Monday, July 1, 2013

Not Enough Sand

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Did you ever play store when you were a kid? We did. We would climb up onto the stovetop and pull canned goods, oatmeal, teabags, cereal, and more out of that upper cabinet. Then we would go get some paper bags out of the closet, and carry it all into the living room to set up our store. There were three of us kids so we had a bagger, a cashier, and a customer. Sometimes we would strain the cashier's capabilities and have TWO customers in line. Ah, it made for hours of fun.

I remember how fun it was to set up the store. When I started mulling over the possibility of getting a job in retail, my local grocery clerk actually asked me out of the blue if I would like a job, so I pursued it. There are some fun things about stocking shelves. Making everything look nice, filling in empty spots. The best part is being able to direct a customer to the product they are seeking.

And then the band aids happened.

Let's just look at Johnson&Johnson, a popular brand of bandaid. The line that my local store carries includes comfort-flex plastic (60 count), medium comfort-flex adhesive pads (10 count), large comfort-flex adhesive pads (10 count), comfort-flex sheer (40 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (40 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (60 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (80 count), comfort-flex extra large (10count), comfort-flex clear (30 count). And so on to the tune of over 40 varieties of type, size, and use.

Ah, but we would be remiss if we only offered 40 types of one company's product. So we also offer another 40 or so similar products of the generic house brand.

Even if you skipped those last two paragraphs, that means EIGHTY types and varieties of band aids. And band aids don't come in those sturdy metal canisters anymore. No, indeed. They come in paper boxes.

Paper bandaid boxes fall over at the whisper of a touch. So, the poor sod who gets the job of restocking the bandaid shelves -- it's like playing that children's game "Operation" where the buzzer sounds if you touch the sides of the "incision." But in this case, the boxes fall over, mix themselves up, turn their backs on me, slide, fall off the shelf, stand on their head, and turn on an angle. Anything but stay where they are PUT.

Of course people need band aids. And no doubt the magic Market Research has shown that people need band aids to come in all one size, and assorted, and waterproof, and extra large, and medium, and sheer, and clear, and flexible, and sport, and pre-treated with antibiotic ointment, and shaped for fingers, and shaped for toes, and extra-sticky, and less sticky, and the all-important travel pack.

But I don't need to be the one who messes with the incredibly tedious job of straightening and
restocking the bandaid shelves. I felt the sand of my life descending into the bottom of the hourglass as I conscientiously did this job. NOT enough sand in the top to make this job worth me doing.

Not only band-aids, but allergy medicine, shaving cream, lotions, shampoos, vitamins, diapers, chocolate bars, hairspray, feminine products, toothpaste. They all come in MULTIPLE multiple sizes.

Not enough sand, my friends, NOT ENOUGH SAND.





5 comments:

The Mom Chef said...

I've had very similar thoughts about multiple same-type products. Just today I saw a commercial for a new kind of Dawn dish detergent and thought, 'Really?'. That being said, I am guilty of having multiple types of Band-Aids in the cabinet, especially now that there's a Dudette in the house. She requires easy-to-remove (all the time), waterproof (sometimes) and Super Heroes (more often than not). Our lives are spicy, thus all the variety. :)

Susan Taylor said...

Certainly, there are different needs. And who doesn't want to have some fun bandaids in the house for the kids?

I had already come to the conclusion as a consumer/shopper that there are WAY too many choices in the grocery store, but working there brought it home in a new way.

Stephanie M said...

I love reading your writing Susan. Not enough sand, indeed!

Ida Chiavaro said...

Aah the zen of shelve stacking, until we get to the band aids... Funny how the more rubbish is presented to us the the more we use... but I especially love the part that you were toying with the idea of retail and bam you were offered the job... :)

lyndagrace said...

Hello Susan, I am happy to see that you are back writing your blog. I do enjoy it.
I suppose you could look at bandaid shelf stocking from the reference point of "well someone has to do it."
I liken it to housework. It's never ending and only temporarily rewarding.
Isn't it a fact that hour glass sand flows faster as we get older? Anyway that's how it seems to me.