Yesterday, as I continued catching up from my start-of-week issues, I ran errands like I have never ran errands before. After work, I got my car washed, went to the bank, dropped off my dry cleaning, returned a movie that the GF and I watched last weekend*, and finally headed off to my happy place – Target.
It had been a couple months since I had done any serious errand-running, and I really needed to pick up a bunch of necessities – including basics like soap, deodorant, and toilet paper. Yes, by yesterday morning I found myself completely out of TP for the first time ever. I blame the parade of guests over the past few weeks and the significantly higher proportion of women using my bathroom in the last year or so.
Once inside the store, I was faced with a mind-boggling assortment of brands, ply-counts, roll-counts, and most shocking – roll sizes. Yes, Charmin now has four different sizes of rolls – from “Regular” to “Mega”, all of which are essentially the same roll but with more or less paper wound on it. Since I had a coupon for Charmin** I first examined the “Mega” rolls, which have so much paper on them that they are shipped with a special adapter, allowing these super-sized rolls to fit in a regulation-sized TP holder. I wasn’t interested in actually purchasing them (because even with the adapter they wouldn’t fit the design of my holder at home) but I was fascinated by what their very existence says about American society – changing the roll is now so much work that people are actively seeking solutions to avoid doing it.
The fact that Charmin is actually catering to this perceived “customer need” by designing rolls so big they require special adapters only makes me loathe them more. It’s bad enough that they have replaced the lovable Mr. Whipple with his stern-but-fair admonishments against damaging his product. But to do it with this whole “Bears Crapping in the Woods” cartoon irritates the crap out of me*** as a person with a graduate degree in marketing. First off, are we actually expected to believe that bears in the woods need to use TP? Furthermore, are bear anuses sooo easily irritated that they require the softest, gentlest TP available? “Hey you consumer! Try Charmin! If it’s good enough for the easily irritated anuses of bears, it’s good enough for you!”.
In the words of Adam Sandler – who are the ad wizards who came up with that one?
* More on this later
** Yes, this was the first time I have ever used a coupon…ever.
*** No pun intended
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