Saturday, December 11, 2010
The Model Consumer
I am the model consumer. A product label promising new and improved qualities to my life is certain to gain my attention. These products are strategically placed in retail stores to speak in coded tongue to shoppers like me. Just the other day, I went to the new MegaTron, bigger than the last one, Walmart, built three sites over from the previous two. All I needed was a loaf of bread. As any good Southern woman knows, it is almost impossible to leave Wal-Mart without spending a hundred dollars or more. Immediately upon entry, I was drawn to the vitamin aisle with an already lingering notion that perhaps I needed more vitamin D in my life. I actually needed a cruise to a sunny tropical island, but I temporarily quieted that wish with a bottle of sunlight and a need to shop. Unfortunately, all the other letters of the alphabet called out to me and soon I could play a quick game of Scrabble with the bottles of Vitamin A, K, D and B in my basket. I moved to the next aisle and a can of Skintamate shaving cream called to me from the shelf. It was baby blue and offered Skin Therapy. Who doesn't need skin therapy, I ask you? I did have Vitamin D in a bottle to hold me until I could soak up UV rays at the Tropic of Cancer, but now there was skin therapy available for $4.79. It was "Baby Soft" and "Lotionized" My God - Lotionized!!!! I didn't even know this was a concept, let alone an actual word, but I wanted it. I wanted a Skintimate experience where I would bathe in skin therapy and be lotionized. An added bonus.... It had Vitamin E!!!! Who planned this product! They knew me so well! Suddenly, I could hardly wait to get home and shave my legs.... an act that brought no real pleasure, unless you are 11 and getting to shave for the very first time. After that... the fun is gone... unless you purchase Skintimate Skin Therpay. It's funny to me that nowhere on the bottle does it actually say shaving cream. And yet, I knew what this product could do for me and it quickly landed in the bottom of my basket with the rest of the letters of the alphabet. By the time I made it to the bread aisle, I had well over $100 worth of items in my basket, all promising some form of new and improved life. Truth be told.... I'm certain my life would remain just as good without these false promises of delight. My husband uses a simple bar of Dial Soap for everything. I spend $18 for a bottle of volumizing, moisture sealing, illuminating shampoo and he uses a bar of soap. Our hair looks fine, except mine smells like scented expensive shampoo and his smells like clean hair. Isn't that really all we are seeking. Hmmmm????? We currently have nine bottles of shampoo in our shower.... one for everybody's needs. My son has teenage straightening shampoo. My daughter has something that has a fun lid and smells like popsicles. Even the dog has a bottle in there for tick and flea removal. I know that one day I will be all leathered up in Skin Therapy and grab the wrong bottle of shampoo and find myself tick and flea free with a scent like I've just been to the vet. My husband may be smarter than all of us with his single bar of soap and absence of label reading. His Vitamin D comes from working in the garden and his straight hair comes from genetics. Perhaps if I read less labels and went back to hot water and a bar of soap, I would be many dollars closer to that trip to the tropics. I believe it may be time to let someone else do the shopping!