… that get to us. Another public loo closed. The removal of that drinking fountain from the park, obliging mum to fork out a fiver on fizzy drinks for the kids at the privatised cafe by the boating lake. These thefts of the commons can inspire outrage more, by their very mundanity, than the big utility sell-offs or creeping marketisation of the NHS.
Likewise the environment. Earlier this month a NHS hearing specialist advised nightly olive oil in my left ear. Poundstretcher, she told me, sell the stuff in a droppered bottle. I couldn’t find it. But over the road, Boots were selling this 10ml bottle for £5.99.
£599 per litre? Well I do like the spray action. Maybe when it’s empty I can refill with something from Lidl? I look more closely at the bottle’s construction.
Nope. The whole thing is a sealed unit. Breach it and the spray action is kaput. Price aside, once the contents are used up, bottle and fancy squirter will join millions more in our landfill sites.
Not to worry though. Boots have a great Environmental Policy.
I suspect there are legal reasons why the bottle is sealed. Selling a product for medicinal use comes under very different legislation from food use. I doubt that you could just put some extra virgin olive oil in a little bottle and sell it labelled as for use inside the ear without having to cross a lot of i’s and dot a lot of t’s. So, while it may suit Boots, or whoever, it is probably not entirely their choice. There’s nothing to stop you buying a small bottle of culinary olive oil, and a glass pipette (available online for <£2) and using that in your ears. The official product is no doubt sterile, filtered, and of a more ear friendly viscosity, but in essence its the same stuff. My worry would be that the impurities in the oil would make the wax issue worse rather than better. But, hey, it's your body…
It is. And it was my NHS hearing specialist who advised that ordinary grade olive oil was fit for this purpose, and that Poundstretcher/Poundland sold it in a droppered bottle.
You’re right though to present an alternative explanation to mine for Boots’s product. I write from time to time on confirmation bias. Whether or not hygiene/legal requirements are the driving motive in this case, it was wrong of me not to consider the possibility.