Mar 5, 2014

What's the difference?!

The modern (wealthy) world is a world of surplus and too much choice. We have to fend off salespeople trying to get us to switch energy billing provider, and spend time resentfully comparing phone deals, insurance packages, mortgages, credit cards, etc.

Then we hit the supermarket and are confronted with whole sections of aisles devoted to different brands and permutations of very specific things.  I'm pretty sure this has got worse as I'v got older. I remember when we moved to the US in 1979 and being amazed by the variety of types of thing in the supermarket. What amazed us there then has long been the norm here now, too.

But I'm pretty sure I remember, when I was young, that supermarkets could fit all the tins and bottles that related to 'tomato' (tomato paste, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, bottled sauce) in one aisle. Now they're spread out among at least two. (Oh, the difficult lives we lead!)

Then there's this stuff:


WHY are there a million types of Panadol? I'm not talking varieties of painkillers or brands, but different types of the SAME brand of the SAME kind of painkiller.

I understand choice of delivery system: some people prefer soluble tablets, some prefer traditional tablets, and some (like me) prefer "caplets". (Capsules are no longer sold as they can be tampered with).  But still, aren't a couple of choices enough? As long as one of those includes caplets?

As for type of pain targeted and speed of relief: headache vs osteo, normal vs "rapid relief": do they really work differently?  It doesn't seem plausible to me, and if you turn the packets over and read the back, they seem pretty much the same.  But apparently I am wrong: there are apparently (small) differences which you can read about here.


When I was a kid, I'm pretty sure there was just one kind of Band-Aid. That one kind was one size, and came in little paper envelopes threaded with red string that was supposed to tear the envelope open when you pulled it down, but usually did not. They stuck to your skin like glue, left a grey residue outline, and were ripped off by your mum when a corner came unstuck and they started to tug at your knee hairs but you were still too chicken to tear them off yourself.

But I'm on board with child-friendly band-aids. I've bought my share of Dora, Wiggles and Barbie band-aids, marveled at how easily they peel off, and stifled impatience at kids rifling through the packet searching for the one they want or refusing to wear Dora when we've run out of Barbie. I'm kind of glad we're past that now, and the kids will only wear regular band-aids.

But the shapes - so many shapes! When did it ever get so complicated?

Dog mince and Cat mince

Here is beef mince for dogs:

Here is beef mince for cats:

They are actually not different colours though it looks that way from my photos. (You try taking surreptitious product photos in a supermarket).

Since they're both made of minced beef one can't help but wonder, what is the difference?

Well, it's not much. Both are mostly beef and contain the same ingredients. They both contain kangaroo and seaweed extract, and the cat mince has a little more of those in it. I bought one pack of each and feed my dog and the cat both from the same pack. We used the dog meat first and then the cat meat. No preference was shown by either animal, of course.

The only important thing for both pets is that meat from the other animal's bowl generally seems to taste better.

What kinds of consumer choice make you happy, and which ones make you crazy?


  1. I so agree with you. I guess we are better off with multiple choices, but it just seemed life was so much more simple when you only had a few choices. For instance, Kids today must pick from 50 or more ice cream flavors. They turn their nose up against vanilla, chocolate and strawberry for more exotic flavors. are they happier because they have so many choices? I doubt it, because the flavors they never try are still the best...Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry!!!

    1. Yes - and yet, can we go back to just vanilla, chocolate and strawberry? Or would we then miss mango ripple and white chocolate cheesecake? The dilemma we find ourselves in...

    2. I'm good with just the three, but i get your is hard to go back.

  2. The red Band Aid cotton! No matter how hard I tried, it would never work. What a nightmare. One of my life's early first world problems.

    1. I know! I remember it worked for me once - I think

    2. With the cotton you had to hold the paper packet firmly, rip the cotton across then down. Easy. Don't get me started on all the new and improved pads on those bandaids. Breathable, non-stick and now they're quilted? WTF?

  3. The range of choices does my head in. Why do we need a zillion different breakfast cereals. And milk. How many different milks are there now - and I wasn't counting almond, oat, rice milk etc.
    And why does salt reduced cost more? Aaaargh.

    1. However I do like having a much wider choice of fresh fruit and vegetables. It is the processed food choices and millions of toilet papers and shampoosa and tissues and and and,..
      Can you tell you hit a nerve?

    2. Yep! It is annoying to me too - I appreciate the choice in some things but the trade off/cost has been the proliferation in choice on ridiculous things which is all such a waste.

  4. Call me crazy but I like choices. Of course, I'm retired and have time to stand in front of the aisle pondering the benefits of various versions of the same thing. What really annouys me is when I find the one I prefer and the store stops carrying it.

  5. "Pain targeted Panadol", what a rip-off. Notice it costs a little more? It is still only 500mg of paracetamol per tablet/caplet, and it cannot get to the targeted area any faster than a normal tablet would. Let me explain. Swallow any type of pain relief and it goes to the stomach where it is digested. From there the necessary components are absorbed into the bloodstream which then goes on its journey around the body. As this passes through various nerve endings etc, they are numbed by the pain relieving component. All the nerve endings, including the ones which are currently in pain. Because of this delivery system it is impossible to "target" any particular pain. It isn't faster because digestion usually takes around twenty minutes, for anything. It may be a little faster if you use a soluble product, but that still needs to be digested, absorbed and transported around the body. Save your money and buy the cheapest available paracetamol product you can find. I buy Panamax, it's the original uncoated tablet form so doesn't taste very nice if it doesn't "go down" with the first swallow. It isn't more paracetamol as some people think because of the "max" in the name; the "max" is because of the number of tablets per box. Available in chemists and the chemist warehouse or chemist king stores, 100 tablets for $2.99, often on sale for $1.69.
    The pet mince mince contains a little more of the fish component because cats seem to need this. As a long term option, dogs are okay on cat mince, but cats will not do well on only dog mince. Their digestive systems are different.

    1. True - they're different species after all. The two kinds if cat mince just don't seem different enough. The cat does mostly get cat food - but she eats whatever she wants out of the dog's bowl too.
      And the dog is quite partial to her tinned Ocean Platter cat food.



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