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December 14, 2009

Another day, another product cancellation

Sobakowa will not be happy.

I went to three Whole Foods this weekend looking for her favorite cat food until I discovered that brand is being discontinued. Why does this happen to me? And now, by proxy, to my animals?

It started in high school with Elizabeth Arden Bare Sugar lipstick. My aunt worked the cosmetic counter at one of those fancy department stores and that Christmas she gave me Elizabeth Arden Bare Sugar and it was the first ever perfect lipstick for my coloring. I saved all my babysitting money for a tube of glamor every three months until I discovered too late the summer before 12th grade that it had been discontinued. I tried a letter-writing campaign, I called, I threw myself at Elizabeth Arden's mercy and she ignored me.

You know, I still hate Elizabeth Arden to this day and have never purchased another Elizabeth Arden product, not one single thing since 1989. How's that for holding a grudge?

Throughout the years I have become better-adjusted at handling the inevitable discontinuation of things I like -- Patons Up Country comes to mind, and more recently the impossibility of finding Patons SWS in the normal places -- and I know as soon as I find a lipstick I like to buy in bulk because the moment I found it a silent alarm was triggered somewhere in a consumer testing facility in a backroom in Michigan, and the product will mysteriously be discontinued by the time I get my purchase to my car. It's one thing to know with fatalistic certainty that everything from the brand of panties I prefer to the laundry detergent I like most will be discontinued, but when retailers start flukking with my cats I lose my cool. Finding a healthy cat food that they will eat is no easy task. And they're not big on change. They're CATS. They find one food and stick with it.

I'm not going to tell you the name of the cat food until I have my grimy paws safely on a case of it myself, but when I called my fifth Whole Foods this morning, one of the "helpful" grocery guys said, "You know, this food is discontinued so you might want to just start buying the Organics brand that replaced it."

"Yeah," I said, "I'll let my cat know. I am sure she'll understand, because what cats respond best to are logical conversations about fluctuations in stock."

I'm not sure he got the sarcasm.

Yes, of course I will have to find a new food but there has to be a transition period! You know, a period of time when she can have her old favorite food and we introduce new food brands one by one and see which is a winner. It's a process. It can take a very long time. Thank God for the internet, where I just spent $50 plus shipping on Soba's favorite food, buying me a little time.

But I won't be forgetting this one. I may be used to switching lipsticks every few months and I know not to get too attached to hand creams and soaps and yarn brands, but when you start messing with my cats it's all over.

I will be holding a grudge for a very, very long time on this one. I'm still hopping mad about the Great Cat Litter Debacle of 2007! I really am a "As God Is My Witness" sort of consumer, full of nothing but love and light for my favorite products right up until they are rudely, savagely discontinued and then I raise my little fist of rage and declare "As soon as I find a suitable replacement product, as God is my witness I will never shop from your brand ever again!" I'm looking at you, Elizabeth Arden.

Posted by laurie at December 14, 2009 11:11 AM