Thursday, June 16, 2005

"Ms. Round Soapy Things"

I became angry with a product today. Well not just today. Actually every time I've used this product it's been an annoyance. So at first I wanted to tell the whole world about this product and how everyone should avoid it. Then I thought the better of it. One reason is that I'm a former advertising person myself. And while I may have developed a visceral hatred for a particular product, I know that some person out there is doing their darndest to promote this product. It would be very depressing for that person to learn that a customer wants to single out the product by name and complain to all who will listen. The second reason is that there may be families out there, nay, even whole towns of families, whose livelihoods depend on the sales of this product. And I don't want to be the one to burst their bubble. So in order to avoid that kind of unpleasantness, (or worse, lawsuits) I am simply going to refer to this product by a pseudonym. We shall just refer to it by the fictitious name of "Ms. Round Soapy Things." The product in question is the brand of bubble bath I'm stuck buying for my children. The reason I am stuck buying this brand is that somehow all the other brands have vanished from my local supermarkets and drugstores. Who knows where they went? The clerks don't seem to care. Even when they ask, "Did you find everything!" and I crabbily say, "No!" they still cannot explain the shrinking choices of bubble bath. Most of them aren't AWARE of the bubble bath, and act surprised that the store even carries any. So I checked in other areas, away from kiddie shampoos. I looked in adult hair care. Kiddie accessories. Kiddie laundry products. General soaps. It was no good. So I was stuck with this one brand. Here is the importance of bath bubbles in our life: It is a reward! "If you two are good we can have a BUBBLE BATH tonight." Or a punishment! "If you two don't stop fighting, there will be NO bubble bath!" And of course, a distraction! (Scene: the 3-year-old has seized both of the 5-year-old's ears and is twisting his head in an effort to wrest a ninja turtle from his grasp.) "Hey, anyone in the mood for a BUBBLE bath?" So "bubble bath" is either two magic words, or one compound magic word. But either way the emphasis is on "magic." Well the magic isn't there if the product doesn't do what it's supposed to do. Yes, it makes the bath longer. It also soothes the savage beasts! They come out of the tub much cleaner and happier than they went in. Bubbles are used in a variety of important ways. 1) Alter Appearances. You can create beards, mustaches and crazy hairdos. 2) Camouflage. Who knows what's going on under the bubbles. As long as the water stays in the tub I don't care. If the pirates want to be invisible, I'm willing to pretend they're not there. 3) Decoration. You can create all kinds of designs on the tile, toys, and edges of the tub. Then the mess just disappears down the drain! 4) Stuff. You can pass it around, throw it at each other, stick it on each other's bodies...it's just stuff to play with. Part of the joy is in pouring the bubble bath into the tub in the area where the faucet is gushing its water. The bubbles gurgle up like magic foam. The tub's occupants squeal with delight! Unless, that is, the bubbles are LIMP and LAME. Like they are with this stupid brand "Ms. Soapy Round Things." Tiny weak bubbles that disappear in two minutes are not my idea of a good time. And from the kids' perspective, it is not THEIR idea of a fun bubble bath. At the 2-minute mark they are asking for more bubbles. At the 10-minute mark, after I've emptied half of the bottle into the tub, they are frowning at me, asking where all the bubbles went. Into thin air, obviously! Along with the hard-earned cash spent on them! Let's just be clear on this. When the bubbles start underperforming, then they lose all their magic potency as a reward, punishment or distraction. THUS! No parent is going to continue spending their hard-earned cash on this stupid product. Which I realize must be loved by someone, but definitely not by us. Tonight Hubby had to buy some other products in a special trip to an unnamed supercenter. I reminded him of our bubble problem. The Organization of Bubble Operational Entities (also known to economists as OBOE) clearly was having issues on the supply side of the equation. I instructed him to come home with a bubble producing product, but NOT "Ms. Round Soapy Things." Meanwhile I gave the kids a bath using the last of the "Ms. Round Soapy Things." They were happy for all of 120 seconds. Then wanted to know what happened to their bubbles. I told them that Hubby was getting them new bubbles. Tomorrow, I promised them, they could have a REAL bubble bath. If they were good. Well Hubby returns from the humongous supercenter with his products. He claimed he bought bubbles, but his expression was not a happy one. "Is there a problem with the bubbles?" I asked him. "Well..." he hesitated. "Let's just say the supercenter wasn't the best source of bubbles." "But you DID get them?" I insisted. "Yes." He didn't sound confident. He pulled out a jug. A fairly large jug. The product was indeed called Bubble Bath. But there were no cutesy kiddie pictures on the label. Instead there was a rather adult-style dessert featured on the front. A dish of ice cream and some subtle berries. The bubble bath was called "Blackberry Cream" and was described as being "gently infused with essence of black raspberry and vanilla, to invigorate." Haha. Yes, my kids want a Gently Infused product! Well guess what, I do NOT want to invigorate them at bed-time. I want them to play a few bubble games and then go to bed. And while I don't object to them smelling like black raspberry and vanilla, there is the risk I may try to eat the children. So yes, Hubby had purchased them a product intended for ladies. This, the very same man who objected to them wearing pink pull-ups when he bought them by mistake! On the other hand, I don't want to insult the Blackberry Cream bubble bath. For all I know it may outperform the "Ms. Soapy Round Things!" So I don't want to speak too soon. And I hope I do not have to start buying bubble bath on the internet.

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