Psych Central


Touchless Soap: Marketing To Your Fear of Germs
I’m not sure when the scale tipped in the other direction, but there is a whole generation of children growing up who’ve been made fearful of the potential threat of germs by well-meaning but over-protective parents.

Germs are indeed potentially harmful to our health. But so is being driven around in a car to soccer or dance practice. And while most germs won’t kill you, many automobile accidents will.

Because germs are everywhere, in virtually every environment you live or work in, it’s silly to believe you can somehow “escape” them (short of living in a clean room). The key is to take reasonable measures to help protect yourself from germs — but not to give into some irrational fear of them.

That’s why touchless soap dispensers are just plain silly and have far more to do with marketing to our irrational fear of germs than doing much of anything to actually help us wash our hands better.

3 Comments to
Touchless Soap: Marketing To Your Fear of Germs

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  1. Pay attention to TV and any media source. Marketing has one of two approaches. It either makes you afraid of something if you don’t buy their product OR it sells sex. Insurance is fear. Fear if the democrats or republicans get power. fear germs. Fear not having a safe car. Fear not having money. Fear spending too much. Produce a product that can invoke fear of something (say not getting an erection) and also is selling sex and you have a billion dollar product. The reason this culture is so messed up is that we are bombarded with irrational fear nonstop from the moment we take our first breath. That is no way to live. The only thing I fear, is fear itself.

  2. Touchless soap dispensers control how much product to dispense. Frequently they give more than I would select myself. That sells much more product.

    Counter-intuitively, the ~30% lighter paper towels are insufficient for satisfactory drying – so we use two of them. We aren’t being green and saving the Earth by 30%, we’re wasting 40% more than we would if they made a single towel as effective as it was before it was made thinner!

  3. I always thought the soap dispenser thing was pointless too. The automatic faucets and paper towels/hand driers are a good idea at least.

    But then again, if a public restroom as a door (which most, but not all, do), then you’re touching the door handle inevitably anyway. I’ve noticed the doors almost NEVER “push out” from the restroom side–instead, you have to pull the door open to leave (and it’s always like this in restaurants where you’re eating!). So there you have it, more germs by the people who don’t wash or wash ineffectively. Perhaps they should all install hand sanitizer pumps right outside public restrooms, especially in restaurants? It might be overkill, but I’d use it!

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