Friday, 23 November 2007
Lovely Warm Feet - Despite the Free Market Economy
Do you have an elderly relative who, on day trips to Blackpool or Scarborough, returns with gifts of the type of gadget only sold out of suitcases by men proclaiming their gadgets' unique worth in loud voices with one eye open for the local law. We do, and it's surprising how these tacky plastic artefacts actually turn into indispensable household items. Take, for example, our yellow and black plastic mini-Ewbank, a hand-held version of the larger push along floor cleaner with rotary brushes. Brilliant! we had one for years and it was perfect for whizzing over a few crumbs, until we got the dog, at any rate.
In the same vein, Mrs C discovered another stunningly good idea lurking in the back of one of the cheaper high street stores recently: radiator slippers. A magnet in the sole of each, means that rather than clutter the floor you can attach them to a radiator to warm. So when you have trudged through icy streets and can no longer feel your toes there they are, toasty warm, waiting for you - lovely.
But here's my question. How come these items are the sort of thing you only discover by accident gathering dust in Primark or Peacocks; yet when you tell other people about them they all want one? The answer, I think is my old hobby horse: marketing. The likes of Dragon's Den forces some poor would-be entrepreneur to bear their soul to scorn and ridicule, banking all on the whim of some wealthy patron who like a Roman emperor points their thumb heavenward or hell bound.
This is the reality: the difference between the Remington Fuzz-Away and Radiator Slippers is (aside from the obvioius that the slippers are actually useful) that the Fuzz-Away was backed by a multi-million dollar company who paid for sufficient Christmas advertising to dupe relatives, desperate for the ultimate gift, into buying this bizarre product.
So this year turn your back on telly hype and buy all your relatives wheelie brushes and radiator slippers - support the small entrepreneur.
Thanks to Nikki for the slipper picture.