The Hidden Dangers of Freebies

24 Oct

This morning as I walked out of the station in the herd of other commuters, I spotted people huddling under a brightly coloured beach umbrella, handing something out to passers-by. This is not an unusual occurrence; at least once or twice a year there are people handing out freebies at rush hour. I’ve had chocolate bars, drinks, and even a Gillette razor. This time it was a bottle of Powerade Energy, berry flavour. I took one and made my cheery (yes, that’s sarcastic) Monday morning way to work. I had a quick squiz at the ingredients as I was opening it – natural flavours, caffeine, vitamins and serious-sounding minerals, no doubt designed to do you lots of good. Fair enough. It wasn’t until halfway through the morning, and halfway through the bottle, that I noticed all the health warnings: Not suitable for children. Not suitable for pregnant women. Not suitable for those sensitive to caffeine. Not intended to be consumed in high quantities. Ulp! The point of the drink is to provide energy for high-intensity activities – so of course a bunch of desk-bound commuters are the ideal candidates. The drink was quite nice, I have to say, and if it weren’t for the dire warnings, maybe I would have drunk it again. As it is, though, I’ll probably stick to something safer – like lighter fluid.

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