Friday, May 10, 2013

Pocketbook Pleasing Pit Perspiration Prevention

Do you like to save money? I sure do. I like to save on my necessities as much as possible so I can use that savings on fun stuff.

Within the past year or so my family switched to the new clinical strength antiperspirant/deodorants in order to combat the massive amount of pit sweat that comes with living in a humid environment.

Two of our favorites are from Gillette and Secret. They both contain a whopping 20% of aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex gly, the active ingredient. At an average cost of about $9 each, depending on the size, that's a lot of pampering for our pits.

During my last shopping trip where pit wipe was on my list, I decided to do a little comparison of these products to see if the extra expense was actually worth it.

I picked at least one of every brand available at my store and looked at the ingredient label. I found that the percentage of active ingredients in regular antiperspirant/deodorants varied from around 16% to 19%, with one exception.

Mitchum Advanced Control for men and for women each contain 20% of aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly. That's the same ingredient and percentage found in our current clinical strength brands. However, the Mitchum brand cost between $3-4 each as compared to $9 for the same size container of clinical strength.

Why isn't Mitchum advertising the crap out of this?! Their product is HALF the price of the clinical strength ones but contains the exact same active ingredient. Maybe they are advertising it and I'm just not aware. I don't watch much TV.

I tossed the Mitchum brands into my cart and brought them home, already planning how I might use the almost $10 I had just saved on armpit maintenance. Jayson hasn't tried his yet but Taylor tried the women's version and is convinced it works even better than Secret Clinical.

If you're buying clinical strength pit wipe for the added protection it provides, consider trying Mitchum if you want that same protection for half the price. I don't work for Mitchum, they don't even know I exist. This is just my personal opinion based on my experience.

I should say that most clinical strength products recommend you apply it at night so that it can form its protective barrier while you sleep. Then the protection is supposed to last through the next day. We use ours in the morning and find that it works just fine.

You should also know that the aluminum in antiperspirant/deodorant products has been linked to breast cancer, Alzheimer's, and renal dysfunction which is something to consider if you freak out about that kind of thing. I really don't.

Mitchum will make your armpits happy as well as your family budget. Everybody wins.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Texas, Public Information, Telemarketers and Singing Butt Monkeys

Dear State of Texas,

You have disappointed and irritated me today. Since I am a native daughter, disappointment and irritation at my beloved state are rare and unpleasant feelings for me which could result in a lot of local stink eye. These stink eye inducing feelings are compounded by the fact that I'm not exactly sure where to direct my irritation because you were unable to tell me. Which irritates me even more.

Last week I applied for a sales tax permit so that I can peddle my wares at local craft shows. I haven't even received my official permit in the mail yet but I'm already receiving an unusually large amount of annoying automated telemarketing calls congratulating me on my new business and offering me everything from free credit card machines to discounted computers. By "unusually large amount" I mean 9 calls within the past 2 hours. I can ignore 3 calls in 2 hours but 9???

Confused as to how this could happen in such a short time, I decided to give you a call. I wasn't exactly sure who to call so I called a hotline number for questions regarding the Public Information Act. You don't actually get to speak to a person when you call that hotline, you only get to leave a message. Which doesn't really make it a hotline now does it? It's more of a luke warm line bordering on a cold line. 

I left a message and shortly thereafter a very grouchy man with the Attorney General's office returned my call. I started explaining my concern to him which I think he only half listened to since he was more focused on telling me that he didn't know anything and I needed to call the Comptroller's Office instead. Then he went on and on about how the Comptroller doesn't make their number prominent enough on the website which he speculated was so they could avoid receiving annoying calls like mine. He didn't actually say my call was "annoying" but he didn't have to. His thoughts were clear. I'm not sure who this man was since all he said was that he's "with the Attorney General's office" but I don't think Greg Abbott would be happy knowing that he's being represented in such a way. When I hung up I was left feeling like the whole Attorney General's office is just one big jerk.

I called the Comptroller's office and was redirected to the Open Records office. A nice lady in that office explained to me that my permit application is considered public information and is posted on this website which is updated weekly. She did confirm that my phone number was not a part of that website and for those companies to get my number they would have to make a written request. 

After talking to her I went to the website and saw that my application was posted today, May 6, 2013. I also saw that my phone number was not included in that information. Open Records Gal said companies had to request my phone number in writing. If that's the case, how were they able to do that and get my number in 1 day? I called her back to find out.

Open Records Gal was away from her desk so I started explaining my concerns to the gal who answered the phone. She said it was her understanding that there was a system in place where as soon as the sales tax permit information is released, it is automatically sent to certain companies, phone numbers and all, without them having to make a formal written request.

Okay, seriously?! For some reason they get to bypass the rules?? The Attorney General's website says that all requests must be submitted in writing. Section 552.223 of The Public Information Act clearly states that all requests for information will be treated uniformly regardless of who makes the request. That means there should be no exceptions, everyone makes the request in writing and pays whatever fees are associated with that request. If these telemarketing companies are abiding by government code, they are seeing my information, requesting it in writing from the Attorney General's office, receiving the requested information and calling me about it all in the same day.

And monkeys might fly outta my butt.

When I expressed my concern about this to the gal on the phone, she asked if I had been directed to the Privacy Officer who handles these situations. When I said no, she gave me the phone number which I immediately called.

The Privacy Officer gal was very nice and was, of course, not much help at all. She reconfirmed that all the information on my sales tax permit application was available as public information and was posted on a website. I told her that I have been to the website and I saw the information that was posted there and there were no phone numbers. When I told her what the last gal said about some companies automatically receiving public information as soon as it is available she said she thought that might be for marketing purposes, to see how much revenue is generated compared to the number of permits issued blah blah blah. The only "marketing" that applies to are the companies who are calling me, trying to get me to buy their junk.

When I asked the Privacy Officer who would be responsible for releasing this information or could confirm if this was actually happening, she had no idea. She's said she's just an attorney who handles privacy issues.

And monkeys wearing top hats singing "Puttin on The Ritz" might fly outta my butt. Sideways. 

Privacy Officer said I could remove my phone number from the public record. A day late and a dollar short. She took my email address and said that someone would email me with information on how exactly to go about that. I just received the email which included contact information for the people in File Maintenance who can remove my number.

Of course by now this whole thing has graduated from a bunch of annoying phone calls to a State-sanctioned violation of government code. The Chief Privacy Officer told me that my information was possibly being used for marketing purposes but the email I received from her office said this in the very first paragraph:
Our office does not sell or market taxpayer information to anyone. Under the Texas Public Information Act, however, a sales tax permit holder’s business name, address and telephone number provided on their permit application must be released to anyone who requests the information.
Liar, liar pants on fire. Or maybe not. If there is a reasonable explanation I would really like to hear it, Texas. Tell me you're not doing what I think you're doing. Call me. I'm sure you can find my number.