Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, pondering the fact that the more varieties of a product there are, the harder it gets to find the one you want. I understand that shelf space in grocery and drug stores is limited, but over the last few years a fair number of products I like have become hard, if not impossible, to locate.
I first noticed this with shampoo. I had used Breck since I was a teenager and suddenly it was no longer on store shelves. I found out later that the company was bought out in 2006. Although there is still a Breck shampoo available, at least online, it’s no longer the same product I remember. I sucked it up and experimented until I found another brand I liked, but I wasn’t happy about being forced into a change.
Then it was the soap I started using as a teen on the recommendation of a dermatologist, something called Cuticura. It’s still around, thank goodness. It’s manufactured in Canada and I can order it online, but find it in a store in Western Maine? Forget about it.
More recently, the variety of St. Ives skin cream I was using vanished from local stores, I presume to make room for eighty kazillion other varieties of that brand on store shelves. Sorry, I don’t want those extra fragrances and herbs and vitamins.
Don’t even get me started on toothpaste choices.
Sadly, it isn’t only the personal care products I prefer that are hard to find. Until recently, I was always able to buy Pepperidge Farm stone ground whole wheat bread and Arnold’s seeded Jewish rye at the nearest Hannaford’s. That’s my standard breakfast—toast and coffee. Toward the end of last year, I started having trouble finding either one. Now they’ve both completely disappeared from that Hannaford’s and only occasionally show up at the other Hannaford’s that’s within a reasonable distance. I know there are other brands, but to me they just don’t taste the same. And the slices aren’t the same size, either.
I’m not exactly a foodie. Far from it, in fact, but when I find a product I like, I want to buy that same brand and variety again. It’s reached the point that, most weeks, I end up stopping at both Hannaford’s, a Food City, and the nearest Wal-Mart before I’m able to find everything on my grocery list. Example: I like to keep a couple of Di Giorno’s Pizzeria! four-cheese pizzas in the freezer for those nights when I don’t feel like making a meal from scratch. (I add my own toppings.) In three out of those four stores I frequent, there are at least a half dozen other DiGiorno’s varieties, but never the one I want. And sometimes store number four is a washout, too. The same goes for Utz pretzel rods, my go-to snack when I want something in the crunchy and salty family. Only on my lucky days does one of the Hannaford’s have some in stock.
Okay. End of rant. I feel much better now (and a bit hungry). Over to you, dear readers. What products do you have to hunt for? Is there some favorite you can no longer find on store shelves? Share, please. I’d hate to think I’m the only one who grumbles about this!
Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of more than fifty-five traditionally published books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries and the “Deadly Edits” series (Crime & Punctuation—2018) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries (Murder in a Cornish Alehouse) as Kathy. The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” mysteries and is set in Elizabethan England. Her most recent collection of short stories is Different Times, Different Crimes. Her websites are www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com and she maintains a website about women who lived in England between 1485 and 1603 at A Who’s Who of Tudor Women.