Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Product Testing

As consumers, we are prone to consume stuff.  But have you ever wondered about some of the products that we use on a daily basis?  How safe they are?  How these products might behave if subjected to some external stimuli?  If they were to be used in a manner probably not recommended by the manufacturer?

Have you ever heard of the Consumer Protection Agency?  I think they're the ones responsible for testing the products that we use every day, making sure that they're safe for use.  If they're not, then that's what they should be doing. For the most part, I think that they do a decent job but after all, they are government workers.  And they don't have an unlimited budget.  They can only test for so many different things.  And many of the things that they should test for, well, they get left out.

What sort of things, you may be wondering.

One thing they don't test for-- what if a 500 pound steel ball happens to fall from 100 feet in the air and squarely hits your product, be it a tennis ball, a pair of sneakers, a box of cracker jacks or an automobile.  What happens then? Have you ever seen a commercial touting how well their product stands up to a giant steel ball?  I haven't.

There are all sorts of things like this that they do not test for.  Certainly the most important and the one that we will concern ourselves with is this-- how susceptible is this product to gunfire?

Yes.  You read that correctly.  How well does this product stand up to lead?

This is what we wanted to find out.

But why?  Why on earth would you want to subject different products to this sort of testing? 

Well, for instance, what if you were walking along carrying a can of spray paint and a bad guy jumps out in front of you.  Let's say that the bad guy is holding a 12 gauge and he fires a shot at close range, striking your spray paint squarely in the middle.  What could you expect to happen?

Here's another instance.  What if you're camping out in the boonies, a long way from civilization and you only have one bottle of mustard.  What if one of your buddies gets mad at you and because and only because mustard is your favorite condiment, he pulls out a 12 gauge and shoots it.  Might there be enough left for you to make it through the weekend or will you be forced to shove his head into the fire in revenge?  Don't tell me this thought has never crossed your mind.

These are just some of the questions that need to be answered.  After all, an informed consumer is a smart consumer.
So, we intended to correct this governmental shortcoming and test a few products for ourselves.

Wait a minute.  Isn't scientific testing rather methodical and boring?

Yes it is.  But in the interest of mankind, someone had to do it.

The results were..............  Rather interesting.  Most of the products performed pretty much as expected but there were a couple of surprises.  I guess you can see for yourself.

The first product that we tested was a can of mustard greens.  How well would it stand up to a 500 pound steel ball?  Who knows?  We didn't have a 500 pound steel ball.  We tested it for something else.

Can of mustard greens vs. 12 gauge birdshot

That was certainly interesting wasn't it.  Did it turn out the way you thought it might?

OK, let's say that you don't have a can of mustard greens that you can test for yourself.  All that you possess is one lousy lime.  What might happen to it against the giant steel ball?

Lime vs. 12 gauge birdshot.  Who cares what a lime would do against the steel ball.

OK.  So the pattern is established.  In case you're still looking for a giant steel ball, don't.  You will only confuse yourself.  I wonder what's coming up next?

How about that spray paint I was talking about?  This is 12 gauge 00 buck against black spray paint.

What if an errant 12 gauge slug came zipping through camp and right through your sack of vittles, striking your 5 pound bag of flour?  Might you still be able to make biscuits?

I guess you might.  How bad do you want those biscuits?

How about testing another lime.  OK.  Let's.

The lime did not fare well against birdshot.  Maybe it will do better against 00 buck.

What if someone did shoot a can of shaving creme with a 12 gauge?  Would it still be usable?  Or would you have to shave dry?

How about oats?  If a can of dry oats were suddenly struck by a round of 00 buck, could you still make oatmeal with it?

And what if you were making burritos at night.  What if your only sour cream happened to get hit
By birdshot?
Well, this is what would happen.

OK.  That is all the time we had for product testing on that day.  Now, is there anything that we have learned from our experiences, any lessons that you can take away from this little experiment and apply to your own life?  I hope that there is.

Here are my observations and conclusions.

1.  Done correctly, scientific research is fun
2. As a general rule, food seems to be fairly susceptible to gunfire.  For whatever reason, it just will not tolerate a lot of it.  Perhaps it is time for the manufacturer's to update their packaging to accommodate this.
3. In addition to a lovely mist, when struck squarely with a 12 gauge charge, a can of spray paint gives off a nice secondary explosion.  And this will certainly require further experimentation.
4.  12 year old girls do not make terribly good cameramen.
5.  Now you know what to do with that stash of very old shotgun shells.
6. Shooting stuff is fun.

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