Thursday, September 9, 2010

(empo-tuulwey) How to misuse a number of things (my response to "scmeadow")

Back on Thursday, September 3, 2009, I wrote a post in my Empoprise-BI business blog which was entitled "Why doesn't Arthur Meyerhoff's name stick in our brains?" This was posted ten minutes after a companion post in my Empoprise-NTN blog which also mentioned Meyerhoff. The business blog post mentions a bit about the corporate history of PAM cooking spray, beginning in 1957 and extending to 2000. The two posts recently elicited some comments about something that doesn't appear in the PAM corporate history. The comment added to Empoprise-NTN, by someone who only identified herself as "scmeadow," is perhaps more instructive.

WoW! Arthur Meyerhoff, Sr. is a triva question? His claim to fame? Hahaha! My brother is dead because of his "precious" PAM, His initals and "Product of". Whya not make a trivia question of how many young people died from his "invention"? No warnign lables of how inhailing this KILLER can effect lives of those who remain. Not to mention the numbers who suffer from brain damage but survived. Wonder if Meyerhoff tested this on animals and it slid on by the those who approved this product and ones like it. DONT BUY PAM OR ANY SPRAY GREASES FULL OF DEATH FOR THE YOUNG!

While I was able to find out who "scmeadow" is, I have no way to confirm her story. However, it is quite possible that scmeadow's brother died as described, as this Teen Drug Abuse page notes:

According to the most recent study by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, nearly seventeen million Americans have tried huffing or inhaling the intoxicating fumes from common household products. Despite a small decline in huffing since 1995, experts say that millions of American kids will try huffing at least once, and some of those will develop a habit. This is the “silent epidemic” and it needs to be more recognized.

PAM Cooking Spray does appear on the list of items that can be abused in this way. But there are a number of items on that list:

The following are some known substances that are categorized as being abused by inhalation:
• Hydrocarbons
• Nitrites
• Anesthetics
• Alcohol
• Halogen compounds
• Airplane glue
• Scotch-guard
• Pam cooking sprays
• Carbon tetrachloride - used in swimming pools
• Gasoline
• Paint thinner
• Butane
• White out or correction fluid
• Colored markers

While I acknowledge that scmeadow is going through pain - the fact that she is dwelling on this subject 37 years after it happened shows this - the question that is raised is how much responsibility a corporation bears when a product is misued in ways the corporation could not have foreseen. Should the Monkees be demonized because of what Michael Nesmith's mother did? Should El Barrio's Operation Fightback, Inc. be demonized because of where its grant money originated?

Of course, it helps if you can get Wal-Mart involved in the story, because everybody believes that Wal-Mart is evil anyway. And Wal-Mart figures into a story in which someone lapsed into a coma:

Authorities have confirmed reports to Disclosure that Leitha Vaughn, 40, purchased “dozens of cans” of a computer-cleaning product, CleanSafe Dust Remover, from Harrisburg’s WalMart very early in the morning (between 2 and 3 a.m.) and is alleged to have gone on a huffing spree with them in her minivan in the parking lot there.

For the record, the manufacturers of CleanSafe Dust Remover tried to take steps to prevent this abuse.

One of the reasons it’s supposed to be ‘safe,’ however, is because it contains “Bittergent,” an ingredient that makes misusing the product unpleasant because of the foul taste/odor it leaves behind from breathing it (huffing).

But Bittergent apparently wasn't bitter enough.

After approximately 27 cans, it’s been reported to us, she actually is alleged to have punctured the cans in order to release the propellant that pushes the air out of the can (to clean the keyboards) and also makes people high if breathes in close quarters.

So why is Wal-Mart allegedly evil in this case?

Why WalMart sold her so many cans, however, is probably a matter best left for further investigation....

However, a limit on the number of cans that can be purchased at any one time is not a foolproof solution. Vaughn seems to be a motivated sort of person, and if Wal-Mart only sold one can per person, she could just as easily have driven to 27 Wal-Marts, or Targets, or whatever. (If you don't think that Vaughn's motivated, consider that after falling into a coma and being hospitalzed...guess where she went after being released from the hospital? That's right, back to the Harrisburg Wal-Mart to buy some more canned air.)

No matter how much you try to outlaw something that people (for good or ill) want, people are going to get it anyway. Consider eSarcasm's story about Craiglist supposedly censoring adult services; as eSarcasm notes, people just started filing their adult services ads in other categories. I've verified this locally - see this "Creative Services" ad:

blonde needs help (inland empire)
Date: 2010-09-04, 4:37PM PDT

Hello I'm a student looking for some help with bills..I'm open minded to ideas so if your upscale please let's see if at can work something out?

So you can blame PAM, you can blame the computer cleaning aisle at Wal-Mart, you can blame Craigslist, you can blame Facebook...but at some point a person has to take personal responsibility for his or her actions.
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