Hoax Museum Blog: Body Manipulation

iPhone Thumb-Reduction Surgery — The North Denver News reports that big-thumbed Thomas Martel, of Bonnie Brae, Colorado, has had his thumbs surgically altered, thanks to a "revolutionary new surgical technique known as 'whittling,'" in order to make it easier for him to use his iPhone:
"This is really, on the edge sort of stuff," explains Dr. Robert Fox Spars, who worked on developing the procedure. "We're turning plastic surgery from something that people use in service of vanity, to a real tool for improving workplace efficiency." The procedure involved making a small incision into both thumbs and shaving down the bones, followed by careful muscular alteration and modification of the fingernails. While Martel's new thumbs now appear small and effeminate in comparison to his otherwise very large hands, he says he can still lift "pretty much anything I could lift before the surgery - though opening spaghetti sauce jars has been a problem. That was a big surprise."
The North Denver News does not appear to be a spoof newspaper, like The Onion, which would be the easiest explanation for this story, but I'm calling hoax on it anyway.

Who are these people: Thomas Martel and Dr. Robert Fox Spars? Except for references to them related to this story, I can't find any record of them in a search engine, or a directory listing. You would think that such a cutting-edge plastic surgeon would be listed somewhere. Nor can I find any other stories written by the author of the piece, "James Benfly."

Plus, the surgical procedure itself sounds absurd. I've heard of women having surgery to narrow their feet, to allow them to look better in high heels. But surgery to allow someone to use an iPhone more easily? I'm not buying it. My guess is that the North Denver News threw in a joke story to keep their readers entertained.

Update: The North Denver News has admitted the story was a hoax, and they list some of the points they were trying to make:
that U.S. society accepts plastic surgery and decorative deformation of the human body for vanity, but not other reasons (consider the Bonds steroid stories); that technology has become a new cult phenomena, in which items are praised or ridiculed based upon tribal allegiances instead of functionality and performance (and we are members of the Cult of the Mac- iPhone division); and we like to pretend that some of our writers have a sense of humor.
I've got to say (as I give myself a pat on the back) that I called this one pretty much exactly right. But it's amazing how many newspapers took this story totally at face value without questioning it at all.
Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2007.   Comments (12)

F-Cup Cookies — image Over the years I've posted about quite a few dubious bust-enhancing products. There's Bolibao, a pill that supposedly transfers fat from a woman's thighs to her breasts; breast-enlarging ringtones; and in Hippo Eats Dwarf I wrote about Bust-Up chewing gum -- chew enough of it and gain an extra bra size (so it's manufacturer claimed).

We can add F-Cup Cookies to this list. The maker of these Japanese cookies claims that eating just two a day will make breasts bigger. Q-Taro.com reports that:
They come in packs of 4 for ¥290, each cookie containing 50mg of that miracle breast enlarging herb Pueraria Mirifica. How many cookies you'll have to eat to get size F Cup is unknown.
I doubt Pueraria Mirifica will have much effect on breast size, but I'm pretty sure that eating enough cookies, of any brand, will eventually cause your breasts to grow larger, whether you're a man or a woman. You may have to eat a LOT of cookies, however, and your stomach and thighs will get larger as well.
Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2007.   Comments (16)

Madonna’s Arms — What in the world has happened to Madonna? The Daily Mail published these photos of her, taken "as she left her private members club in London's Soho to attend a business meeting," clutching a large designer bag. The sinewy appearance of her arms is attributed to "use of 'miracle' machine - The Power Plate," which apparently is some kind of vibrating platform offering "the same benefits of an hour-long sweaty gym workout in just 15 minutes with the machine burning the calories for you." Sure, it lets you get a full workout in just 15 minutes, but unfortunately it also turns you into a walking skeleton.

At first I thought the photo of Madonna's arms may have been photoshopped, like the Too Skinny images, but we'll have to take the word of the Daily Mail's photographer that the pictures are real. (via J-Walk)

Related post: Ann Coulter's hands

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2007.   Comments (24)

Pickled Person — Robert Brewington was kind enough to forward me the following job listing. My email program initially flagged the message as potential junk mail, but after I looked at it more closely I realized it wasn't spam. Instead, it's a very tempting job lead.

The listing, posted by the Circus of Horrors on the British government's Job Centre site, reads:
Pickled Person
Applicants should be flexible, and happy to work in confined spaces, as one of the acts will involve climbing into a Perspex box with very little room.
According to an article in Gazette Live, it's a real job offer. The Circus of Horrors "took the wacky step of advertising the position in local Job Centres in the hope that a brave, or foolhardy person, would step forward and take up the challenge."

To see the ad, go to the Jobcentre site, and do a search for reference # STL/58537.

Here's a screenshot of the ad:

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007.   Comments (3)

What is the world record for staying awake? — The London Times reports that Tony Wright of Cornwall recently stayed awake for 266 hours. He was attempting to break the world record of 264 hours awake set by Randy Gardner of San Diego in 1964. Wright was also attempting to demonstrate that, thanks to his "caveman diet" of raw food, he was able to "train his mind in such a way as to stay awake for 11 days and remain coherent and aware of what was going on around him."

The Times then goes on to report the bad news. Gardner didn't actually hold the world record for staying awake. Gardner's record had long since been surpassed by others. So Wright didn't set a new record.

The Times reports that: "The Guinness previous record was for 11½ days, or 276 hours, and was set by Toimi Soini in Hamina, Finland, between February 5 to 15, 1964." However, Soini's record was removed from the Guinness Book of Records in 1989. "It was deleted on the grounds that it could encourage records harmful to health and was unverifiable because of the claims of insomnia sufferers."

Actually, the question of who holds the world record for staying awake is a little more complicated than that, which I know because Gardner's sleep deprivation experiment is one of the experiments I discuss in Elephants On Acid: and Other Bizarre Experiments. I even interviewed Randy Gardner, who still lives in San Diego.

Gardner set his record on January 8, 1964. Two weeks later newspapers reported that Jim Thomas, a student at Fresno State College, beat Gardner's record by staying awake for 266.5 hours. And a month later Soini set the new record. 1964 was a banner year for sleep-deprivation trials.

However, subsequent issues of the Guinness Book of Records report far longer periods of sleep deprivation. The 1978 edition, for instance, states that:
The longest recorded period for which a person has voluntarily gone without sleep is 449 hr (14 days 13 hours) by Mrs. Maureen Weston of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire in a rocking chair marathon on 14 Apr.-2 May 1977. Though she tended to hallucinate toward the end of this surely ill-advised test, she surprisingly suffered no lasting ill effects.
Ironically, I don't believe Randy Gardner's record ever did make it into Guinness. Gardner reports that "I did not get listed in Guiness as I missed the publication date." However, Gardner's record is the most frequently cited because it was (and probably still is) the most scientifically rigorous long-term human sleep-deprivation study, since Gardner was monitored by Dr. William Dement of Stanford University.

The overall problem with determining the record for the longest a person has stayed awake is that people take "microsleeps" without being aware of it. To really determine if a person has been constantly awake you'd need to record their brainwaves throughout the experiment. As far as I know, such a study has never been done.
Posted: Sat May 26, 2007.   Comments (208)

Centrifuge Growth Treatment — Why do people fall for stuff like this?
A woman is suing a Tokyo-based chiropractor over pricey but ineffective treatments that involved spinning her in a centrifugal device to make her taller... The chiropractic center told her the treatments using centrifugal force would make her taller at a cost of 1.05 million yen per 1 centimeter gained... According to the suit, the center said her leg bones had grown by a little over 3 cm, showing X-rays taken before and after the treatments. The woman argues the center allegedly manipulated the X-rays and that its explanations lack medical credibility.
I think 1.05 million yen is around $9000. It would have been a lot cheaper for her to have found a centrifuge ride at an amusement park. Of course, the chiropractor can defend himself by claiming that he was just pulling her leg.
Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2007.   Comments (6)

Wife Fattening — Over at the Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society, a clip was posted from the 1960s "shock-umentary" Mondo Cane (meaning "World of Dogs"). The film was a collection of all kinds of examples of bizarre human behavior from around the world. In this scene the Melanesian custom of wife fattening is shown. The narration (in spanish in the clip) says:
We are at Tabar, the largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago, where, by tradition, the most beautiful women of the tribe are locked up in strong cages similar to those we've seen in Strasbourg to fatten geese and they get filled with tapioca until they reach at least 120 kilos. Then, they will be offered as wives to the village's dictator, Utame Alunda, famous all over the islands for his physical power and his odd personality. The fattening process goes from 3 to 6 months, meanwhile, Utame Alunda didn't remain idle. These are some of his most recent children, that he loves to show to the foreigners in this dance, as a proof of his virility. This is his last spouse: eight children and one hundred thirty kilos. This is his favorite wife. Ten children and 150 kilos. And this is the great chief Alunda: 27 children and 34 kilos.
There's been some discussion over at the Athanasius Kircher Society about whether this is real. As far as I can tell, it is. The maker of Mondo Cane was accused of staging footage, and taking customs wildly out of context, but most of the material was true. After all, there's no shortage of bizarre human behaviors in the world. And, as far as I know, Melanesian culture did, in the past, include the custom of wife fattening. The BBC has an article about wife-fattening in current day Mauritania. Different part of the world, but same idea. Warning: the clip shows some bare-breasted island women, in case that's a problem for anyone at work or elsewhere. Nothing you wouldn't see on the National Geographic channel, however.

Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2006.   Comments (17)

Quick Links: Fake Bill Bills, Vampire Teeth, etc. —
Fake Bill
Man arrested for trying to pass a fake "Bill" bill: "The bill was unmistakably fake due to the fact that the ink was running on the bill, the president's face was missing and for the president's name, it had the name Clinton on it," said Deputy Nathan Stephens. About time a Clinton bill has surfaced. We've already seen too many of those phony Bush Bills.

Case of the Inhaled Vampire Tooth
Because of Halloween this news story has been going around. Back in 1995 Josh Anderson accidentally inhaled a fake vampire tooth. But doctors couldn't find anything. Sixteen years later "A bronchoscopy produced a mass of granulated tissue surrounding a perfectly intact vampire tooth, about as long as a thumbnail."

Pop Culture is Home of Hoaxes
The Sacramento Bee ran an article about hoaxes, in honor of Halloween, and called me up for a quick phone interview. The article requires registration, but here's the part where I'm featured: "Our attention span is small because there's such a mass of information available." Alex Boese, author of "Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes," agrees. "(Mass media) makes this a ripe time for getting fooled," Boese says, on the phone recently from San Diego. The good news? Mass media "also makes it easier for us to debunk (hoaxes)," he says.

image Spooky Lens Aberration
From a Worth1000 thread: A friend of mine took this photo whilst walking through a wooded area in Scotland recently. No, there was no mist or smoke around. Anyone out there got any logical explanation for the misty visage in the bottom left? (Thanks, Kathy)

Freshman 15 is real
According to the legend of the Freshman 15, college students typically gain 15 pounds during their first year. Brown University researchers have now determined that this is almost true: "According to research presented last week, the "freshman 15" might be more real than previously thought -- although the actual weight gained by freshman is more likely to be between five and 10 pounds." By the time I graduated from college I had gained almost 30 pounds. I went from 170 to 200. But I lost the weight pretty quickly.
Posted: Wed Nov 01, 2006.   Comments (17)

Quick Links: Magic Goats, etc. —
Murdered goat turns into man
Here's an original alibi: What I killed was a goat, Officer. Then that goat magically transformed into my brother. I'd like to see this excuse appear in an episode of CSI.

Man, 29, passes for toddler
Mark Coshever flew from Britain to Amsterdam using his two-year-old daughter's passport. Airline staff never noticed. He must have a babyface.

Fifth grader generates glass pieces from her head
"The phenomenon started when Sarita fainted one day after which she began to bleed from the forehead and a sliver of glass came out. However, the wound healed soon after that, leaving no scars." She's a sure bet at the school talent show.

Blind man claims Hitler paintings are fake
It's not the controversy I'm interested in as much as the idea of a blind art critic. He decided the pictures were fake by getting "somebody to write the signatures from the Jeffery’s paintings on a bit of paper, with my hand gently leaning over theirs."

Germany's Declaration of Surrender for sale
Chuck Loesch claims to have the first official declaration of Germany's surrender. And he's trying to sell it on eBay for $100,000. It's a teletype message that reads "Germany has just uncoditoinally surrendered." (Spelling mustn't have been their strong suit.) Just one problem. The message is dated April 28. Germany surrendered on May 7.
Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006.   Comments (15)

Quick Links: Giant Gnome, etc. — Giant Gnome
Maria Reidelbach's Gnome Chomsky is aiming for a Guinness record for tallest gnome, at a whopping 13 feet, 6 inches tall.

Woman Finds Husband's Secret - Female Hormones
Catherine Everett was surprised when she walked into the bathroom, only to find her husband admiring his new breasts.

Coming soon, allegedly...

Teenager Sends his Ex-company 5 Million Hoax Emails
David Lennon was annoyed when he was fired from his job. So he sent 5 million hoax emails over the course of a week, quoting The Ring. He was given a two-month curfew order and fitted with an electronic tag.
Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2006.   Comments (6)

Quick Links: Breasts! —
The following links are all "safe for work." I had a bunch of breast-related links accumulating in my bookmarks folder, so I figured I would lump them all together.

Bare-Breasted Statue Gets Cover-Up
image Police speculate it was a prankster who put a bra on the statue of "Mother Iowa" outside the Iowa Capitol. Though, to be specific, it was a faux bra: "'It's not really a bra; it's just two shirts designed to look like that,' said Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Ted Wright. The "bra" was cut off by government workers and thrown away." I'm wondering if John Ashcroft was seen anywhere in the vicinity.

How to spot a boob job
Advice from the Korean chosun.com: Augmented breasts are less flexible, bounce less during exercise, too symmetrical, do not flatten when lying down, etc.

Breasts Implants Stop Shrapnel
Weird, but apparently true: "An Israeli woman's breast implants saved her life when she was wounded in a Hizbollah rocket attack during Israel's war with the Lebanese group, a hospital spokesman said on Tuesday. Doctors found shrapnel embedded in the silicone implants, just inches from the 24-year-old's heart."

Gummy Bear Implants
A new form of breast implant may soon be available to women in the US: gummy bears. "You have probably heard of saline and silicone implants. Now, there's the "gummy bear." That's the name many give to the new cohesive gel implants. "You can literally cut across the implant, squeeze it, and it kind of bulges out just like gummy bear candy would do," said Dr. Mike Zwicklbauer"
Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006.   Comments (13)

Quick Links: Elvis Bounty, etc. —
$3 Million Bounty For Elvis
Seen Elvis lately? If you have you might be eligible for a $3 million reward. Filmmaker Adam Muskiewicz "is offering $3 million to anyone who can provide legitimate proof that The King didn't die." It's a publicity stunt for a movie about Elvis he's releasing next year. For details check out his website: elviswanted.com. I believe that LaMa has been lobbying for quite some time to add an Elvis Sighting Report Page, interfaced with a Google earth map, to the Museum of Hoaxes. Maybe it's time to do it. We'll track him down and win that $3 million!!!

David Copperfield Finds Fountain of Youth
David Copperfield claims to have found a spring on his private resort in the Bahamas that brings dead leaves, bugs, and insects back to life. He thinks it can also vanish away wrinkles. I think it sounds like he's cooking up a scheme to vanish away people's money.

Woman Sues Weather Forecasters
The weather forecast said it was going to be sunny. Instead it rained during Alyona Gabitova's camping trip. That's as good a reason as any to sue.

SlimCam Helps You Shed Weight
imageThe new HP Photosmart R727 digital camera has a "slimcam" setting that allows people to pretend to be skinnier than they really are: "The 'slimcam setting' on the gadget uses high-tech digital trickery to shave a few inches off its subject. Marketed at women, the feature squeezes the picture in the middle, so the main object in focus looks thinner - but its surroundings are left unchanged." Yet another excuse not to diet (as if any more were needed).

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006.   Comments (12)

Quick Links: 3D Crop Circle, etc. —
3D Crop Circle
Seeming to look down on skyscrapers, experts are impressed by what is being touted as the world's first 3D crop circle.

Swiftly followed by:
Pig Circle
A pig-shaped crop circle measuring more than 250m across has been discovered in a field in the English countryside.

Two-faced Kitten
A kitten with two faces has been born in Ohio.

Man Wins Lawsuit Over Decade-long Erection
Charles "Chick" Lennon has won his $400,000 lawsuit after his steel and plastic penis implant went wrong, leaving him with a permanent erection.

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006.   Comments (6)

Quick Links: Banana Phone, etc. —
image Banana Phone
Disguise your mobile phone as a banana. Admittedly a pretty stupid product, and yet I want one. Too bad I'm one of the last people on Earth not to own a mobile phone. (via OhGizmo)

5Lb Fat Replica
image Amazon is selling a "A grossly dramatic replica of 5 lbs. of fat." However, gift wrapping is not available for this item, so you can't send it as a mean gift to someone you don't like. The one reviewer for this item gives it "Bonus points for the realistic blood vessels!" I don't know if this is at all related to the Pet Fat gimmick that someone was marketing a few years ago. (via J-Walk)

Hodag Search
The town of Rhinelander, Wisconsin is holding an open casting call "for people who have the best Hodag stories or "sightings" of the mythical creature." Video of people telling the stories will be used in an upcoming TV ad campaign. For some reason, I have a vision of Ellen Feiss doing these ads: "And the hodag was going, like, bleep-bleep-bleep-bleep."

Digital Beautification
Researchers have developed a "digital beautification" algorithm that, when applied to a photograph of a human face, can make that face look "more attractive in just a few minutes without significantly altering the person's appearance." The algorithm and software was developed by Tommer Leyvand of Tel Aviv University in Israel. My problem when anyone takes my picture is my complete inability to smile on command for the camera. If I try to fake a smile I get a maniacal grimace look. If this algorithm could do anything to fix that, I'd definitely use it.
Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006.   Comments (12)

Foot Myths —

image: bastet
The Xenna Corporation has issued a press release in which they detail a number of widely circulated myths about feet. These include:

• If a person's second toe is longer than the others, they are dependable, conservative and keep their emotions in check.
• If a person's third toe is bigger than the others, they're hot-headed and have a temper.
• If a person has long toes, they're among the thinkers of the world.
• If a person's feet are wide, they're a hard worker and have strong family values.
• If a person's feet are narrow, they're shy and quiet.
• If a person has webbed feet (a hereditary trait), they're the life of the party and would make a good salesperson or entertainer.

I have incredibly wide feet (size quadruple E), which makes it very hard for me to find shoes that fit. For instance, New Balance are the only brand of sneakers I can wear. None of the other sports-shoe manufacturers, such as Nike, make shoes that will fit mutant feet like mine. According to the myths, this would make me hard working, which I'm reluctant to say is false, though I do have a strong tendency to procrastinate. This entire website is the product of my procrastination.

Of course, Xenna coyly omits the greatest foot myth of all: that there's a relationship between foot size and penile length. This myth was actually investigated by Canadian researchers Jerald Bain and Kerry Siminoski, who published their results in the Annals of Sex Research (vol. 6, no.3, 1993. p.231-5). Using a sample size of 63 men, they determined that there was only a very weak relationship between foot size and penis length. They concluded "there is no practical utility in predicting penis size from foot size or height." Their research won them a 1998 IgNoble prize in the field of Statistics.
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006.   Comments (25)

Paris Bans Going Fake Topless on Fake Beach —
Status: Weird news
Five years ago the City of Paris trucked in sand to create a two-mile long fake beach along the banks of the Seine. Now, despite the fact that women go topless on all the real beaches in France, Paris has made it illegal for women to be topless on this fake beach. Nor can they fake being topless:
If women are topless, or if they fake it and look topless, they are now banned from the fake beaches and they are told that they have to go to the real beaches to be fake. In true French fashion , wearing nothing is defined as wearing indecent clothing. An official from the Paris City Hall, and a sports official at that, Pascal Cherki told the French newspaper Le Parisien that indecent clothing could have led to temptations and dangerous behavior on the banks of the river.
I understand that merkins are used to simulate the fake bottomless look. But I was less aware of a fake topless look. They must be talking about flesh-colored pasties. Or flesh-colored bikinis? Or are they talking about those stupid t-shirts people sometimes wear that have a fake naked upper torso (of a man or woman) printed on them?
Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2006.   Comments (4)

Garage Door Opener Triggers Priapic Response —
Status: Old joke
The Register has posted a transcript of a BBC radio call-in show during which a man phoned up claiming to have a highly unusual medical problem. Following an operation in Turkey to treat his impotence, the man now finds that every time his neighbor opens the garage door, he gets an uncontrollable erection:
CALLER: But what is happening now is every time my neighbour comes back in their 4 x 4, I get an erection.
HOST: Good Lord.
CALLER: This is embarrassing. It's a big problem.
HOST: Have you been to see your doctor about it?
CALLER: The problem is I had this done in Turkey, using equipment that is not known in this country. I don't like it because every time his car pulls in I can't leave the house.
HOST: (Laughing) I'm afraid that it sounds funny as well. I know it's not funny for you.
CALLER: It's not funny for me, Roger, when I can't leave the house because I'm walking around with a big erection.
I'm sure I'm giving this more thought than it deserves, because there's no way it's not a joke. I'm not aware of any bionic penile implants that could be activated by the radio frequency that a garage-door opener uses. (And I actually did some research into strange penis implants in the course of writing chapter two in Hippo Eats Dwarf... the one about fake body parts... but I never came across anything like that.)

Update: David Emery immediately identified this as an old joke whose history has already been traced in FoafTale News. Apparently Bob Hope used a similar joke in his routine, saying that his neighbor got a new pacemaker, but now every time he made love his garage door opened. As the joke circulated through popular culture, the pacemaker turned into a penile implant that was activated whenever the garage door opened. This version has been seen in the Weekly World News (August 5, 1997, p. 58) and Fortean Times (68:13).
Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2006.   Comments (9)

No Scruf —
Status: Viral Marketing Campaign
image I've received a few emails asking me for info about noscruf.org. It appears, on the surface, to be a site created by the NO SCRUF organization, which stands for "National Organization of Social Crusaders Repulsed by Unshaven Faces." It's supposedly a growing coalition of women who have vowed not to shave until men start shaving. Their website, which features lots of photos of hirsute models (obviously photoshopped, or using glue-on hair), proclaims: "Let's end the trend of prickly, scratchy, stubbly faces. We're not going to shave until men do." Last week a No Scruf protest rally was also held in New York's Herald Square featuring TV stars Kelly Monaco and Brooke Burke.

It's pretty easy to figure out that this isn't a real grassroots movement of stubble-hating women. It's a viral marketing campaign dreamed up by Gillette. I figured this out by doing a quick search for domain name info about noscruf.org. Turns out the site's name was registered by Procter & Gamble and the site itself is hosted on servers owned by Gillette. They didn't even try to hide this information.

As for No Scruf's message, I hate shaving, so despite Gillette's efforts to convince me otherwise, I'm keeping my stubble.
Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006.   Comments (19)

Fake Muscle Suits (all the rage in India) —
Status: Weird News
The Times of India reports that fake muscle suits are the latest fashion trend in India :
Made of a combination of spandex and rubber, this suit replete with biceps, washboard abs and killer pectorals can be worn under T-shirts, giving the wearer a vicarious thrill of having a 'to-die-for' upper body. And these 'made in Bangkok/Hong Kong/Taiwan' suits are selling like hot cakes from stores that are stocking them... With each suit retailing for anything between Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500, the suit is the most indemand quick muscle fix not to mention a great (albeit 'deceitful') way of bowling the ladies over!
As long as the guys keep their clothes on, I guess these suits might fool some people. But as soon as they remove their clothes, they'll be exposed as a phony. That kind of seems to defeat the purpose.

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006.   Comments (13)

Bolibao - The Breast-Plump Pill —
Status: Beauty Product Scam
image Chinese women are reportedly flocking to buy Bolibao ('Stay Fit' in English), a pill that, according to its manufacturer, can transfer body fat from a woman's hips to her breasts. Therefore it supposedly slims your hips and boosts your bra size at the same time. It's being heavily marketed on Chinese TV despite the fact that a) it doesn't work, and b) it causes a variety of negative side effects. The brazenness of the scam is pretty remarkable. The Shanghai Daily reports:
A lot of customers were attracted by the advertisements and bought the pills, which cost about 900 yuan (US$113), for one treatment period. But later, hundreds of customers complained to the company because the pills didn't have any effect. A woman, whose alias is Beibei, said she had some acne on her face after using the pills for a month, but her breasts size didn't increase. When she called the company, the salesperson congratulated her and said the acne was a sign that her breasts would soon begin to grow, as a second "growth spurt." The salesperson even persuaded her to buy another box to consolidate the effect. Beibei spent 3,000 yuan in total on the "magic" pills, but it only left her with sore breasts and caused her an internal secretion disorder. Beibei said the models in its advertisements moved her because they had obvious changes after taking the pills. But the study showed that the models were all hired by the company for 30 yuan a day and their images were graphically modified.
The organization Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia further reports that:
The advertising claim is incredible: it will move fat from thighs and stomach to the breasts and thus make them bigger! Unfortunately for consumers who believe this sort of thing, the product does nothing of the sort. In fact, it more likely than not simply leads to vomiting.
You can see an ad (in Chinese) for this stuff here.
Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2006.   Comments (4)

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