Devlin Brown at the watercooler: Prime your children to avoid quick health fixes
Children should be kept away from Prime Hydration as it’s not a magic elixir
Q: My child begged me to drive to every Checkers within a 30-minute radius to find a bottle of Prime Hydration. I buckled, and he got his selfie with a luminous bottle to show his friends. Have I fed him poison?
Who remembers paying R800 for a bottle of Vat 69 whiskey or R1,200 for a carton of RGs? None of us, obviously, as we did not break any laws during the nonsensical lockdown. I must confess, I once desperately craved Woolies roast chicken but quickly purged myself of such dirty thoughts.
While away for my birthday in January 2021, a special milestone birthday, an establishment in Cape Town — and no amount of torture will make me give up my source — offered me a cup of tea with my burger. The waitress winked and said: “Do you prefer vodka or brandy tea?” And so, as criminally complicit as I was, I sat on the balcony sipping my R100 birthday tea from a pretty porcelain cup — pinky extended.
Then, as if it never happened, our beleaguered president remembered to tell someone to mention something and the disaster was all over. Vat 69’s price dropped 400% and the cigarette extortion came to an end. Nothing was going to stop millions from poisoning themselves.
In the past few weeks, rumours of schoolchildren selling capfuls and empty bottles of Prime Hydration, for up to R100, worked my sons into a rabid frenzy — we need this stuff!
We should thank Checkers for exposing the near-criminal racket that people call supply and demand, but which is more accurately described as frantically selling a magic elixir until everyone notices the emperor’s underwhelming naked body. Sounds a bit like the wellness and fitness supplement industry at large, doesn’t it?
There are, in my understanding, two different drinks. Prime Energy and Prime Hydration (and something they call Hydration Sticks). Prime Energy falls into the category this column discussed a few weeks ago — dangerous levels of caffeine and most certainly not suitable for children, though I’d argue not suitable for anyone.
Social media hype
Prime Hydration is a masterclass in social media hype. Do yourself a favour: the next time you go to Checkers, pick up a bottle of Vitamin Water — which has long been accepted by society and has lived silently on shelves and in homes — and compare the ingredients to Prime Hydration. Frighteningly similar, while Prime has added amino acids and a few other “elixir-sounding” ingredients.
Besides a few shock-value headlines about a school seeking to ban the product or experts raising alarm bells (and then speaking about Prime Energy instead), it will die down and we will have to wait and see what Logan Paul and KSI come up with next to expertly transfer dollars from our pockets to theirs.
Checkers would never have knowingly pulled the biggest marketing coup of the year if it were poison. But that doesn’t mean it is good. As reported recently, there is growing research and concern about supplementing with too many branch-chain amino acids and other such ingredients. The jury is still out though I can tell you for free that just because something is on a shelf, you don’t have to buy and consume it.
This is what we do know: Prime Energy, Red Bull, Monster and the rest should be nowhere near children. Adults can choose to hurt themselves as they please. However, everyone is missing the point.
Rather than trying to find reasons to prove ingredients (which are found all over the place) are harmful at best, and useless at worst, we should really be pursuing another agenda altogether. Let’s teach our children that they don’t need to find magic pills, powders and juices to perform or “get an edge”.
I am in no way calling Prime Hydration a gateway drug to anabolic steroids and blood doping, as that’s ridiculous. What I am doing is calling Prime Hydration a gateway drug to becoming like us. Almost every adult reading this will still believe there’s a magic pill for wellness and weight loss.
If you don’t believe me, walk through the supplement aisle at your local pharmacy. What do they call it? Supply and demand. Take and drink what you want — just remember the house is made of glass.
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