The Great American Cabinet Cleanout – Scam?

When I finally got around to clipping grocery coupons from last Sunday’s paper,I found a banner going across many of the pages, declaring “The Great American Cabinet Cleanout!”

Wow. What a gimmick!

The idea is that the first of the year is a time not only for New Year’s resolutions and goal-setting, but also time to clean out your medicine cabinets and pantries. It makes sense, to a certain degree — you don’t want to be using canned tomatoes that expired two years ago (can you say botulism?).

It’s the brainchild of Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of medicine-cabinet staple brands like Listerine, Tylenol and Sudafed. They encourage consumers to “review, remove and replenish” stuff in their medicine cabinets.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m all for making sure we don’t use medicines that are past their expiration dates. There’s just something about the marketing that rubs me the wrong way. And of course, there are coupons in the fliers for you to use when purchasing all-new stuff. But if it’s something that’s expired due to not using it, it’s more than likely that I won’t be purchasing any more of the product.

Interestingly, some of the coupons featured for the “event” are for products like StayFree pads and Band-Aids — two items I think likely have very long shelf lives.

I suppose it’s just a gentle reminder. It wasn’t all in up in our faces. And there are similar things — such as changing the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year when the clock changes with Daylight Savings Time.

In the end, the “Great American Cabinet Cleanout is just excellent PR promotion.

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