Labels lose something in translation

My wife bought me a big bottle of multivitamins the other day. I didn’t take that as an insult, but simply as an early warning. After all, she knows me better than I do.

Here’s the thing. The vitamins were a well-known brand whose very name implies that I should chew just one of them a day. One. A. Day.

Imagine my surprise when I read the label and learned that I should ingest two of those big, gummy rascals every morning.

Had I been scammed? I’m not sure. I did start wondering, though, why they didn’t just combine more vitamin power into each gummy to build it up strong enough to last a full day. Then I would have to take just one each 24 hours. A gummy that big might have choked me, though, making me super-healthy as I lay dying.

There was more bad news on my new diet of vitamins. You see, I turned the bottle around and read on the label about the various vitamins; you know: A, B, B12, C, D, G49, G49, G49 –


But wait — I read the label on the back of the bottle, and it said this: “Do not take these vitamins if you are pregnant, might become pregnant or are breast-feeding.”

These were men’s vitamins!

That’s why my wife had bought them for me. I wasn’t to take them to have a healthy pregnancy. She doesn’t want more children, and I don’t want to ruin this body by nursing.

As soon as I get home, I’m going to call the vitamin folks to find out whether they got their label so wrong because the vitamins rotted their brains. That label does not instill confidence.

What might be written on this Two-a-Day’s line of women’s vitamins? “Do not consume more than three pounds of beef jerky a day, shave your back or watch NASCAR while taking these vitamins”?

Such consumer trickery in the past has led me to call companies when they try to sneak something by me. I remember, for instance, a bottle of “alpine” water I was drinking.

That alpine water was so cold, clear and refreshing — until I read on the label that it had flowed from Tennessee.

“But there are no Alps in Tennessee,” I pointed out after dialing the toll-free number.

“We know,” the woman said tiredly. “We’re using ‘alpine’ as an adjective to mean ‘mountainlike.’ ”

“So it came from the mountains?” I asked.

“No, not really,” she said. “But I said ‘mountainlike’ to imply higher altitude than water found in, say, Death Valley.”

It’s not even worth mentioning the time I called a company that said its flavored raisins were “surprisingly sweet.”

“‘Surprisingly?’” I said. “Sugar is the first ingredient on the list of contents.”

“I know,” the woman said tiredly.

You know, I think she was the same one who sells mountainlike water.

Reach Glynn Moore at

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