the products, so I dug a little deeper. Here's my conversation:

Mike (me)

Can you provide a link to the peer reviewed scientific articles supporting the claim "six beads of magnetic hematite polarize the effect of light and dark"? I'm sure they just got left off by accident. Thanks!

Amy (Dealfind Admin)

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your inquiry.
Our deal page states:

"In Buddhism, the pañca bala, or Five Strengths are critical to the achievement of enlightenment. Now you can keep them close to you every day with the Bala Bracelet. Each of the crystal-encrusted balls represents one of the bala: Faith, Energy, Mindfulness, Concentration and Wisdom. Six beads of smooth magnetic hematite provide the perfectly polarized color choice to offset the crystals."

For more of a scientific background, please contact Widget Love at 1.800.990.6771.

Thank you!


Mike

I have to call them just to have any idea about whether or not the bracelet does what it says it does? :(

Can you at least explain what "polarize the effect of light and dark" and "polarized color" even mean?

I want to know more about what I'm getting into before buying into this sca--...er...product. I'm afraid polarizing my dark could have serious medical effects.

Thx!


The above post was deleted shortly after posting it. Later:

Mike

Oh fiddlesticks, I think my follow-up post failed to go through so I'll post my question again:

Can you at least explain what "polarize the effect of light and dark" and "polarized color" mean?

Thanks!


Mesha (Dealfind Admin)

Hi Mike,

Thank you for your post.

In this sense polarized means that although the colours range from one extreme to another (both dark and light) they compliment each other and the crystals.

For more of a scientific background, please contact Widget Love at 1.800.990.6771.

I hope this helps! :)


Mike

Ah, so it's saying "there are black rocks and white rocks but they are both rocks."

Thanks! That clears up everything! I'll take 50!


That post was deleted too.

Yeah, I'm kind of just being a dick. But trying to sell people bullshit (bullshit capitalizing on the perfectly respectable religion of Buddhism) is also pretty dickish. So screw Dealfind and the dickshit company they promote. It's just a cheap bracelet, but every penny milked from gullible people through lies is a penny too much.


7 comments:

Chris J Powell said...

Too funny. Customer Service is a dead art that is for sure!

Tim Shirk said...

This trend of bullshit scientific claims to sell a product, idea, or political mandate is a real problem in the world. The primary issue is it fools enough people enough of the time that they start to think all science-supported things (both real and this pseudo-crap) are inherently untrustworthy. I don't know if there is some sort of accreditation or brand logo real science-backed claims can adopt but aside from most people in the world levelling up their head-filling I can't think of an easy solution.

Big world solving topics aside, good-on-ya for giving them some shit.

Cal Chayce said...

Others sell penis enlargement, eternal salvation, and poisoned animal fat to children. And people buy all of them. What's so special about Dealfinder? Length of time in the biz?

Phronk said...

Thanks dudes.

I agree that it's a real problem, Tim. Even something seemingly inconsequential like this.

One of my favourite sites on this topic is Whatstheharm.net, showing the measurable harm resulting from bullshit. Bogus claims that misuse scientific terms are feeding larger problems like vaccine denial, which literally kills innocent people for no good reason.

The customer service employees probably don't even think of this stuff, but I hope more people speak up so they become aware of the potential consequences.

Phronk said...

Cal:

Nothing special about them. They just happened to be there, and representative of the larger problem you point out: lots of people get away with selling stuff based on false claims.

Cal Chayce said...

It'd be nice to see all the slimeballs get their comeuppance. It's just legal thievery. It seems to be the general opinion that gullible people deserve all they get. I disagree. I'm glad you gave those people a hard time, even if they were just slimeballs-by-proxy.

Phronk said...

Yeah, the "gullible people deserve it" argument never really made sense to me. It's not like people choose to be gullible, and it's not helping them or anyone else to blame them for being taken advantage of.