Maybe it’s a cultural thing, I don’t know. I just don’t seem to feel the same spark with Simone as I did with Michelle. I was so excited to receive her email, but so disappointed once I read it. It’s only a slight exaggeration to say she broke my heart. I wrote back:

Hi Simone,

Many thanks for getting back to me so quickly. To be honest, I didn’t expect any kind of response at all as the “Contact” form on the English-language site doesn’t seem to work and I had to contact you through the German site.

Thank you for sending me the link to the Patafix site. Some of the ways they use Patafix certainly are very creative and had never occurred to me (playing a board game upside-down on the underneath of a table! Crazy!). However, I’m afraid that I’m still not entirely satisfied.

It seems to me that if you make a specific claim regarding your product, it is only reasonable to ask if you have any way of backing up that claim. Otherwise, people could make all sorts of claims and no-one would know what to believe. I’m not denying that White Tack is a very versatile product, but “thousands” of uses? That seems an awful lot.

Can there really be that many uses?


I think you can sense the emotion. I was trying to be upbeat, but I was laughing through the tears. She replied quite promptly; such German efficiency.

Dear James,

I just tried out in Google to type in “1000’s of uses” and actually got 180.000 hits of site of products/services with 1000’s of uses. I think this is a general English term which is used to describe a product which is really versatile in terms of usage as this is also the case for our UHU White tack/UHU patafix.

But I actually think it could be a nice idea to ask our consumers for their input and their individual ideas and then to end up with a very creative list of ideas of how to use the product.

Maybe this can be an idea for a promotion on our patafix web-site!

Thank you again for your input and kind regards,

Now, at first glance, this almost seems like a brush-off (“thank you again for your input and kind regards”). But note how she’s switched to calling me “James” (in her previous email she called me “Mr Ward”). She’s warming to me. And that’s fortunate, because if she thinks I’m going to be satisfied with a response like that, she’s mistaken.

There’s already a word which means something which is versatile in terms of usage, that word is “versatile”. The phrase “thousands of uses”, on the other hand, specifically means something which has thousands of uses. And, as I keep saying, maybe there really are thousands of uses, but you can’t just pick a number, claim your product has that many uses and then cross your fingers and hope you’re right. If we accepted that principle, where would that leave us? The whole foundation of society would collapse. “Oh, well it probably helps lower cholesterol, maybe it would be a nice idea to ask our customers to monitor their levels of cholesterol and let us know how they get on.”

This is a moral issue.

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6 Comment on “1000s OF USES: PART 7 – THE MORAL ARGUMENT

  1. Pingback: Trev and Simon Podcast No.10 « Trev and Simon

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