Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Consumer Gripe

Same song, many verses. It boils down to this: every time I find something I really like, it becomes unavailable.

Let's start in the grocery store. There was a brand of little boxed Chinese entrees in the freezer section several years ago. After trying all of them, I settled on three as my favorites. Best flavor, best quality, a little heat in the seasonings, and meat that didn't disappear in the breading.  Guess which varieties they quit stocking? Guess who doesn't buy any of them any more?

My favorite brand of hot dogs disappeared, the one and only one that was both inexpensive and tasty. They discontinued the best pumpernickel rye. Can't find blue cheese more than once a quarter or so, except in the gourmet $ection,  and the extra hot jalapeno pepperjack is gone, the only one where you can actually taste the peppers and not just see green flecks. I found a brand of pre-cooked grilled hamburger patties with onions, just nuke for one minute. Yum. First they moved them to the top shelf in the freezer case so I have to ask for help every time I want some. Now they're no longer stocked, though the other varieties are still up on the top... way back.

It's not just food. I find some pajamas I like, or socks I like... it's like the kiss of death. Vitamins quit being offered in the dosage I prefer. I have a favorite baby powder, but they discontinued the larger more convenient size. The tiny one is still offered but either I have to pay double in a store I never otherwise shop at, or order online. Need I say I order by the double case? Just like I do with Sap Sago cheese, going back to food for a moment.

I should have known my life was going to be like this. Before I got married way back in the 60s, we picked out a china pattern, a crystal pattern, a flatware pattern. Every one was discontinued within a couple years, so whatever I didn't already have, forget it. My Betty Crocker coupons got me a lovely stainless pattern, very high quality and for everyday use, but... well, you know by now what happened there too. There actually isn't another pattern I can stand our there, and I've been looking for decades. They are ugly, flimsey, too thin and sharply cornered so they hurt my hands when I actually use them. Now I can, if I want, go on eBay and fill in the blank spots in my pattern for, say, $25 per single dinner fork!

Uh huh. Sure. Soon as I win that lottery.

Colors I like to decorate the house with, and didn't quite buy enough towels or whatever in, gone. Maybe they'll be back in fashion in 30 years or so.

Maybe not.

The type of stainless mixing bowl I love, in sizes and shapes I like and use most, that don't have those narrow bottoms that make them tippy, and do have a small loop/handle on the side for klutzes like me to hold on to them with... maybe in a thrift store, donated after some other long ago purchaser died. Same for the kind of measuring cups I prefer, the cereal bowls I like, the shoes that fit and support my arches properly.


I have been using a tube of Johnson & Johnson first aid cream for years. Occasionally it gets lost, like when I move, but eventually gets found again. It's nearly empty. I cut myself grating orange peels this afternoon and needed some. There might be one more bitty dose left. But there is NOWHERE another tube. Not even online. I've checked. Everybody thinks I want ointment instead, imbedded with whatever the latest fad in antibacterials may be. I don't. Ointments do not let the skin breathe while they are protecting it, so it won't heal as fast. I'm also not so keen on antibacterials as marketers think I should be. Anybody remember Phisohex? Everybody bought it by the half gallon jugful because it was what was used surgically, now wonderfully available to anyone, kills anything. I guess they were right. It turned out it caused nerve damage or something from skin contact. Oops.

That last tube of first aid cream with its last dollop is my treasure.

The heavy duty plastic cooking spoons that didn't scratch teflon and could really stir the thickest stews or whatever, even though lasting for 3 decades still broke. You know there's nothing like them out there any more. Not even the brand I like enough that I bought several family members some pieces (online after they too disappeared from the stores) are as sturdy as those original ones.

I have at least learned when I find socks I like, I buy a dozen pairs. Likewise undies, bras, whatevers. Shoes never come home in single pairs, nor do jeans. If it turns out I'm not so enchanted with them as I was in the store, it's a risk I take. This will be my one chance to get some.

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