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Do We Suffer From 1st World Problems?

Apr 15, 2008
Sometimes Americans can have too much of a good thing - like artificial sweeteners. Pink packets of Sweet & Low turned iced tea into my drink of choice. Sweet & Low, however, contains saccharin, which can have a bitter taste, which opened the market to Equal in 1965. The blue packets of Equal contain aspartame, which caused a health scare, which opened the market to Splenda's yellow packets in 1999. In the $1.5 billion business of artificial sweeteners, Splenda outsells Equal, which outsells Sweet & Low, which means Sweet & Low is hard to find in restaurants. This means anyone who wants an artificial sweetener that actually dissolves in iced tea isn't in the pink.

Public Storage companies are everywhere. I, like most Americans, have more stuff than I need - which inspired my two-year plan. If I haven't used something in two years, out it goes. Because of this plan, I no longer have a monthly storage bill. Because this plan works, I suggested it to friends - unsuccessfully. It seems it is just as hard to open minds as it is to open storage boxes. The one friend who said she believed in a use-it-or-lose-it plan said she called it divorce.

Experiments are continually being done to find cures for disease and solutions to world hunger; but blind wine tastings - like the one done by the University of California - is a 1st world experiment. Although the participants weren't told what wines they were tasting, they were told how much the wines cost. It's no surprise that they preferred the more expensive ones. What is a surprise is that two wines were the same. Maybe this proves that when tasting wine, one's taste isn't always in one's mouth.

Then there's technology. Technology has made our great country greater, but technology can go too far. A PVM sounds harmless, but it's not. The Photo Violation Meter combines sensors, photography and wireless technology to provide five times as much parking revenue. This meter has a No Fine feature that adds time and charges it to a credit card. It has a Grace Period feature that allows drivers to pay for expired time instead of being charged with a violation. Drivers can even add time to the meter by phone. All this is good. What isn't good is the meter eliminates any time left on it by the previous driver. This meter eliminates free rides.
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KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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