14 Ingenious {Marketable} Pinktober Products

Everyone wants to chip in for a good cause, right? So when you see those pink products with the breast cancer awareness ribbon displayed prominently, you might think: I should get this XYZ brand, because part of the price goes to cancer research.

Actually, sometimes not so much. Sometimes a little, sometimes less than that. Pinktober has become another way to make money off cancer. I’m a cancer survivor myself, so I pay attention to it. Everyone wants a cure for cancer. Individuals do anyway. Corporations, while they are made up of individuals, tend to view breast cancer as a way to increase profits.

The less-than-impressive amounts corporations give to cancer research, is offset by an increase in sales, because everyone reaches for the pink label whenever they can. If it’s pink, it must be good. Right?

It’s not so good, when you think about it.

This year, there is a campaign called “Set the tatas free” and declared October 13th “no bra” day. Take a look here at how a double-mastectomy cancer-survivor feels about it. This is a really good post, very moving, and I urge you to read it.

On with the list, in the order of least objectionable to most disgusting. It’s not just about tee shirts any more.

Chap Stick Chapstick. What’s not to like about this product? Nothing. Maybe it’s soothing for a cancer patient to use when her lips are cracked from chemo. I don’t often think much about chapstick, but when I googled it I discovered it’s possible to become addicted to it. I thought it interesting that even the most mundane of products wants more of the cancer-action.

Playing CardsBreast Cancer 15-Year Survivor Playing Cards. Do you really have to wait fifteen years? Can I have my playing cards now? This isn’t so bad really, but proof that Pinktober is everywhere, even at your euchre tournament!

Kitchenaid pink mixerKitchenaid Stand Mixer Cook for the Cure Edition. This lovely mixer “makes a statement of compassion while delivering the performance you’ve come to expect.”  Kitchenaid says they will donate a “minimum of $450,000 each year to cancer reasearch, but it doesn’t say how much per item. Still it is a generous offer, and can’t be condemned for anything other than charging $500 for a mixer which is, well, pink. But I suppose you could always cover it up.

SteamerJiffy Esteam Travel Steamer. For each product in the Awareness Pink Line, 10% of the retail price goes to support breast cancer research. This is also generous, but who would ever have thought Pinktober products would extend to clothes steamers? It gets better, read on.

Cordless DrillSKIL iXO Pink Cordless Drill. There’s a whole line of pink tools, knows as Tools for the Cure. Again, 10% of the retail price goes to the Susan B. Komen Foundation. Personally, I have some problems with this foundation. First of all, there was the issue of the pulled funding from Planned Parenthood. That generated some bad press but what is worse, they have a near monopoly on the big business of breast cancer advocacy and as such, decline to let other charities use the phrase “for the cure.” Does this sound like an organization that is genuinely interested in helping women, or merely protecting the mega-cancer business that it has become?

Wilson Golf Clubs Wilson Golf Clubs. I wasn’t able to find out how much Wilson contributes, just that they do, to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This makes me wonder if perhaps Wilson is painting their drivers pink in order to get in on the profit-taking.

Avon Nail PolishAvon nail polish.  Avon slapped a pink ribbon on a bottle of pink nail polish and called it NAILWEAR PRO Nail Enamel in Pink Power. Unfortunately, the reviews weren’t good. Apparently it’s streaky, chalky, and “not pink enough.” Avon is the sponsor of many a breast cancer walk, which serves to use the disease as a platform for brand recognition, while promoting products which contain many of the toxic chemicals associated with the same cancer it seeks to eliminate. More than 140 of Avon’s products are classified as “high hazard” due to the presence of hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, and possible carcinogens.

YoplaitYoplait. These are the little yogurts that have the pink lids that need to be cleaned before you can send them in for a whopping ten cents. Just think of all the yogurt you have to eat to reach even a measly $10 donation. Hardly seems worth it. Not to mention that this brand of yogurt contains added sugar (both real and fake, as in aspertame) and petroleum-based food dyes. Yoplait also contains rbGH (or recombinant bovine growth hormone), a synthetic hormone which no one seems too sure about, as to its impact on human health, including cancer.  One final note: The blueberry flavor does not list blueberries as an ingredient. Not so sure this is a healthy choice for anyone.

Campbells soupCampbell’s chicken noodle and tomato soup. Here we’re getting to the bad stuff. Is there anything in these soup products that in any way resembles real food? Maybe not but here’s what it does contain. High levels of bisphenol-A, which is an estrogen chemical linked to breast cancer. Estrogen feeds certain cancers, so breast cancer patients would be well-advised to avoid these products, as well as healthy women and children. That leaves men. Umm, umm, good, guys, eat up.

Quilted NorthernQuilted Northern bath tissue. There’s more than one way to support cancer research! This particular brand is known to be “soft and sturdy”. That is fine, but these kinds of products are clogging up our sewers and are difficult to process at the facility. Not harmful to the person, just harmful to the environment. No thumbs up on this product but it isn’t nearly as objectionable as the ones coming up.

SwifferSwiffer dusters. More junk thrown into the landfills. There’s a good alternative to using disposable dusters, and they are eCloths, which are washable and reusable and work great. I would urge others not to buy the polluting swiffers just because the manufacturer sticks a pink ribbon on the box. They, along with disposable wipes for every purpose, are deadly.

Buckets for the CureKentucky Fried Chicken. Okay, here we go. While I applaud KFC’s attempts to offer a healthier version of chicken by cooking up the breadingless kind, I don’t think it is too popular a seller. So the majority of people are purchasing these pink buckets of the original greasy trans-fat-laden chicken parts. We know these chickens were not “happy chickens” either. That is, they didn’t strut around the barnyard until some Farmer Joe decided to whack them. They lived the most miserable lives. I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy to be reincarnated as a KFC chicken. No really. I wouldn’t.

Mikes Hard Pink LemonadeMike’s Hard Pink Lemonade. Alcohol to promote breast cancer awareness. I can’t seem to get past the irony of this. We’ve been told that the only healthy alcohol is red wine. Whether that is true or not, the ingredients list of this particular adult beverage consists of carbs, sugar and fat. Not exactly the best sort of product to promote good health, would you say?

HandgunSmith & Wesson Awareness Pistol. And we come to this,the ultimate insult. We don’t have enough problems with violence against women in this country. Let’s use a cute little revolver to paint pink and PRETEND WE CARE ABOUT WOMEN’S HEALTH AND NOT PROFITS. Nobody will be the wiser, right?

Then We Came To The End

Then We Came To The EndWhat a great title. This novel was included in the reading list at the end of Stephan King’s On Writing. I decided to go through the list, one by one, throwing out those dealing too heavily with the supernatural, horror, etc. and try each one. It has not been a disappointing experience.

To the contrary, I have discovered many authors that I really admire who were previously unknown to me, and so now I’m going to drone on about this latest little wonder, Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris. By the looks of this author, he is on the lower side of middle age, and extremely hot. He’s got the kind of literary-genius look that is so appealing.Joshua FerrisMr. Ferris has come up with a unique concept. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this. The last two sentences are eerily excellent. To quote them here would render them out-of-context, but I couldn’t help but read them over and over, and get kind of goose-bumpy all over again.

First of all, it’s written in first person plural, which I wasn’t sure I would like. All about we. We did, we thought, we never believed it possible, so you never know whose POV it is. I guess you could say it is “omniscient POV”. I found I liked it, and hoped that at the end, I might have a clue as to which of the characters had told the story. I will not divulge the results.

It’s about work. The office. An advertising firm, going through the downturn (after 9/11). It captures office life at its most ridiculous and cynical. This is a something that interests me personally, because I have long been kind of a tongue-in-cheek eye-roller when it comes to office politics, office lingo and office behavior in general. It’s in my novel, Perigee Moon, (in case you’d like to take a peek) just how unreal it can be, and how sometimes we need to run away — screaming — from all of it.

This book has a scene in it about people scavenging office chairs after someone has “walked Spanish” which is a euphemism for being canned, that is hysterical. It’s about people switching chairs then being afraid of being found out by the “office coordinator” who keeps track of serial numbers and which office stuff belongs to which person, and who wields more power than is perhaps appropriate.

We all know how that goes.

This book may not be for everyone, but if you’ve ever been in an office atmosphere where doing honest work becomes obsolete, and instead red tape and seniority and office politics reign supreme, then you will likely appreciate this. It’s packed with humor and irony.

Highly recommended.

Others on Stephen King’s list follow. I apologize for not including links but that’s just the way I am sometimes. Lazy and doing a half-assed job.

These are all great writers. Most of the novels are suspense, and while I loved all of the writing, I found some of the stories to be a trifle unbelievable. But then — It’s Fiction!!

  • End of Story by Peter Abrahams
  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
  • One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
  • The Last Good Day by Peter Blauner
  • Peace Like a River by Leif Euger
  • A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley

You might notice, the list is organized alphabetically by author last name. The next two were Jonathan Franzen novels. I’ve already read them! So I am up to “G” with lots of goodies in store,Jane Eyre

In between, I read Jane Eyre. I had never read it before. It was quite remarkable, and Ms. Bronte had one hell of a vocabulary. I found some very interesting sections, ofttimes of soliloquy, and some very impassioned dialogue and inner thoughts. I thought I might choose a few passages that I found particularly delightful and perhaps offer an explanation or definition of sorts in today’s urban speak. This will occur in an upcoming post.

Won’t that be jolly? I hope you’ll stay tuned for it.