LAS VEGAS. Losing weight is a sensitive topic. Principally because most people are embarrassed about the need and depressed about their ability to achieve their ideal size and shape.
So when I espied the word "slimming" at the CES booth of Korea-based Ahrong Eltech, I knew I had to stop, just in case I had magically stumbled upon the solution to so many people's largest problem.
"Slimming" is one of the most powerful words in the world. More powerful than "change." More powerful even than "money." Claim it, and you will have millions beating a path to your hotel room.
Jin-Gug Kim, CEO of Ahrong Eltech, seemed to be a serious man. He had, in his booth, several products that promised to be electronic elixirs of skin care.
One, the iCheck, can examine your skin moisture. But my eyes, on behalf of the hearts and minds of many, fell headlong upon something called the Rex-Kara III. This, to my understanding, is an ultrasonic wave massager designed for improve the health of skin. However, it touts one more touching claim: the potential for weight loss.
I asked Kim whether he had tested it on, well, human beings in order to prove that its use leads to weight loss.
"No, but I tested it on oranges," he explained. He then showed me images of distressed oranges and strangely happy, but not skinny, oranges.
"Why didn't you test it on humans?" I asked.
"Oh, but that costs $500,000," he replied.
I switched to the one question that everyone might have had.
"So, as well as helping the skin, does your product really help people lose weight?" I wondered.
"Oh, yes," he insisted. "It's ultrasound."
Ignorant that ultrasound was such a simple and lovely way to punch flab into submission, I asked: "So how much weight can someone lose?"
"If you use it two or three times per week," he said, "there will be a small weight loss."
"But how small is small?" I persisted. "Small enough not to notice? Or big enough to tell your Facebook friends about?"
"It depends on the personality," he replied, somewhat professorially.
Kim told me he has distribution in Asia and is looking for an American partner. I wonder if Jenny Craig might wish to accompany him in his quest to massage away those unwanted corners beneath a check shirt from Old Navy.