It's hard not to come home from the BlogHer conference without a whole lot of stuff. Even being selective, somehow you end up with toothpaste and vibrators and tee shirts and body scrub and battery operated candles.
One of the sponsors was Perrigo - a drug manufacturer that makes products that get sold as store brands. They were there with a display of over the counter pharmaceuticals branded for Walgreens, but that's really not the point. I am one of those people who from time to time - a couple of times a year - needs to take a 14 day course of Omeprazole to get my digestive tract back in good working order. The pills are usually blister-packed and in a box - like the Rite Aid box in my picture. The blister-packs are insanely annoying, so much so that I usually attack the plastic and foil with scissors to extract all the pills at once. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Perrigo version for Walgreens was in a BOTTLE. I liked it so much that I told the rep so, and now I'm telling you. I'll grant you that there are times when blister-packs are okay - like when you need to carry a couple of pills out and about with you - but having Omeprazole in a bottle is a better thing.
Another sponsor was SaveAntibiotics.org, a program of the Pew Charitable Trusts Health Group. From their website:
The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming is working to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics by phasing out the overuse and misuse of the drugs in food animal production. We work with public health and food industry leaders, veterinarians, agricultural interests, academics, and citizen groups who share our objective of protecting human and animal health.
I don't know about you, but I'm all for reducing antibiotic use in the food supply - it's one of the reasons we don't buy supermarket meat in our household. Sure, sometimes a cow with mastitis might need a dose of amoxicillin, but "up to 70% of US antibiotics go to farm animals that aren't sick". Dosing up chickens and pigs so that they can be crammed into overcrowded, dirty barns is a terrible idea, one that leads to drug-resistant bug strains.
The huge irony here is that SaveAntibiotics.org was one of the little sponsors with a no-frills booth, while Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farms spent top dollar for big, splashy booths and top billing, and handed out glop all the live long day. What kind of antibiotics are in their meats, huh? And how does BlogHer reconcile the message here? Factory meat on the one hand, anti-antibiotics on the other. I'm really glad the Pew people were at the conference, and I hope their message got through to at least a couple of people.
Verizon was another sponsor. I suppose they were flogging something at their booth; I didn't stop to see. BUT. They included a plastic postage-paid envelope in the official BlogHer swag bag, an envelope to use to "donate your old wireless phone to HopeLine and support victims of domestic violence". I like that. Instead of dead or obsolete phones going in the trash, they might help someone. I'll be using that envelope soon.
Also in the official swag bag was a full-size bottle of some Lysol multi-purpose cleaner. Um. How many of the attendees FLEW to New York on AIRPLANES? How many of those bottles got tucked behind plants in the lobby of the Hilton? A free coupon would have been a more efficient way to get the product in the hands of people who might want to try it and didn't want to pack it in their checked luggage.
Why oh why does Land O Lakes think that butter needs olive oil? That's a misguided product invention if ever I heard one. If I want to saute my antibiotic-free chicken breasts in a mix of olive oil and butter, I can pour a glug from the olive oil bottle and drop in a pat of nice plain butter. (Besides, if you've read Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, you'll be pretty sure that whatever is in that Land O Lakes stuff is a far cry from real fresh olive oil.)
Next, who needs feminine wash? Poise was there, branching out from incontinence with a whole new line of products aimed at menopausal women. Who knows, the cooling towelettes could come in handy, especially since it's been so stinking hot in New York City. But "feminine wash"? Are you actually going to wash your armpits with bar soap, and your head with shampoo, and your "intimate area" with something else altogether? Thanks, soap works fine down there.
Onward. I got invited to a party for B(L)oomers - you know, baby boomers, old ladies - which was not a BlogHer official party. I went, out of some perverse curiosity, and I actually had a good time there. The wine they were serving amused me no end - instead of a bottle, it comes in four individual cups all shrink-wrapped together, Stacked. Sure, there's a huge plastic thing going on which makes my earthy-crunchy self cringe, but if you were heading for a glass-free picnic zone? And it's portion-controlled? And you could use the plastic glasses for votives later? More to the point, the merlot wasn't half bad.
Best of all, the B(L)oomers party was sponsored in part by Demeter, the maker of all those thoroughly idiosyncratic and wonderful fragrances, like Gin & Tonic, and Tomato, and Mildew, and Black Pepper. And bestest of all, I won a door prize of ten bottles, ten that I got to pick out myself. And because ten was kind of more than I needed, I gave some to Sarah and Aurelia and Stephanie (who came over to hang out in my swanky hotel room and drink wine and eat potato chips), and to my sister-in-law who got me said hotel room. And my daughter got a bottle of Hersheys Kisses, and my husband got Fireplace, so she now smells like chocolate and he smells like wood smoke. I kept Dirt and Laundromat and Greenhouse for myself.
Until next year. Or maybe not.