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Coffee and miracle lubricants: what’s the connection? Marketing.

Coffee and miracle lubricants: what’s the connection? Marketing.

Coffee is one of those vices in which I do not indulge. Not from any religious objection, mind you – it’s just that I can’t stand the taste of the stuff. I admit to loving the smell of brewing java, but coffee is one of those things that smells a whole lot better than it tastes!

Stay with me, I’ll get to the point.

A number of years ago I knew a district sales manager for one of the major coffee companies. (Coincidentally, his first name was also Grant. Obviously a man of superior intellect, charm, and modesty.) Grant told me that the coffee brand with the largest market share at that time was Folgers, due largely to their “mountain grown” ad campaign.

He commented that the campaign was so much hot air, as all coffee was grown in the mountains – but people had been conditioned to believe that since a) the mountain environment was desirable, and b) only Folgers was grown in the mountains, therefore c) Folgers was the only coffee to buy.

Yes, the mountain environment was desirable, because without it there would essentially be no coffee, but no – Folgers wasn’t the only coffee which was grown there!

His story came back to me this week when I received yet another email from what was obviously a salesman for one of those multilevel marketing (MLM) “miracle lubricant” scams. One of the consistent claims by all such snake oil concerns is that their product “bonds with the metal at the molecular level”, that it is a very desirable thing to do, and only their product does so.

Think “coffee.”

Reality time: all oils bond with metal at a molecular level, because that’s what oils do. Were there no molecular attraction between oil and metal, the oil would simply slide off of the surface to which it was applied. Not drip off, not ooze off, not pour off – slide off with absolutely no trace of itself left behind. No film or residue, not a single atom of the oil would remain. Absolutely nothing.

Of course, that doesn’t happen. Apply any oil to a piece of metal, then turn the metal upside down; the excess oil may drip off, but a layer of slippery liquid is always left stuck to the surface. That is molecular attraction – bonding, if you will – at work.

Those who wear glasses know how difficult it can be to completely rid lenses of even a drop of oil; there always seems to be some that stubbornly refuses efforts at removal. This is because there is a molecular bond between the oil and the material from which the lens is made, and the same thing happens when oil is applied to metal.

Molecular attraction is why the water in your coffee is in liquid form, rather than the elemental hydrogen and oxygen from which it is made. It makes metal alloys possible, and is why lubricants – all of them – work. The companies which claim their product “bonds with the metal at the molecular level” are simply saying that their oil does the same thing that all other oils do.

Admitting that fact wouldn’t sell much oil (or coffee), would it?

-=[ Grant ]=-

  • Posted by Grant Cunningham
  • On March 9, 2009

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