David Rodeback's Blog
Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Real Men Don't Smell Like Strawberries
A case study in the free market's shampoo aisles.
Recently, here at the blog, I extolled the virtues of the free market, as I have done before. Let's see how the free market did this week as I tried to buy, of all things, shampoo.
I don't have a lot of hair, but what I have, I like to keep clean. Suave used to have a fairly ordinary, very economical shampoo. It wasn't anything fancy, but I didn't want anything fancy. It worked, and it cost about $0.99, so it was just about perfect. These days, there's a lot of Suave on the shelf, if Wal-Mart has stocked the shelf recently, but none of it is plain or ordinary. Last time I went through this minor economic ordeal, I stumbled upon a Suave for Men. This week it was nowhere to be found, at least not at Wal-Mart.
There is a fun little scene in You've Got Mail where Tom Hanks' character is musing on the modern coffeehouse. Here's what he says, as quoted at IMDb.com:
That movie was a few years ago -- a decade, actually -- and I think a tall decaf cappuccino costs more now, but you get the idea. If you really do get the idea, you understand how I feel on the shampoo aisle.
I don't want to smell bad, but I don't want to smell pretty, either. I'm a guy. I'm not metrosexual, even if I do think Frasier and Niles Crane are hugely funny (fictional) guys.
Suave. Men. Shampoo. Is this so difficult? No, not the "Dual Charged Hair + Body Wash." I have soap for that other function. (Not a "body bar" or a "bath bar." Soap!)
I want shampoo. Just shampoo. For a guy.
Well, one of the virtues of a market is that there is more than one brand on the shelf. So I started looking at other brands. Herbal Essences was next, but I won't make that mistake again.
Finally, I gave up on Wal-Mart. Thanks to the free market, there's a Target store not far away. It had all of the aforementioned hair care adventures. Maybe it even had "No Flakin' Way," but I didn't look for a dandruff shampoo -- at least, I hope that's a dandruff shampoo. In any case, it took me about five seconds to find on Target's better-stocked shelves the trio of words I sought. Suave. Men. Shampoo.
Now I know where to go next time.
Long live the free market.
Copyright 2008 by David Rodeback.