Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I will not judge this reply by its appalling paragraphing and misuse of "there"

Dear Jack,

Thanks for your email about Power Balance. 

We saw the product at a Trade Expo Show in New York last year and like you where very  sceptical at the beginning.

Do go on...

I have read all the positive and negative feedback on the product that is available.
When we saw the Bands in the USA we sort out people over there who were wearing them as well as  the owners of stores in the US who sold them
and discussed the ins and outs of the product with them.
Finally  we decided to purchase 30 and do our own trials as simple as they maybe so that we could decide ourselves if we thought
the bands did anything for us or not ..
(1) So let's see... to find out if it worked, the only people you asked were those who were already selling it? Did you talk to the store owners who didn't sell it? Who was there presenting the case against it?
(2) And your methodology was...?

Over a 4 month period we had people in a variety of different sports from Golf to Surfing to top level  Rugby players wear the
Bands and give us there feedback.
Very scientific. "Here take this. It'll make you feel more balanced." "Oh cool, I'll try it out, I hope it works." Four months later "I reckon it does kind of make a difference."

Yeah." Give half of the people fake, but identical in appearance, ones, where the person conducting the trial does not know which ones are which, and then if you get a positive result you might be onto something.

Of the 30 people involved of which I was one every person came back very positive and said they would continue to wear
them and believed the product had benefits to them. Most have recommended them to their friends because they believe the product is of benefit
to them.
The Golfers and Surfers just raved about the product and both had major improvement in their chosen sport.

If, as seems to be true here, the golfers were among the most positive about it... that's extremely consistent with the "placebo effect" - seeing as golf is a confidence sport (I imagine surfing would be too). Believing that you have better balance gives you confidence - and with confidence, you play well!

I have instructed our staff to make sure they tell people who are interested in buying the product that there is  as much negative as there is positive feedback out there on them and it is up to each individual person to test the product and decide if they believe that the product is of benefit to them.

Kindest Regards...

That's not good enough, unless you are also telling them that there is no scientific evidence that it works, and that the product description is undoubtedly utter nonsense.

Anyway, I'll send in a reply to the email this evening.

EDIT: My reply:

[the guy's name]

Do you have any evidence that the effect of these bracelets is anything other than the placebo effect?
It is all very well and good to say that people report a difference, but in sport confidence is a massive factor, and the mere belief that a bracelet might improve blood flow (or whatever it claims) could very easily give people the confidence to push themselves a little further. Studies on magnetic therapy conclude, every time, that the effects of it can be explained by the placebo effect. It is easy to test this; all that is needed is identical in appearance, non "magnetic" bracelets. Give (say) ten magnetic bracelets to ten people (selected at random from twenty), and ten non-magnetic bracelets to other ten, and ask each group whether they notice a difference. If there turned out to be a significant difference, then further research could be carried out on larger groups, by researchers. My point is, if the bracelets actually do something, you'd be able to find proper evidence for it - and it would be revolutionary. Sadly, I suspect evidence would have been found by now if there was any.
Short of that, you cannot claim that there is any evidence that these bracelets work. The product description is still nonsense; it still makes a complete mockery of physics and chemistry.
Consumers who buy this product are still not being informed even when you tell them that there is "equal negative and positive feedback." For them to actually be informed, they would have to be told that the only plausible reason that it might work is the same reason why we might offer to "kiss it better" when our children hurt themselves very slightly. (Would it be right to sell "kisses better" on the street to small children for five dollars each?) Short of that, selling this product is preying - consciously or not, (I don't think that you're quite aware of it) - upon the gullible and the credulous. This is still deeply unethical.
Regards, Jack


  1. As a rule, you shouldn't judge someone's intelligence by their standard of English. This case is a strong candidate to become an exception to this rule...

  2. ooo, I have a comment. WHO IS IT