Tuesday, December 9, 2008
One of the pleasures of writing a blog (aside from being able to use words like hornswoggle) is the people you meet because of it. Well, not actually meet. Most "meetings" are email exchanges of mutual admiration, but sometimes a meet-up in the dimensional world occurs as it did in the Hearst building the other day where a kind admirer offered me a tour of the Good Housekeeping Institute. Where the seal comes from.
The Seal is for real? I asked, not meaning to rhyme. All these years, I'd assumed that the gold sticker was just a marketing ploy, a gold star awarded to products whose manufacturers had the good sense to advertise in Good Housekeeping.
My cynicism dissolved after a hydraulic ride in a green (not literally) high-rise elevator which opened onto 2800 square feet of bright, spotless rooms where thousands of products are tested each year. Bras are stretched to make sure the elastic, er, holds up; down coats are worn in a room made to feel like a meat locker; cellphones are hurled to the floor, then picked up to check for dial tones; recipes are created at least three times to ensure they come out when a dunce like you makes them in your own inadequate kitchen.
Since 1909, readers have been promised that if any product advertised in the magazine, which bears the seal, proves defective within two years, Good Housekeeping will replace it or refund the purchase price.
Of course, as with any consumer offer, there are certain exceptions. The policy does not extend to financial/investment products. So much for getting a refund on that worthless hedge fund.