snake oil salesmen

"Get Pregnant Quick!" Schemes (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Remember that day in 2002 when you worked late and they said they would make it up to you but never did? The interest alone should buy you another ten minutes reading time.) So, what were  we talking about? Oh right. Fertility kits. Complete with seventeen steps to simultaneously cleanse your organs and your wallet.

The site I mentioned yesterday has a great deal for those of us in this neck of the world:

"Complete Cleansing Kit available in U.S. and Canada: $891."

"Complete Cleansing Kit available outside of U.S. and Canada: $891."

Is this the best they could do for our North American discount?

I sense a "copy and paste" job gone terribly awry.

I asked some fertility experts what products are out there that they think may not be legitimate. One they mentioned:  "Sperm Boosters".

I found a company, "Jock Juice" (names have been changed to protect myself) that sells herbal pills to increase sperm volume and motility. Interestingly, the site didn't mention the fertility benefits until paragraph number four and only briefly then.

I won't tell you what benefits the first three paragraphs focused on. Let's just say I read it with my hand over my eyes, peeking through my fingers. By the time I was done reading, I wished I'd replenished my antiperspirant.

The grammar on the site was atrocious, but somehow I didn't mind.

I guess the marketing strategy here is: If you're going to sell to a man, hit him where he lives.

The site I talked about the other day, massage therapy used to boost female fertility, had oodles of testimonials. I love testimonials. How can I not trust Sarah and Hannah and Judith? They're all smiling. They all look so trustworthy and they all have both babies and Biblical names. It's like a sign from GD.

This sperm booster site: "Swim Boys Swim!" had no testimonials. I found that disappointing. Couldn't they have  Joshua, or Daniel, or Ezekial telling us how, since they started taking "Fertile Phil" pills, they've hung out at the Playboy mansion every night, just impregnating left and right?

They did have a photo of  "before" and "after" semen samples to show us how much semen volume had increased. I really didn't want that photo there.

I promise you. I would have been content if they'd scribbled down a statistic and walked away. "Semen volume increased 60%.  Bye."

I really didn't want to know what was in those cups. I really don't want to know how it got there.  

I'm traumatized. Every time that image pops back into my head I have to calm myself down: "It's okay, Lori. They probably just poured some Milk of Magnesia into the cups. All white milky substances look alike.  You're fine. You're on a beach. It's sunny and warm."

Listen, I gotta go. Apparently even a comfy chair can turn on you after three hours. I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

"Get Pregnant Quick!" Schemes (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. So what if the boss gets mad? Who does she think she is anyway? Oh right...the boss.) So what were talking about? Oh right.   People putting ideas in our heads. Right. We don't have enough people asking "When are you going to get pregnant?" or "Aren't you trying?".

Now there are all of these surefire ways on the Internet to conquer infertility. Some of them don't seem any more scientific or make any more sense than our friends' suggestions: "Take a vacation and relax! Go have fun! You'll see. You'll come back pregnant!" 

So  many people said that to me, I was surprised Disneyland didn't add it to their advertisements:  "Adventure Land, Frontier Land: Come to the 'Land of YOUR Future'. Last year alone, five thousand women got pregnant on Space Mountain....in the dark..." 

A lot of the "Get Pregnant Quick" schemes seem to involve people wanting to cleanse our bodies. It's like these people are all walking around with a giant sponge and can of Ajax just itching to disinfect our internal plumbing.

People love to peddle herbs. I mentioned yesterday about an herbal tampon that's been floating around cyberspace. Now, that's a pretty visual. I'm not sure how that gets your body back into conception mode. Honestly I'm not sure if I could deal with knowing.

They never seem to mention much about what these herbs are, but apparently Chinese people know all about them.  Words like "ancient" are always thrown around these websites. Somehow when you throw "herbs", "ancient" and "Chinese" into a sentence, they add credibility to everything.

Like, if I told you "There are these ancient herbs that the Chinese use every day." Oooh mysterious. I wonder what it's all about. But if I said: "There's this tunafish that my Jewish family has been eating since last Wednesday." You might be like: "Yeah, that's a week already. Might want to throw that out."

My roommate from college is Chinese. I'll ask her if she knows about these mysterious fertility herbs. She's a punk rocker from Queens, so I doubt it. But I'll ask anyway.

This one "Get Pregnant Quick" site that a reader brought to my attention offers:  Liver cleansing, kidney cleansing, colon cleansing: No organ goes unwashed. It's like Liquid Plumber for your innards.

Liver cleanser, maybe. Kidney cleanser, maybe. But colon cleanser $87.50? Ridiculous. Who needs that product? People too lazy to order from the drive-thru menu? And $87.50? A fast food value meal only costs five or six bucks. (A Supersize costs more. Depending on how fast you want to cleanse.)

They also, on this particular site,  offer  (major "squirm" alert) "chamomile cleanse herbal douche mix".

Does "chamomile cleanse herbal douche mix" just roll off anybody's tongue?

If we could only get that phrase into everyday speech, I'm sure all around the halls of high schools everywhere, teenage boys would be communicating with each other in a whole new way: "Hey, you chamomile cleanse herbal douche mix, I'm talking to you!"

Listen, I gotta go. I think I'll stop by McDonald's. It's my two-in-one ancient Chinese herbal body elixir regime. I can cleanse an organ and clog an artery at the same time.   I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

"Get Pregnant Quick!" Schemes (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. The meeting upstairs can wait another five minutes. Or six. May as well get a snack too. Who the hell do these people think they are anyway?)  So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Scam artists. Dating back to when Aunt Bee bought an energy elixir from a medicine man passing through Mayberry that turned out to be 40 proof...and centuries before that.

Honestly, I don't have enough chudspa to say that these "Get Pregnant Quick" schemes aren't legitimate. I know that a Reproductive Endocrinologist friend of mine calls them "Bovine Excrement". (He's a gentleman from Texas). But he has a medical degree or two to back up his disdain.

So maybe some of these "out there" solutions to infertility only make sense 1% of the time. When you've been financially, emotionally, and physically exhausted, you're desperately seeking hope... and at that point, a  glimmer is often all it takes. 

There's one group who purports to get "scores" of patients pregnant. Well, in measurements, I think a score is twenty. That's not that many. In bowling, a perfect score is 300. I'm thinking that's not what they mean.

Of course if  a guy "scores", it means he slept with the unlucky broad. That brings us closer to the whole "getting pregnant" thing in a roundabout way.

Anyway, according to this company's info, all the magic is done through massage. I don't know how, but it is.

Massage is one of my favorite things in the world. If I'd only known, years ago, to say something to Olga while she was pounding my lifeless body into the table: "Hey Olga. I'm trying to get pregnant. Could you shake something loose in there?"

And on this company's website, there are, naturally, dozens of testimonials. Poor testimonial women, most of them don't have last names.

Is it because the doctors are protecting their patients' privacy or are they just not printing last names because it was hard enough to make up 40 first names?

And, it all goes way beyond massage.

One study even states that women, oh by the way, also experienced heightened sexual pleasure after having done the massage therapy. Why not? May as well throw that in. Not only will you get pregnant after 8 years of trying, your husband's suddenly a superstar in bed... after 12 years of trying.

The entire therapy includes nutrition, supplements,massage, acupressure (I think a weatherman comes in to do that last one.)

I was reading intently until they mentioned: Herbal tampons. Wow, does that sound itchy.  More uncomfortable, even, than boy shorts, if that's possible. I'd be afraid that every time I uncrossed my legs on the bus, someone would say: "Why do I keep smelling potpourri?"

Listen, I gotta go. I'm an investigative reporter this week. There's work to be done. I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

"Get Pregnant Quick!" Schemes (Monday)

I'm the first to admit it: I'm sometimes naive. I've worked at jobs where I thought a coworker was "high-spirited" all the time, until someone savvier than I  relieved me from my fog by pointing out that they were just "high" (occasionally on spirits) all the time.      I also get confused a lot:  I still can’t tell the difference between Melanie Griffith and Meg Ryan or, for that matter, Dennis Quaid and Kevin Costner. 

For over a year, I thought the singer, Eve and Serena Williams were the same person. Then, when I finally thought I had it sorted out, they both launched fashion lines and got me all mixed up again.

But for things that really matter to me, I'm aware. And I don't like people who peddle "Get Pregnant Quick" schemes. 

The lowest of low-lifes, as far as I'm concerned, are people who take advantage of others at their most vulnerable moments.

Anyone who salivates at the thought of selling some worthless trash bag full of  false hope to a couple desperately trying to have a baby is despicable.

Welcome to the Internet at its worst: Where infectious bacteria can fester and flourish. Where slime can peddle their crap to a million people in the blink of an eye.  

We saw a lot of these humanless humanitarians during 9-11. For a fee, they would promise to help people find out what happened to their loved ones, or help them get benefits for their tragic loss. A few actually pretended they were in mourning to get compensated for loved ones they never lost because they never existed.

So, every few years these (I'm showing great restraint, I think. I've gone several paragraphs and haven't typed "scum bags" once..and you know I've wanted to) low-lifes crawl back out from under their rocks and have another scheme up their louse-infested sleeves.

So, this week we'll focus on those "Get Pregnant Quick" Schemes. And don't feel ashamed if you've tried or thought about trying one of them. These people are good.

If they weren't, they couldn't make a buck. And making a buck is their number one through eight thousand top priorities.  There's a lot of money to be made in this world and a lot more if you have no morals.   

So, like I said: I get confused a lot.

I only found out a few months ago that Mark Walberg who hosts Antiques Roadshow isn’t the Mark Wahlberg from New Kids On the Block.

I couldn’t picture the Roadshow guy in his underwear on a billboard in Times Square. And I couldn’t picture Marky Mark wearing a suit and tie and talking about pottery, but I still couldn't process that they were two totally different people.

But I'll do my best this week to stay lucid long enough to steer you clear of what I consider to be "Get Pregnant Quick" schemes run by people with B.S. degrees... and I think you know: I don't mean Bachelor of Science.

And if you know of any: Do tell!!

Listen I gotta go. My husband just came home with flowers and I have to find out why. I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.