A friend of mine works at the front desk of a hotel in downtown Minneapolis, and one weekend she had to endure the hell of a cheerleader convention. In the wake of all these screaming teenage girls we located this seemingly innocuous little packet. It's decorated in day-glo colors and covered with slogans in a retro-psychedelic font:

Dietary Supplement
Tangy Sour Pour in your Mouth
The New Pucker-Up Diet Aid!
Instant... ENERGY!

In short, it looks like just the sort of product one practically expects cheerleaders to secrete. However, upon closer inspection it's a masterpiece of misleading marketing. The back of the packet starts out relating how mind-bogglingly healthy apples are, backing up the claim with lots of big, scientific-sounding words. The reader is expected to assume that since this product contains a miniscule amount of powdered apples, it too is somehow good for you. It then claims that "It was designed to naturally increase energy and provide nutrition. (Enjoy and Share)". It then goes on to tell you to "Consume 1 pack every 3 or 4 hours."

I suppose at this point the average self-conscious teenage girl is supposed to say, "OK, great, it's healthy, it'll give me energy and help me diet. Hoopy!" without proceeding to read the nutrition information which states quite clearly that while this powder contains virtually no nutrients of any sort, it will provide plenty of energy due to the 150 mg of caffeine.

But hey, as a vehicle for caffeine it's not half bad. It tastes rather vile, more bitter than "tangy", but people drink espresso, don't they?

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product in (sic) not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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