Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Dial

How do you feel about name brands? My mother was a name brand mama. During my childhood, she worked nights and slept days. She was a private duty nurse. Both my parents worked hard—there was no social life other than church affairs and family gatherings. All this to say, my mother had very few dresses, but those she did have were quality, bought at the best stores—Fedway, Riffs and Perkins—in my hometown. Mom knew and recognized designer names.  I never did unless those brands had to do with a pair of jeans—Wrangler or Levi. Or a pair of boots—Justin or Tony Llama. (My mother bought me a pair of black leather pants once. Yep, I took them back to the store.)
 My mother and I were/are very different. While she was meticulous and strived for perfection, I didn’t, and still don’t—except in my writing.
Anyway, the necessity and importance of brand names spilled over into the daily products we used. Take fruit punch, for example. Mom bought Hawaiian Punch, and nothing else. I didn’t realize Hawaiian Punch was so old. Did you know that in 1934 A.W. Leo, Tom Yates and Ralph Harrison developed the first Hawaiian Punch recipe in a converted garage in Fullerton, California? I didn’t either. I have no idea if my mother knew, or why she insisted that brand be the only brand we purchased. I remember we had quite a little disagreement about Hawaiian Punch back in the early 80s. Yes, I returned the off-brand I'd purchased, but we won’t reminisce about that, we’ll move on. 
I’d like to say I purchase generic brands, but I don’t. I make very few substitutions.

Dial is the ONLY soap for me. Yeah, I know most people use the liquid bath washes these days (or whatever they’re called) but in my mind they’re totally insufficient and do little more than leave a colorful film on the shower walls. Do they even lather?

Dial for Men has even won me over, and I know my mother would have loved it. Dial for Men might have been created especially for my dad to use on those summer days he came home from work all hot and sweaty. He was an electrician in the oil fields.
Scott Bathroom Tissue was another ‘only’ in our house, and I find myself following that family tradition. I hate it when they make several different textures of the same product. Soft Scott just isn’t the same as the regular Scott. And what's the point?

I used Cheer until recently. I became really angry when 'they' decided to make Cheer for front loaders. I don’t understand why a liquid detergent will work in one washing machine but not the other. I’ve switched to Arm & Hammer but I’ve considered making my own detergent. I mean, really—how hard can it be to get dirt out of a tee shirt and jeans?
I won’t go into all the other products I use and those I’ve decided to ban. But I’ve come to realize, I really am like my mother. With the exception of Hawaiian Punch, that is. She had her reasons for being a brand name mama, and I have mine. There's no right or wrong. Just preference.

Do you have favorite brands you absolutely can’t do without? What are they and why? Do any of them take you back to your childhood?


James R Tate said...

We are pretty much name brand people ourselves. We find what we like and stick with it. Being in the woodworking industry so long, I used to buy name brand tools because they were better. Now everything is made in China so it doesn't matter. My wife bought me some of the shower gel and I couldn't get it to lather until I used the spongy thing they sell with it. Then it will lather. Some marketing ploy, huh.

Jan Newman said...

I've tried other brands of washing detergent, but I've always come back to Tide. I have a front-loader HE, and Tide makes a detergent pod. Love it. What was the brand of powder detergent that came with plates? My mom got a whole set of dishes for my sister. Towels used to come in the boxes too. Am I dating myself?

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I tried making my own detergent. It worked...but in the end...I am lazy.

mooderino said...

The most annoying thing is when you find the perfect brand and then they discontinue it.

Moody Writing

L. Diane Wolfe said...

We only use Scott TP here. Hate the over-fluffy stuff that doesn't last. And my husband insists on Jif Peanut Butter.

Ironically I grew up with a lot of generics. My parents were very frugal. The store had generics that were in white packaging with black letters. I'll never forget the first time my mom brought home a case of beer. It just said "BEER" on the box. I always called it Beer-Beer. I'm sure it was disgusting.

Man O' Clay said...

The only must-haves in our house are the brands that are cheap. However, I am a coffee snob. Starbucks, or specialty brands for me!

Helen Baggott - Author Services said...

I tend to buy bargains. Brand name products are great, but very often cheaper products are just as good.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I tend to avoid brand names because they cost more and the store brands like Western Family etc. are just as good I think. Except for certain things, like my husband only wants Best Foods Mayo. Nothing else is as good. And give me Oreos, none of the off brand sandwich cookies. So I guess I pick and choose. Some of it matters, some doesn't :)

Tronster said...

I was not much af a brand name person until I was married. There are products with brand names that are better than the generic.

My wife has me into designer clothes. Generally speaking they last longer.