Friday, November 13, 2009

Sneaky changes

My mother's biggest product annoyances have to do with quality and container size changes.

She says that when Dawn detergent first came out, it was much better than the competition. It made lots of suds, was very tough on grease, and only a little squirt was necessary. Since that time, however, the quality has slipped away until it is like all other dish washing products. My mom loves to cook so she speaks with some authority about dish washing.

Charmin introduced Plus bathroom tissue (that's the correct term for what used to be called toilet paper). When it first came out Mom said it was very soft and one could actually feel the lotion/aloe. Now, however, when one can actually find the Plus version of Charmin, it is nowhere near as wonderful as it once was. She even sent a hand-written letter to the company to complain.

Mom, who is an excellent cook, also decries all the sneaky changes in container sizes. She has family recipes that call for a "can" of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk--not any more, the cans are smaller. Who knows what amount to add now? Same for cans of pumpkin and pie fillings, condensed soups, and evaporated milk. I guess the people who first wrote the recipes didn't foresee that the companies would ever change their packaging. Who could have predicted that rather than raise the price of a product they would choose to instead make the container smaller? Did they think we wouldn't notice? We did, and found it extremely irritating.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Products I've doomed

I've doomed quite a number of products, simply by liking them. It's just a sad fact that I am now resigned to accept. If companies knew that when I buy something repeatedly, they are in trouble, it would probably be worthwhile to keep things away from me. A few years ago, hubby and I actually made a list of things we have liked that disappeared from the shelves. I don't remember all the things on our list then, but it is still growing.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love potato chips of all kinds. Years ago we unintentionally encouraged the demise of Eagle Potato Chips, but more recently I'm responsible for the loss of Lay's Dill Pickle flavor. They were soooo yummy and I miss them.

Costco has been recipient of my jinx with a number of products: Kirkland Roast Beef in a can (wonderful for sandwiches), dried peaches and dried strawberries (don't remember the brand names but they were so good), and fresh bran muffins.

I am amazed that I can still buy TAB (the first diet cola), but maybe it is safe because I drink it less now that they have started to add Aspartame to its formula. Coca Cola got lucky--or smart.

Mom and I were talking about this yesterday and she mentioned a number of products she has loved that have not disappeared, but have changed until they are mere shadows of their former selves. A post for another day.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Surprise

I spent Halloween at my son's home in California. It is becoming quite the trick (pun intended) to make 4 children ages 4 to 12 happy on Halloween. Complicating the evening is that they just moved to their new house in June and wanted to spend some time trick or treating in their old neighborhood too. The girls (youngest two) wanted friends to come along, the oldest (boy) wanted to go with friends, the second son didn't care that much about the whole thing.

So, Grandma stayed at their house to hand out candy to trick or treaters there. WOW! For a time, I just stood in the open doorway because there wasn't time to actually close the door. This entire area is full of families with children. That's one thing my son and daughter-in-law liked about it. After a couple of hours, the second boy and the youngest girl came home and helped me, but it was a busy night.

Normally, I don't like handing out candy on Halloween. I used to bribe my youngest son with pizza and a friend staying over to answer the door. I've left a large bowl of candy on the porch with a note to take a piece, or I've been sure to be away. However, the trick-or-treaters here were unfailingly polite. Everyone had a smile and a thank you. Most were accompanied by parents, but even the adolescents on their own were courteous and pleasant. One little boy was a chef, complete with a stainless bowl for his treat, a very small child had on an adorable Nemo costume (his mother was a red crayon). This is a very well-behaved neighborhood; I can see why they like it here so much.