Saturday, September 18, 2010

The product vanishes

There’s a crime spree under way, and I think I’m the perpetrator. My crime? Liking a product a whole lot.

When I find something that’s incredibly useful or enjoyable, I continue to loyally buy it. The second time around, I may buy a large size, if it’s sold that way, and it takes me a while to use it up. When my supply runs low, I go back to the store, looking high and low but not finding the product where it used to be. When I ask a store clerk about it, I’m crushed when I hear those terrible words: “Oh, that? It’s been discontinued.”  

This happens so often, I’ve come to the conclusion the problem is me. I am the kiss of death to an otherwise fine product. This has happened with—

Lipsticks. A lovely, youthful shade I was sure I’d wear forever was taken off the market after being a best seller for many years
OTC pill varieties. The easy-to-swallow Motrin (a really teeny one compared to its other varieties) was suddenly discontinued. I switched to Advil because it still comes in a smallish gel caplet. Now I'm hoarding them, just in case...
 Peanut butter. I was ecstatic to find a natural peanut butter with no sodium, no sugar, nothing but peanuts. It was aptly called “Just Peanuts” and distributed under Jewel Food’s President’s Choice brand. Late last year, it disappeared from store shelves. I’ve been buying other brands—when I can find any without sodium—but they’re just not the same. (I learned that my daughter was also a fan of this product, so this tendency must be hereditary.)
Shampoo and conditioner. I loved the way a product called Sunsilk Curly worked on my hair. I even found it in a travel size so I wouldn’t have to fill up a little bottle (and risk making a mess). Then it was gone. Walgreen’s no longer carried it, and it was nowhere to be found at the supermarkets and Ulta.

 These are just a few examples. The list is much, much longer. And if you’ve ever wanted to buy the products I’ve coveted—and caused to disappear—I apologize.
I can be rehabilitated, I think. I'll just keep switching products and let loyalty be damned.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Desperately seeking passion

With “passion” in the title, I suspect you’re looking for something along the lines of “Sex and the Sixties” or a tale of uninteresting foreplay. Sorry. I’m really lamenting the fact that I don’t have a pastime I’m passionate about—something that can keep me occupied if I ever decide to fully retire.

In answer to the question, “What’s your passion?” I’m stumped. I enjoy writing, but I don’t do much with it. (Writing for work counts now, but I am certainly not going to compose articles of interest to natural gas industry employees once I’m not on the job.) I love to read, and I’d be miserable without a few good novels on my nightstand. It’s an interest, but not a passion.

When I was a young housewife/mother, decades ago, I went through the same soul-searching. Before I returned to college for my bachelor’s degree, I tried art—going so far as enrolling in the “Famous Artist’s Home Study Course” and taking continuing ed courses in watercolors, sculpture, and photography. I wasn’t good at any of them, but my worst efforts were created (or occurred) in sculpture class.

Then I got interested in music. I bought an acoustic guitar—at a shop that sold guitars to Segovia!—and started taking lessons. After months, I could strum the chords to accompany my singing. Both were barely acceptable. I tried to learn classical guitar but soon realized this wasn’t my forte.

So I still liked art and music, but knew I wasn’t going anywhere with either of them. Then I went back to school, got my English degree, got hired as part-time editorial assistant, which grew into a full-time career—and here I am, 33 years later, still trying to find myself.

I still love to write, but you’re looking at the output here. Not bad, but not enough. Is sixty-something (and on the higher end of the decade) too late to find passion? I guess it doesn’t just fall into one’s lap or, in today’s terms, pop up on-screen during an unrelated search…although that could happen.

It’s been suggested that I 1) enroll in a Pilates class, 2) take writing courses, 3) learn jewelry making, and 4) just do something; interest follows action (loosely taken from an early Dr. Wayne Dyer book). Except for jewelry making, they’re all good ideas. I plan to take action….soon. Any other suggestions are most welcome—as long as they don’t involve sports.