Walking into most major stores and seeing shelves lined with nonperishable food and personal care products is expected, but it can also be shocking. One Redditor was stunned by a display of Old Spice deodorant in a store aisle that amounted to nearly “90 kinds” of the same brand.
One commenter suggested that the design was purposeful, suggesting that a brand offering many different varieties of essentially the same product allows the brand to take up the most space possible in the store. The same thing is done with snack foods, soda, and alcohol.
From a marketing perspective, the organization is strategic. It increases consumer brand recognition and encourages them to purchase one of the many products to fit their needs. This tactic, however, comes at the detriment of the planet.
While products like deodorant don’t expire as readily as food and perishable ingredients, the constant need to see stocked shelves creates a major waste issue. Consumers may also feel that they need to keep buying new deodorant to find a scent they enjoy (when, in reality, it’s not much different than the others), even if they have a perfectly good stick in their cabinet.
Every year in the United States, about 40 million tons of plastic are thrown out, but only about 5 percent is recycled. The rest makes its way into our waterways and wreaks havoc on essential ecosystems.
Redditors were equally stunned by the display. “Ach, the efficient and innovative spirit of late-stage capitalism! On the more serious note, this is nauseating to see,” one user lamented.
Another user pointed out the flawed marketing practice and its connection to the idea of free choice in the market. “You have a whole aisle of different deodorant flavors to choose from, all have the same quality and are potentially bad for your health, but capitalism gives you the freedom to choose between “captain” and “steel titan” scented deodorant.”
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