"I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I write and I understand." - Chinese proverb

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


We are such a visual lot, we humans.  Yeah, I know that what floats your boat may just be stagnant water for me.  In fact I'm currently having an argument with some ladies on a "True Blood" web site as to who's hotter, Vampire Bill or Vampire Eric.  I wouldn't kick either one out of my bed, but there's something about Bill...anyway, all that notwithstanding, I do faintly recall from my college Anthropology course that there are evolutionary theories as to why we find good looking people...well...good looking.  Has to do with the preference for symmetrical and youthful features indicating health, and consequently healthy offspring.  But our sense of sight doesn't stop there by any means.  While we can't really rest assured that we'll find something inside that's as good as the outside looks (haven't we all had some experience with real babes who were actually intolerable once we really got to know 'em?) big business still counts on the fact that if we like the looks of it, we'll buy it.

I just wish they wouldn't keep changing it.  Noxema, for example.  Like Vicks Vaporub, Noxema's always been in a dark blue jar.  I'm really bad about a true beauty "regimen" and have actually been known to wash my face with whatever deoderant soap is sitting in my shower caddy, but if I've been consistent at all it's been with Noxema.  I love it, the smell, the feel, how it mixes a little with water just right and leaves my face feeling perfect.  People do tell me I have nice skin, so I guess it works.  I was actually pretty damn stoked when Noxema came out with a taller, more square jar and added a pump -- yes!   Now when I wash my face I can do it faster because I don't have to take time to unscrew the cap from the jar.  My time is not as valuable as, say, a firefighter or heart surgeon, but I do appreciate the extra minute here or there.  

Around this time stores like CVS and Wal Mart came out with their own generic, slightly less expensive versions of Noxema, and while I am leery of generics (I don't believe for a moment that they're equivalent to brand name products) I thought, great -- save time and save money too.  Okay, so, went to get some Noxema the other day and yes, there they go messing around again ("Different Look, Same Product!")  

Beware anything new and improved, I always say.  Now Noxema comes in a rather tall, streamlined container (still blue) with a short pump that dispenses the product horizontally, at an angle so as to miss the palm of your hand entirely.  And it's so lightweight (no more square, squat jar) that I keep knocking it over.  That, ladies and gentlemen, somehow translates into a ridiculous $5.00 for a jar of Noxema.  This just doesn't seem right.

I don't think people gravitate toward more modern packaging as much as the developers and ad men believe they do.  I sort of like things that come in the same style of box and container that they always did.  It's comforting.  It's a nod to product loyalty.  Keep Aunt Jemima on that package of pancake mix.  Don't mess with Betty Crocker, we don't mind if she looks like our grandmother.  We kind of like it, I think.   And leave the Morton Salt girl alone.  Retro is where it's at.  There are so many new rules of disclosure, though, causing manufacturers to have to list more and more things on their labels (and this is good) that in order to fit it all in they have to modify things.  I can understand.  

I can also understand the extra safety steps companies take now, since it has been determined that unfortunately one need not go far to find a razor blade in an apple or cyanide in a bottle of Tylenol.  (In fact, if I have a soda or coffee cup in my car and I have to dash into a place and do an errand, I won't drink out of that cup when I come out for fear that someone crazy has been roaming the parking lot and has targeted my car to dump poison in my Pepsi.  This is far-fetched and illogical, I know, but still, I'll dump the stuff out if I've forgotten to lock the car.  I even harbor some suspicions if I have locked it.  Yes, we're all crazy in our own special way.)

I do, however, harbor such extreme hatred toward blister packaging that it is almost unsafe to allow me a knife or pair of scissors necessary to open the frigging stuff.  STAB!  STAB!  RIP!!  You wanna take a crowbar to the stuff.  Why not make airplanes out of this material?  If they crashed, everyone would be so sealed in they would survive.  Same with the wax wrap in a box of cereal or crackers.  Why pull it apart, unless you want a volcano of Rice Chex all over your kitchen counter and floor.  Save yourself the trouble and just gently cut it.  Oh, and by the way, I truly admire anyone who can tear one of those "self-seal" packages (shredded cheese, cat snacks, etc.) in the right place to actually be able to close it.  Not something I can manage.  I seem to tear it on the diagonal, thus completely defeating its purpose.

To the manufacturers: Stop making hair conditioner that comes out from the bottom of the bottle (it's confusing), cheapen up the bubble packaging so we can tear into it, and for the love of Mike, leave my Noxema alone.

1 comment:

  1. I always am leary about "new and improved" products.....what were they before "old and inferior"? I throughly love reading your blogs! : )