Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Pillow talk leaves me bamboozled

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The TV channel that tends to get most of my attention bombards me each night with advertisements urging me to take out an insurance policy to pay for my impending funeral and then entices me to buy a bamboo pillow that will allow me to sleep the sleep of the just and hopefully increase my life expectancy.

You probably thought, as I did, that a bamboo pillow is made from bamboo. Wrong! It’s the pillowslip that is made from bamboo, bamboo fibre that is. The pillow itself is made from foam.

Foam with a memory, apparently. Well anyway that’s what the salesman told me, lurking behind the counter in one of those pop-up shops that come and go in those wide aisles of a shopping mall in a nearby city.

The day I visited there was a mountebank claiming to cure most of your illnesses with a multi-coloured lamp beamed on the affected part, two stalls selling a huge variety of psychedelic covers for your iPhone, the inevitable chairs that will shake your booty if you dare to stick a two dollar coin in the slot and now two competing well-stocked mini-marts selling bamboo pillows.

I was intrigued. Bamboo fibre I was told is naturally anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic, breathable, cool, strong, flexible, soft and has a luxurious shiny appearance. It absorbs and evaporates sweat very quickly and is three or four times more absorbent than cotton.

About now the well-versed young salesman pauses to draw breath and then goes on to expound that environmentally-friendly bamboo yields ten times that of cotton, without using fertilisers or pesticides. Armed with this information I wondered out loud why there aren’t more Panda’s in the world, but my cynicism is unacknowledged and the young man is now joined by an attractive dark-skinned young saleslady coming to the rescue of her colleague who is blissfully unaware that he needs rescuing.

When I express surprise that the pillow itself is actually made of foam rather than bamboo she tells me that the memory foam’s most unique quality is its temperature sensitivity, which softens the foam when in contact with the body. Memory foam, she gushes, moulds to your curvatures, cradling areas that normally receive pressure and supporting areas that typically do not. Truly miraculous.

I convey my disillusionment however given that when Susan Paul drops the bowling ball on the pillow and doesn’t break the egg beneath the accompanying spiel clearly implies that it’s the bamboo that’s the hero, not the foam.

This narrative is lost on my two young salespersons who I suspect have never had to suffer monotonous TV ads. They probably download movies or watch Netflix; I envy their innocence.

I can get two pillows for $79 they tell me, but when I suggest that having pillowcases featuring bamboo slogans and illustrations will hardly enhance the appearance of our immaculate bedroom they offer as an extra a variety of pastel-coloured bamboo pillowcases, logo free. This bumps up the price tag considerably.

I’m then told that thousands of customers swear by their bamboo pillows.

I’ll bet they do, some louder than others.

“Business is the art of extracting money from another man’s pocket without resorting to violence.” - Max Amsterdam


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