By Jeff Girod
Put on a helmet, kiddies, because you’re going to tip over! That’s according to the Australian government, which has ordered Power Balance—makers of a rubber bracelet with a hologram sticker—to refund all of its customers who feel they were misled by the bracelet’s, ahem, “athletic powers.”
Wait a minute . . . hologram bracelets don’t have magical powers? Next you’re going to tell me that hospital clowns can’t cure cancer and wishing on a rainbow won’t bring back my lost dog, Sparkles. Come back, Sparkles! We miss you, girl!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with balance bracelets—and really, why would you be, because anyone who reads this column is guaranteed to have catlike reflexes, a pearly white smile and/or an erection not lasting more than 4 hours—Power Balance has previously claimed that its product provides better balance, strength and flexibility by working with the wearer’s “natural energy field.”
Natural energy field? (Nothing at all suspicious about that.)
Power Balance bracelets have been worn by everyone from NBA ballers Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Lamar Odom, to NFL quarterback Drew Brees, not to mention Hollywood A-listers Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Robert De Niro and Gerard Butler. Even future English royal Kate Middleton has been caught wearing a Power Balance bracelet. Or maybe Kate just snaps the bracelet against her wrist to remind herself that, as goofy and inbred as her future offspring with Prince William will be, hey, at least someday she’ll be Queen of England—and then she can hide in a castle with a giant moat.
Powerbalance.com also touts all sorts of testimonials on its homepage from “athletes” I’ve never heard of including a tennis player named Victoria Azarenka—“I now wear two every match! —and a mountain biker named Willow Koerber who swears, “Power Balance has taken me from good to great.” Willow’s quote also includes a picture of her on a biking trail, and to her credit, she’s not using training wheels or crashing.
But it turns out that Power Balance and Victoria Assa-what’s-her-face are both full of crap (but proportioned crap, you know, with 50 percent of the crap laying perfectly balanced on each side). In the last few weeks, Power Balance has admitted that the only thing their bracelets are guaranteed to do is make your wrist smell like cheap plastic for $29.95.
Here’s a statement from Power Balance that appeared recently in Australian newspapers:
“We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct . . . If you feel you have been misled by our promotions, we wish to unreservedly apologize and offer a full refund.”
No credible scientific evidence? Engaged in misleading conduct? Those are a lot of big confusing words aimed at customers used to getting their medical advice from a rubber manufacturer, and who apparently have no problem paying 3000 percent more for a bracelet you can get out of a gumball machine. How about putting it into terms these imbeciles can understand? Something like, “Shiny bracelets: No workie.”
I say Power Balance shouldn’t have to pay a dime in refunds. Call it a $29.95 IQ test. (Though in all seriousness, Power Balance, you should probably refund Robert De Niro’s money pronto, then go rent Taxi Driver.)
As for the rest of the rest of the athletes and celebrities, is anyone surprised they fell for a bracelet scam? Duping most famous people is as challenging as tricking a basset hound with a laser pointer. I’m just sorry Power Balance doesn’t make headbands, because I’d love to see Kim Kardashian or Snooki wearing a giant “healing” hologram across their foreheads like some idiot Wonder Woman.
As for the rest of us: If you want better balance, strength and flexibility, try more sit-ups and eating fewer fruit pies. I know it sounds more difficult, but it might actually work better than a charm bracelet.
Or get those Shape-Ups shoes that are supposed to tone your butt while you walk. It might not improve your “natural energy field,” but the rest of us will point and laugh at you.
And really, isn’t mocking others the greatest workout of all?
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.