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Article by Arnie Gitomer

Are Supplements "Unregulated." . . . some reporters just don't listen, or prefer not to!

Have you tried to talk to somebody, only to find that they just refuse to actually listen to what you are saying? I find it happens all the time. Sometimes people refuse to listen because they don’t want to hear what you have to say. They may have their own agenda, their own position, or may feel aggrieved in some way, and do not want to expose themselves to opposing viewpoints. They either already know their position might not be tenable, or they do not really want to find out.

I’ve seen example of this quite often when two people "argue" about religion. The argument can go back and forth, perhaps increasingly heated, with each party making what they feel are decisively convincing points, but getting nowhere.

I’ve also seen examples of this when trying to handle customer complaints. Just recently, I tried to communicate with a customer who was irate because he tried to place and order over our internet site, and we never received it. He called the store, and insisted he had done everything properly, citing a copy of the order he had printed from the web site.

I apologized for his difficulty. I carefully explained that in almost every instance of this type, the cause is a failure to hit the "confirm" button at the bottom of the order page. I further explained that when you do so, you receive a totally different page, one that says your order is confirmed, and thanking you, etc. I also pointed out that we send a confirmatory email when we receive the order.

My reason for taking the time to do this, of course, was to provide him with various tests to help determine whether or not he did indeed hit the "confirm" button. Did he see the second, confirmation screen? Did he get the email? Does he now understand that a print copy of an order with an "order id" number is not, as he insists, proof that he did hit the "confirm" button.

Well, he paid no attention at all to my attempt to explain what might have happened. Instead, he sent me a terse, somewhat nasty reply. How dare I imply that he doesn't "know how to hit the 'confirm' button?"

He either didn’t listen to my comments, or chose to ignore them. He had his own agenda. He was inconvenienced, and it had to be somebody else’s fault, not his. He promised to never do business with us again.

Now, there was a time when I would have continued to pursue the discussion with this gentleman. But not anymore. It would be a waste of my time. Why? Because he is not interested in listening. He is only interested in asserting his opinion, to make a statement. We see this all the time with politicians–they rarely actually answer question. Instead, they use the question merely as an excuse to restate their position.

And the same thing happens when you read articles about nutritional supplements. I have complained many times in the past about this tendency on the part of authors and reporters to characterize the supplement industry as "unregulated." It happens over and over again, even though it is totally false and misleading.

Just last week, at a presentation made at the American Headache Society's annual meeting in Chicago, the mantra was repeaded again:

"In the U.S. herbal products are not standardized or regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)," said study author Dr. Carla Rubingh of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. . ."

She is wrong. Unquestionably wrong.

The gist of this report, by the way, was that "Herbal Products May Interfere with Migraine Drugs" and that doctors should be more aware of this, communicate better with patients about what herbs and/or other supplements they take, etc. Rubingh states that "These supplements need to be recognized as medications. Patients need to tell their physicians they are taking them, and physicians need to ask if they are taking them and know how<