Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stealing Tide

The Times asked a bunch of "experts" why thieves are stealing so much Tide detergent that it has become a sort of currency in poor neighborhoods. Their answers boils down to:
  1. For the working poor, the use of brand-name products is an important status symbol, indicating that they are keeping their heads above water;
  2. Tide is known to all Americans and its packaging is instantly recognizable;
  3. The same random process of memetic drift that creates all fads.
I would add that modern, high-density liquid detergent is expensive enough that a bottle small enough to carry around is worth something. How do I get to be the kind of "expert" whose opinion is sought on questions like, why are thieves stealing Tide?

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