Dear Lola,

I recently saw a few commercials that prompted a riddle my brain hasn’t been able to solve. Paper towel commercials routinely state their product is the best at absorption and toughness. The commercials love to use the word durable like it’s going out of style. However, the commercials only show us the paper towels absorbing liquid. They never demonstrate the toughness! I think they just make up their durability claim knowing we can’t possibly prove them wrong. That’s when my roommate recommended I write to you because you are likely the only one capable of solving this mystery. How exactly do the makers of paper towels know their product is the toughest?


Commercial Conspiracy

Dear Commercial Conspiracy,

Your roommate sounds like a very smart human, I can see why you two are able to cohabitate. You have demonstrated an above average level of intelligence due to your suspicions that a conspiracy surrounds us all. Paper towel companies have tried for years to indoctrinate us to their way of thinking, but finally the masses are standing up and saying ‘No more!’ to the powers that be.

Gone are the days of mindless purchasing on the whim of an advertising madman.

You are correct when you point out that absorbency is exceptionally easy to prove – or so you think. Those advertisers simply put down two same-sized puddles and place a paper towel in each. The untrained human eye devours the speed with which one towel wicks away the moisture. Thus, you are fooled into thinking their brand is the best. And yet, the next company uses the same tactic in their commercial and the human mind doesn’t seem to question the validity of the results.

That’s the real conspiracy theory if you ask me.

However, we’ll focus on the conspiracy theory you’ve wrote in about. Durability and toughness are indeed difficult to prove. In order to perform a suitable experiment, you’ll need to gather up a few plucky adventurers for the testing. Focus on recruiting people who routinely engage in death-defying activities. People who swim with sharks would be a good start. Humans that dive from the top of oceanside cliffs are also acceptable. Rock climbers who refuse to use safety ropes would also serve our purposes, though they may not follow the directions given to them as well as the others. The best candidates for the purposes of our testing are those who jump out of an airplane in the pursuit of fun.

The phrase ‘whim of a madman’ takes on a whole new meaning with this group.

Each person in the test group will be tasked with creating a parachute using one specific brand of paper towels. They cannot mix and match, but must use the brand supplied to them. However, in the interests of as few of them dying as possible, they can work together to create each parachute. If they’re lucky, there will be a parachute engineer in the group. Then, once the towel testers are confident they have created parachutes worthy of jumping out of an airplane, you send them up in the sky.

The parachutist who survives obviously has the winning paper towel brand.

Now, in the event that more than one person makes it to the ground safely – an extremely unlikely scenario, I should point out – you will need to institute the tie breaker round. This round will involve another death-defying act and should only be undertaken once the surviving parachutists have had a nap and their last meal.

Ahem, I mean their dinner, obviously.

The tie breaker round will require both parachutists to create a set of vehicle airbags out of their assigned paper towel brand. Once that is completed, each adventurer will be put into a car without seatbelts and placed on a driving course. Did I mention their windows will be completely blacked out in order to ensure maximum wreckage? The driver who can exit the vehicle at the end of the course is the winner.

The Paper Towel Toughness Award will be presented at this time.

The losing contestant will obviously be carted away by ambulance as quickly as possible.

Listen, I find myself at the end of this letter and now I have something quite tragic to tell you. There is no way to prove which paper towel is the most durable. There is no one test that can determine this because each person uses their paper towels for different purposes. Some use them to wipe their counters, others use paper towels to carry bowling balls across the room – or so the commercials will have you believe. So the best advice I can offer you is to take a page from my Mommybeast’s book.

Buy whichever brand fits your budget and has a cool pattern.

She scored some great Nature Inspired Limited Edition prints at the store this weekend and has looked quite pleased ever since.


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5 replies on “Dear Lola – Product testing gone awry…

  1. It does all depend on the purpose. I think you are right that toughness is hard to prove. Maybe actually showing the towel stand up when wet and measure breakage relative to the other towel. This isn’t done. Just because it absorbs well doesn’t mean it can move liquid effectively.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lola,

    You are brilliant! What we really need is for the paper towel makers to make the parachutes and use them in their advertising!! There are plenty of daredevils who would signup to jump out of a perfectly good plane with a Bounty chute…and they can put the logo on it in addition to the pretty patterns! Just imagine a huge Brawny guy plastered all across the parachute! Hahahaha You’re the best!


    Liked by 1 person

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