May 11, 2012

Kingston Police Doubles Down on Power Balance

The amount of disappointment I have towards the decisions of the Kingston Polices choice to promote Power Balance is hard to match, but the overwhelming condemnation of their choice should inspire a lot of hope that at least next time they will do a background check into products they put on their website and spend uniformed time selling. 

Kingston Polices twitter responses to Matt Watson shows why there isn't much hope for optimism yet though. Here is a copy of the twitter conversation between the two:

Matt Watson: you're selling those bracelets knowing full well they're advertising false benefits. Shame!

Kingston Police: Oh my, we've already addressed this. Don't endorse any purported effects. Most buy b/c they simply like the look, goes to good cause

Matt Watson: pardon the pun but what a cop-out. Selling them at all is endorsement and contributes to the perception they're effective.

Kingston Police: Pun pardoned. Raised $1,000s for , only you & 1 other has complained in 6 months, selling candy bars worse effect.

Matt Watson: that just goes to show people perceive them as legitimate and don't question the pseduo-science.

Kingston Police: Thanks Matt. No one is forcing you or anyone else to buy them. You're welcome to simply donate $10 to the Special Olympics instead.

Thanks to Matt for arguing pretty well in the 140 character space. The logic and ethics lying behind whoever is representing Kingston Police is completely perverse, they are doubling down with their chips on stupid. Advertising and providing legitimacy for a product that is actively deceiving its buyers was bad enough, but it is only worsened by the horrible logic used to defend their choice. 

There are 3 things that stick out from what was tweeted.

1. By putting a disclaimer Kingston Police can excuse itself as endorsing Power Balance:

This is a complete joke, first of all they advertise effects on their website which includes the statement that the benefits of negative ions (The 'good ions' that are in the Power Balance Band) are  higher levels of focus and concentration, increased feeling of serenity and well being, improved strength, flexibility and balance, elevated relaxation of body and mind, restful sleep, lessened recovery times and an injury or workouts, improved athletic performance, and relief from chronic joint and muscle pain. 

Which is a false list of effects of negative ions and not Power Balance, so even if Kingston Police doesn't support the product it is unclear if they think that the effect of negative ions are as listed above.

Just having to write that list makes me want to look for some chronic joint relief. At least in that state of mind maybe I could begin to understand how listing the benefits of a product on a police webpage and having uniformed officers selling Power Balance bracelets doesn't equate to an endorsement. 

2. It's better than selling candy bars:

Well I'd disagree that supporting a product that actively deceives the buyer is better than selling a product that isn't healthy, the whole thing is a false choice. The choice wasn't between a candy bar or power balance, as Kingston Police points out in their last tweet that says they could, and can still, take donations without the bracelet. 

Personally I wish they had sold Placebo Bands, which have the same hologram that impressed the Police and comes 100% Bullshit free and are a non-profit product.

3. If nobody complains it's alright:

Only you and one other has complained in 6 what? I guess if a tree murders someone in the forest it doesn't make a sound. Unfortunately, right and wrong doesn't rely on complaints, and whoever is representing the Police surely acts this way in most situations, but from some reason has compartmentalized this instance. 

It's disappointing when you point something out that is clearly wrong and the person just sticks with what they believed before, a phenomena that Chris Mooney does a great job at pointing out in his Point of Inquiry interview

I do remain hopeful that given increased attention and complaints that the Kingston Police will stop advertising Power Bands on their website and stop selling it in uniform.

Feel free to email Chris Mcfie and point it the hypocrisy if you see it in person, although that may be for the brave, as uniformed officers don't have a history of responding well to criticism, no matter how well founded.

Thanks for reading,
-the moral skeptic


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. There was a comment here that claimed that police website was a scam, but not something created by the police, but by someone using the police identity.

    For numerous reasons I find this hard to believe, and deleted the comment. I will look into this though.

  3. I've wasted my time and looked into the subject again and came to the same conclusions.

    I don't know where Small Town Skeptic got his information, but I think that he was either wrong or making some kind of joke that I didn't get.

  4. I have purchased 2 of these bands, the officer that sold them too me, acknowledged the facts that there is no scientific prove of the Powerband claims. I have found I sleep better at night, since I started wearing it. Maybe that's just because I donated $20 to a good cause?

  5. Um..well there is the expectation effect where if you pay for something and expect it to do something, you generally justify the money spent by thinking that it works better than it actually does.

    This is like when someone gets the same water but is charged different prices or told different things and it changes how they experience the water.

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