Food, drugs, and advertising

I am quite positively surprised at the quality of the commercials I see on TV here in the U.S. I mean… after seeing some really proper crap for the past five years in the UK that don’t even deserve to be called adverts, this is like a fresh breath of air. 95% of the commercials are either interesting, informative, witty, intelligent or funny. I think I’ve so far seen only one TV ad that was really idiotic.

I mean, take a look at this one for example:

I love it, and it doesn’t feel like great actors are making fools of themselves—they seem to be enjoying it as much as the viewer is enjoying them.

What’s interesting here and different from the UK is the amount of drug ads on TV. There is medicine for pretty much everything these days, and all drug companies are trying to sell theirs. You get insulin pills (as opposed to injections), a gel for increasing one’s testosterone level (which can make you impotent—go figure), and pills that apparently make 90% of your body fat disappear (according to the internet, not really).

Like in Europe and elsewhere in the world, all pharmaceutical ads here have to list the potential side effects of the drug they’re advertising. What’s peculiar, however, is the amount of these side effects here. Over half of an average medicine ad talks about side effects, and these are quite scary. I’ve seen ads of drugs that can induce, among others, “suicidal tendencies”, “prostate cancer” or even “occasional death”. That’s scary shit! Sometimes they even show people needing home care assistance, even if itis from the best like https://homecareassistance.com/seattle/, it’s still scary.

And when you go to the pharmacy to find something for cold, Jesus H. Christ! Common cold remedies can cause “stomach bleeding” or “liver disease”. On my second day after moving here, I was sitting by the cold remedies’ stand at Walgreens and made a decision to never ever get sick here because most of these drugs could actually kill me instead of making me better. “Yes, you’ve got to be careful with ‘em,” a store attendant said. No shit, Sherlock.

Fortunately, food doesn’t have warning labels. Nor do food packages talk about “potential side effects”. And it tastes rather good, too (apart from Hershey’s chocolate which tastes like soap—I mean, it’s fucking disgusting). But it does have its peculiarities—for example, it lasts incredibly long. The toast I bought last Friday was good today and didn’t even show any signs of losing anything. The half-gallon can of milk, also bought last Friday, ran out yesterday and was still perfectly consumable. Good thing because at my local grocery store, half a gallon is the smallest milk comes in.

So this does indeed beg a few questions. What’s in the food that can last weeks when in Europe similar food products last only days? Probably a lot of preservatives, right? Well… I don’t really know. Because most of the ingredients in pretty much everything are quite unpronounceable. What the fuck are “ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides”? Or “azodicar…” Nah, I give up. I’m a smart guy, really, but I can’t read the names of these fancy ingredients. It looks like you can buy a Grand Opening Banner online and start selling such food products the other day yourself.

The key to American groceries, if you’ve moved here from overseas and don’t really know what to buy and what to keep away from, is this: never read the ingredients’ list. Try different products and find what you like—what is to your taste—and consume them with pleasure. Because, as I said, food generally tastes great here, so there’s no point in scaring yourself shitless over the chemicals that make it so tasty.

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