Sometime ago I wrote a few remarks about ginger biscuits of all things, and showed how if you leave them open to the air, to go soft, re-box them in a tight container, they return to their original crispness – this didn’t happen in the old days. I am allergic to scented soap, the result is I have to be careful about the shampoos and soaps I buy, I try not to change the brands once I have found the ones I want, but it is not up to me, the manufacturers take it unto themselves to change them anyway, they change the colour, they change the ingredients, and in the end the very thing that I was avoiding, irritation to the skin, starts all over again. This includes washing powders in particular. I do most of the shopping and I find it incredible how often the packaging of different items is changed. Manufacturers are not going to all that trouble of new designs, new print runs etc, without some devious reason for keeping the two packages identifiable. I think it is fair to say that nobody changes anything without a valid reason, valid to them that is, not necessarily to the purchaser. Often, valid means cheaper. We have had all these problems of toys being painted with the wrong paint by the Chinese manufacturers, presumably because they want to save money. It would therefore seem logical that all the changes in products, in the visual and tactile sense of the actual product, are introduced either to save time or save money, which amounts the same thing. I am always a little worried about apparent new products, such as the latest craze for ‘stay-fresh-bread’, there must be something added to prevent it moulding, and losing moisture, whether it is suitable for all of us can only be a matter of conjecture because I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a lot of testing, or we wouldn’t be having all this talk about the E numbers all these years on. The question I ask is where is all this going, will it ever stop, and is anyone going to police it? There seems to be no way that you can buy the same product for as long as you like, without it being modified, so the corollary of this is that you can’t relax, you’ve got to be on your guard that what they’re doing is for the best possible reasons, not because some magnate decides that he wants to up the anti, without people realising it. It really has become a vicious world.
I’m sure you’re sick of me saying ‘when I was young’, but in those days nothing ever changed year-on-year, it was the same packets, the same food and possibly if you like, the same dreary round, but we were so unsophisticated we didn’t realise it was that. I have now arrived at a point where I trust very little that I’m told, especially by advertisers, financial advisers, the government, and worst of all the local authority, they used to be able to be trusted – mostly. I do remember a councillor, with influence in local housing, who was happy for people looking for accommodation to visit him at home. He was an amateur artist, low on the artistic totem, who managed to persuade people that it was to their advantage to buy one of his pictures, not of course to gallop up the housing ladder, merely for their aesthetic appreciation.