Tuesday, September 29, 2015

a lament for discontinued products.

You know how, just when you think you’ve found that perfect shampoo or that perfect eyeliner, it disappears from the shelf: never to be seen again. You know that anguish you feel when you realize that you’re going to have to start all over in the hunt for the perfect lotion, but it will never match up to the lotion that you had but is now gone forever?

I know that feeling all too well.

It seems like it happens to me disproportionately often. My losses are mostly cosmetic-based, but my discontinued-project tribulations have crossed the line into food as well.

Sure, there have been tons of foodstuffs that I once ate that have now gone to the big grocery store in the sky: original Surge, Dunkaroos (though an internet search informs me that you can still get them in Canada), that weird purple ketchup.

But I didn’t mind, as I was just too young to care.

As I have grown older, it seems as soon as I find a product that I love dearly, it goes kaput. Maybe it’s me. And it seems like it’s happened quite often over the last few years. 

The first time I remember being truly upset about a product’s retirement was when I was in college. My mom used to buy packets of Lipton Sour Cream and Chive noodles, and that was my all-time favorite meal. Honest to God, I can still taste them. It was one of the first things I ever learned to cook (margarine + milk + water + noodle packet = voila!). I ate them for years. Until one day… they were gone. You couldn’t find them in the Brookings HyVee, which is where you found ALL THINGS. The last place we could find them was at the grocery store in Morris called Willie’s. During my sophomore year, my parents came to visit me and ended up buying out the store’s supply. 
Those noodles were that important.

But then… they were gone.

Willie’s stopped carrying the noodles, and that marked their demise. I have not seen them since.

It wasn’t until I grew up and got a job where I could afford real groceries that I noticed my favorite products slowly disappearing off the shelves. Which totally sucks.

Kraft White Cheddar Mac and Cheese bowls
I work every Wednesday from 12-9, so my supper break is from 4-5. I am usually not all that hungry by 4, so I wanted some kind of not-too-heavy meal, but one that would also keep me sated until 9 o’clock. (Or 9:40, when I get home from work. Commuting = boo.) These macaroni and cheese bowls did just that. They were better than the little Easy Mac bowls (which were definitely not enough food), and they weren’t garlicky and smelly like the other pasta bowls in the grocery aisle. I loved them – and they were usually on sale for about $1.50. But then, they started fading away. I HyVee-hopped, trying in vain to find them. The other Kraft varieties (sharp cheddar and broccoli = gross, three cheese and bacon = gross) remained, emblazoned with red clearance stickers. But my white cheddar was gone. I am still in search of a replacement dinner for my Wednesday nights, but so far, I have failed. Why, Kraft? WHY???

Oikos honey Greek yogurt
I hopped aboard the Greek yogurt train about four years ago. I am a big fan of the mid-morning snack, and while regular yogurt is a nice healthy choice, I just wasn’t feeling it. Years of eating peach Yoplait had become dull, and all the other flavors were too Splenda-y for my liking. I ventured cautiously into the world of Greek yogurt, and Oikos honey Greek yogurt was the most delicious yogurt I had ever tasted. I tried other flavors, but Oikos honey always prevailed. And then it was gone. It disappeared from HyVees first, leaving me to make the dreaded trip to the Sioux Falls Walmarts to procure my precious yogurt. But it soon vanished from Walmart, too. There are all sorts of other honey yogurts, but none is as delicious as Oikos. Noosa honey Greek yogurt is pretty good, but the last time I was at my regular HyVee, it wasn’t there. Cue heart attack. I was able to find it at a different HyVee, but that’s always how it begins.

Ben and Jerry’s Vermonty Python

Having never had Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, I bought a pint of this on a whim at Coborn’s in Morris, circa 2006. I bought it primarily because its name is undeniably awesome, and partly because its description was mouthwateringly delicious: coffee liqueur flavored ice cream with fudge cows and a chocolate cookie crumb swirl. Sign me up. I devoured that pint post haste and wasted no time purchasing more. I ventured into other Ben and Jerry’s flavors, but none held more appeal than Vermonty Python. My time with Vermonty Python was sadly short-lived, as Ben and Jerry’s retired it in 2008. Damn you, Ben and Jerry.

In the past few years, my favorite beauty products have been disappearing like crazy. What gives?

Dove wild rose deodorant
You may think it’s weird that I’m telling you what my favorite deodorant is, but you know you have a favorite, too. That deodorant that smells just perfect and doesn’t leave white marks under your arms and lasts all day: I’ve been wearing deodorant since I was nine, and I didn’t find the Holy Grail of deodorants until the ripe (no pun intended) old age of 24. I was that weirdo who would spend a solid ten minutes in the deodorant aisle, sniffing each one and gauging its merits. I went through countless deodorant scents, never landing on one that I thought was all that great. They were either too sickly sweet or that nasty powder smell that I 100% cannot handle. But then… there was Dove. Dove made a rose scented deodorant that came in this soft pink container, and it smelled better than anything I’d ever owned – perfumes included. I happily bought it for years until I started having a hard time finding it on the shelves. Paranoid, I started buying three or four at a time when I did find them. And thank goodness, because soon I couldn’t find them at all. This deodorant was so important to me that I did an internet search to see if it was, in fact, retired. Honest to God, I did a cartoon “Nooooooooooooooooo!!!” upon reading this terrible news. I went straight to Amazon and found that you could buy a six-pack for $30. Which I did. I have a few left, but I’m seriously considering buying more, even though the price has jumped significantly. The loss of this deodorant is more devastating to me than any other product on this list, and I am THIS CLOSE to writing a “WTF, you ruined my life” email to Dove. THIS CLOSE.

Herbal Essences Shine Spray
I am one of those unfortunate souls that suffers from static electricity during the dry winter months… so basically half the year here in the Midwest. I shock everything I touch, and my hair practically crackles. It drives me insane. I have tried all sorts of hair products to try and tame the static electricity beast, but only two have ever made a difference. (In a cruel twist of fate, you’ll find the second product on this list as well.) One of them is this Herbal Essences Shine Spray. It smells absolutely delightful, and a few sprays of this every couple of hours is enough to keep the static at bay. But go figure, it’s not in stores any more. The last place I found it was at a HyVee. A grocery store. I have two bottles left, and I’ve been saving them for winter. I’m going to need them.

Thermasilk shampoo
Long, long ago, I was a Thermasilk user. I think I first came across it because – no lie – the college bookstore put little samples in each back of overpriced books I bought once semester. This was the most glorious smelling shampoo I had – and have – ever experienced. It came in a purple bottle, and it was SUPER cheap. It was slowly replaced by Sunsilk shampoo, and now you can’t find either brand.

Aveeno calming lavender lotion 
Vaseline chamomile lotion
Having lotion at work is a tricky business. I don’t want to go lotionless, as my hands get awfully dry. But you don’t want anything with an overpowering scent, as you don’t want to offend your coworkers. These were the only two lotions I could find that fit that bill: non-greasy and super moisturizing with the slightest bit of delightful scent, but not enough scent as to cause instant perfumy overload. The Aveeno lotion is pretty well gone, but I can still occasionally find a super-sized bottle of the Vaseline… but only at the Lewis Drug on 10th Street in Sioux Falls.

Ivory body wash
Ivory used to make my all-time favorite body wash, and believe me: I have tried a whole lot of body washes looking for one as good as this. It’s so clean and crisp-smelling, and it makes me feel like a fresh load of laundry. (Weird simile, but it’s true.) But then those jerks at Ivory changed the formula on me. The body wash smells similar, but it’s not quite right. 10th Street Lewis Drug came to the rescue again on this one: on the same day I found my Vaseline, I saw bottles of Ivory sitting on the shelf. Their label was the older style, and sure enough, it was the older formula. It appears that 10th Street Lewis Drug doesn’t sell a lot from the soap and lotion aisle, but it’s working out to my advantage.

all the good Bath and Body Works soaps
Like basically everybody, I buy hand soap at Bath and Body Works. They have better scents than the hand soap brands at Target, and they’re always on sale. Many of the scents fall into the “this is pretty nice, but I’m not going to get worked up about it” category, but there are a few that are more like “this is the most amazing smell ever and I just want to sniff my hands all day” class. And those are inevitably the soaps they retire. My absolute favorites are New England Autumn Bouquet, Moroccan Fig and Honey, and Lemon Daisy. I was hoping that Lemon Daisy would make a comeback this summer as it’s clearly a summer scent, but no dice. That makes me a lot less optimistic for the autumn bouquet (fall scent, duh) and Moroccan Fig and Honey for winter. Sigh.


So that’s the end of my lengthy lament about the retired products that have left plastic bottle-shaped holes in my life. First world problems.

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