Sunday, February 17, 2013

Consumer Confidence in Available Products

For years I searched for a body wash (or soap in general) that did not irritate my skin. Not too long ago, I came across Dove Men Sensitive Clean Body and Face Wash. It was great…and by “was,” I mean Dove recently discontinued it based on, so they say, consumer demand. Frankly, I do not understand how this could be as I often had trouble finding it in stock. Either consumer demand was not the problem, or they had issues with their marketing, product placement and/or distribution.

Concerning the prospect of its discontinuance, this was Dove’s congenial response to my inquiry:

Thank you for contacting us regarding Dove Men Sensitive Clean Body and Face Wash.
The product you have contacted us about has been discontinued. Our company's goal is to provide consumers with a variety of products to meet their needs and preferences. As you may know, marketing is a complex function, and many business factors are taken into consideration before discontinuing a product. It truly saddens us when we must discontinue a product. However, consumer demand is a major factor. When the level of demand is insufficient to ensure that consumers receive high quality products at an affordable price, the product will likely be discontinued. We apologize that this product is no longer available and we are sending you a complimentary coupon which we hope you will use to enjoy one of the other fine products we offer. We will forward your comments to the appropriate staff.

Due to this situation, I, like Elaine in the Seinfeld episode, “The Sponge,” must attempt to stockpile and hoard body wash before it can no longer be found. In my case, showering will be deemed body wash worthy on a day-to-day basis.

Of course, there is a bigger issue here. Product lines have become so diversified that they have saturated and overstrained the market in pursuit of the bottom line. Take a sampling of the soap, shampoo and lotion aisle, and good luck finding good-ol’ “soap,” “shampoo” and “lotion.” The need for “sensitive skin” formulas (most of which are just the essential basics) for many of these products highlights the downside of this modern trend:  a once simple daily necessity, buried in damaging ingredients forced upon consumers. The fact that entire aisles are dedicated to them is another; is there little wonder in the need for warehouse grocery chains? Though a few still survive, the “mom-and-pop” stores of yesteryear could no longer exist for the mere lack of shelf space.

If anyone needs a complimentary coupon, I will have no need for it.

©2013 Steve Sagarra

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