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In the Catbird Seat/Joe Kirkish

Hidden treasures in brand names

November 15, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

Name brands. There was a time when they were held sacrosanct. To be absolutely sure you could count on a product, you put your trust in its brand name. A Victor Victrola was the best on the market. So was a Nash or Cadillac or DeSoto. For the best in condiments, well, only Cross & Blackwell would do. And cereals? Nothing but Post's or Kellogg's.

Then things changed. With appliances, especially, as most of the vital parts became foreign made, then assembled in American factories, it was cheaper, if not always better. You paid through the nose for an Yves St. Laurent gown, which looked grand, but then seams separated after one use.

You learned to bypass anything branded "Made in Japan" until the Japanese caught on and turned out better products, but then "Made in China" became the buyers' caveat, regardless whose brand label it sported. In Turkey, jeans with faux Levi labels never lasted beyond one or two washings. The glow was gone from the name.

On the other hand, as super chain stores became popular, they were able to copy viable brands, test them carefully, add their own name and sell for less, so now we can purchase IGA or Our Family cereals that look and taste like the original brands but at bargain prices.

But not always; there are exceptions. So what's a consumer to do? Turn to Consumer Reports, for one thing. And try networking. Ask friends and local authorities for their opinions.

Of course, empirical testing is the best way to discover the finest product for the best price - but it's time consuming and, eventually, a bumpy road of trial and error.

Adding to the confusion are some hidden treasures among brand named items, and here are a few:\

Did you know that two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately, and without side effects?

And did you know that Colgate toothpaste makes a fine salve for burns?

A stuffy nose can be cured by chewing on a couple of Altoid peppermints and for much less than expensive meds.

Sore throat? Mix 1/4c of vinegar with 1/4c of honey and take 1 tablespoon 6 times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria and the honey makes it taste better.

Honey is also good for skin blemishes. Cover a blemish with a dab of the sweet stuff and place a Band-Aid over it. Kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing - works overnight.

Pour a drop of Elmer's Glue-All over a splinter, let dry, and peel it off. The splinter goes with it.

Listerine gets rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking toes in the mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic quickly leaves the toenails healthy again.

Coca-Cola can replace expensive rust removers. Just saturate on an abrasive sponge and scrub the rust stain with it. Phosphoric acid in the Coke is what does it.

Dawn dish washing liquid kills fleas instantly. Add a few drops to your pet's bath and shampoo thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid skin irritations.

Next time your dog comes in from the rain and smells of dog odor, wipe it down with Bounce - instantly springtime fresh!

Mites in your cat's ears? A few drops of Wesson corn oil works. Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for three days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites and accelerates healing.

Use Quaker Oats for fast pain relief. Mix 2c with 1c of water, warm in the microwave for a minute, cool slightly, then apply the mixture to your pain area. Especially soothing for arthritic hands.

OK, I admit it; this is a confusing mix of messages - to buy or bypass brand named products. Use common sense. Try the above, none of which has been empirically tested by yours truly. But if they are successful, there might be just as good - and cheaper - competitive substitutes for many of them. The above named old-fashioned remedies, handed down for generations, suggests that they ought to. And cheaply, too.

Rotten Tomato averages: "Cloud Atlas," B+; "Skyfall," A-



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