Binary Decision Maker (moopet) wrote in shampooscience,
Binary Decision Maker
moopet
shampooscience

Eyes and Brains

In my own backyard! Science, slaughtered like a lamb.

iSee 200 Eye Massager

Maplin, when I was a kid, were quite good. I used to buy components from them through mail-order. Now they sell any old tat.
This made me double-take, though.
I get a lot of headaches, always have, and many of them involve pain in my eyes. So when, as I was grazing in the aisles, I spotted this little box of delights I picked it up for a closer look.
The front of the pack seems reasonable enough. It has a picture of a high-tech looking eye... er, thing.
high tech shit
Here you see our model looking a bit like one of the Special X-Men.
It also has the coolest name of any product from a high-street store. It's not just the Eye Massager. It's the Eye And Brain Massager. How can anyone resist its temptation? Then I read the back of the packet. Then I took a photo of it, came home and looked it up online. The packet says it works by the principles of acupuncture. The first site I found selling the product described it as working by magnetic therapy: "plenty of research and study proved that magnetic field can have great effect on human bodys tissue, organic, nervous system".


What's wrong with saying it rubs your eyes and feels nice? Want to know what Maplin have to say in their description? "Now, here’s the science behind it all. Magnetic field, in the form of physical energy, when applied on special acupuncture points, can activate the function of the cell, enlarge the blood capillary and raise the level of oxygen supply, improving the nutrition state of tissues of cells, and balance the self-disciplined nerves"

Yes, they say that. The bit about, "now, here's the science..."
I shall be writing a stern email to them this evening.
Tags: acupuncture, magnets, maplin
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  • 9 comments
I would like to bring your attention to a particularly dubious item you are selling.
I was browsing the shelves in my local Maplin when I came across the Breeze iSee 200 Eye and Brain Massager. Since I am prone to headaches and eye pain, I picked up the packet to examine it.
I was disheartened to read that it was a product based on acupuncture and magnetic therapy, both pre-scientific ideas with no place in today's world, let alone in a popular high-street shop selling technology to the public.

I quote from the description on your website ( http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=37804 ):

"here’s the science behind it all. Magnetic field, in the form of physical energy, when applied on special acupuncture points, can activate the function of the cell, enlarge the blood capillary and raise the level of oxygen supply, improving the nutrition state of tissues of cells, and balance the self-disciplined nerves. Applying the above theory, and combining the curing theory of channel acupuncture in traditional Chinese medicine, this product uses both the magnetic acupuncture and mechanical acupuncture to activate the important acupuncture points around the eyes and harmonise the blood, thus improving the adjustment functions of the eye muscles and the eye nerves"

If there's anything further from science, it's relegated to the back page adverts of low-circulation alternative-medicine magazines. This description is obviously just pasted in from the manufacturer's blurb, bad grammar and all - I don't believe anyone in Maplin could have read it or it would have been thrown straight out.

The argument could be presented that if there is a market for it, and customers are satisfied, then what's wrong with selling it - but I don't agree. The information on the packet and on your website misleads the public by claiming it is scientifically valid. It also skirts legality by making claims that are very close to medicinal.

I haven't gone through your catalogue to see if selling this sort of thing is a common event - and I would hope it is not - but it has certainly damaged your credibility as a technology reseller with me.

Yours,

Ben Sinclair
good show, i shall do similar :P
Thank you for contacting Maplin Electronics. This reply is in response
to your email submitted to us recently, however I do wish to apologise
for the delay in our response.

We are currently investigating the issues within your email and
forwarding the information to the store in question for their comments.
We will contact you again once more information has been received.

Should you wish to discuss the matter urgently, please contact our
Customer Care Team on 0844 557 6000 and ask to speak to a supervisor.

Please do accept our apologies for any inconvenience that may have
been caused and we will reply in more detail shortly.

Kind regards

Customer Care Team

Maplin Electronics Ltd
I feel I've left this sufficiently long. My original email is included at the bottom

I received your first automated reply within a couple of days, then the included mailing below on the 25th Feb.
I'm presuming by the fact that your email says "... email and forwarding the information to the store in question for their comments..." that it was a standard pasted-in email since I never mentioned which store I had visited.

However, two months have gone by and I have not received the promised contact from you. The product remains on your shelves and on your website. I did not write my original email in order to start a discussion but to raise an objection - your reply said you would contact me back, and I have waited for two months. Two months is long enough to have clicked a link in an email. What level of customer service do you aim to provide?

Am I to expect another automated reply to this, and then silence? I would rather not contact a call centre, because my concern is not that I have difficulty using a product, or that I wish to get a refund or any of the other things call centres handle, but that I am deeply concerned with the nature of the products you are selling.

Who should I complain to?

Yours,

Ben Sinclair
I am sorry if you have not received your response. We did reply to you on the 04.03.09 stating the following,

We do appreciate your comments regarding the eye and brain massager that we stock. I will certainly pass you comments onto our product management team.

I do apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Kind Regards

Donna Clegg
Customer Care Department
Maplin Electronics
No response as of mid-June and the product is still listed.
Poor show, Maplin.
I have now left this the best part of a year. Is it possible that I could have a response explaining why this product is still being sold, the contact details for your product management team who are responsible for this, or the details of who to complain to, as I asked?

Thank-you,

Ben Sinclair.
Dear Mr Sinclair,

Thank you for your email and apologies if you have not received a response to original correspondence earlier in the year.

The item in question has proved to be very popular and offered some benefit to many sufferers with the symptoms of eye strain. This is based upon 600+ units sold this year alone with less than 15 items being returned to us.

Whilst we are happy to receive comments from customers, we do not consider our text to provide misleading information, nor there to be any grounds to remove the product from sale.

However we have a new product manager in place and will ensure he is aware of your concerns.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have anymore queries.

Kind Regards,
I have been made aware that you are selling the "Breeze iSee 200 Eye and Brain Massager"
From the package blurb (and your own website) "this product uses both the magnetic acupuncture and mechanical acupuncture"

You're selling a machine to stick FRICKIN' NEEDLES IN PEOPLE'S EYES.

Is that even legal?

Who exactly is the target market for Maplin these days?

Dr. Evil?
Baron Frankenstein?
The Sinister Six?
Perhaps Dr. Doom uses your eyeball skewering device to keep Latveria crushed in his Iron Fist?

Suffice to say, I do not wish to expose myself, or my loved ones to the dangerous kinds of people who might be shopping in Maplin. I shall henceforth buy my electronics from more reputable companies.

Yours etc