Americans convinced they’re lazier than ever

· Oct 9, 2001 Tweet

Less than 100 years ago, there were no washing machines. Laundry was a tedious, sweaty process involving boiling water, a washboard and hundreds of pounds of sopping-wet clothing.

Today, we have laundry-detergent tablets.

Laundry tablets? Let’s think about this. There now exist, at grocery stores and Walgreens around the country, these laundry-detergent tablets. Now, instead of having to go through the time-consuming and dangerous process of measuring out your own laundry powder or liquid, you can simply throw in a conveniently pre-measured tablet and have done with it.

But you know, maybe what Americans need are some short cuts. After all, our forefathers had a rough time of it, and I’m sure they would want us to reap the benefits of their toils.

Really, now that I mention it, who has time for laundry at all nowadays? Nobody, according to the company that makes Pampers diapers. Pampers has introduced a new disposable bib for babies. I know that when I have children, I’ll gladly use at least three disposable bibs a day, seven days a week, so that I don’t have to throw conventional, or “difficult,” bibs into the washing machine. Who has time for that?

Another kitchen product making life easier is those new Saran Wrap bowl covers. Instead of risking a jagged plastic-wrap cut or wasted time in the cutting process, kitchen warriors can now, for more than twice the price, slip a hair-net-looking plastic-wrap device onto their bowls. This time-saving new invention saves the trouble of measuring and cutting one’s own plastic wrap. Why didn’t I think of that?

I’ve also seen those nifty lollipop spinners while waiting in line at various stores. Instead of having to turn my lollipop in my mouth, I can simply place a lollipop in the spinner, place the now-motorized lollipop in my mouth, push a button, and be treated to wonderful lollipop flavor without the intensive labor that lollipops involve.

What are Americans coming to, that we can’t even spin our own lollipops?

The convenience factor is beginning to get out of hand in America. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that people are getting downright lazy — or is it that we’re being convinced we’re lazy?

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m as much a fan of the remote control as the next guy. But that’s different. The remote control comes free with the television; consumers rarely pay considerably more for a television that comes with a remote.

I’m talking about “convenience” products for which consumers pay considerably more than they would for the “traditional” counterpart and in which there is little improvement in product performance, as with laundry-detergent tablets, disposable bibs and plastic-wrap covers.

I’m talking the disposable TupperWares of the world, which ask you to pay over and over for a product you could buy only once — for the sake of not having to wash it.

I’m talking the dinners that require you to grab only one package at the grocery store that includes pre-cooked noodles and sauce. Honestly, who doesn’t have time to cook noodles? Who would pay at least three times as much too save the trouble of boiling water?

Apparently, many Americans would. These products are coming out like never before, which would imply that they are flying off the shelves.

And I thought condensed soup was easy enough.

Maybe what we all need, rather than ready-to-eat soup, is to slow down and ask ourselves if we really need those prepackaged noodles or those Saran Wrap covers. Do we really not have time to measure out that laundry detergent? Or are we allowing mega-corporation marketers to tell us that we don’t have the time?

Next time you’re at the store, don’t buy into the lie of major corporations. Ask yourself if you can’t make do with the product that requires three extra minutes. The conscious decision to spend the time doing something mundane and ordinary will probably actually settle your life down, not make it more hectic — and might leave a few extra bucks in your pocket, instead of in some corporations’ already-too-fat wallets.

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This article was published Oct 9, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Oct 9, 2001 at 12:00 am

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