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7:24 AM Mon, Oct. 22nd

Older Than Dirt: How Do You 'New and Improve' That?

Skippy Peanut Butter is one of those products that just can't be improved

Skippy Peanut Butter is one of those products that just can't be improved

What exactly does "new and improved" mean? Recently I purchased a bottle of bleach for some cleaning in the bathroom. Not my favorite household chore, but it's got to get done.

Buying a bottle of bleach seems like a simple enough purchase. As I approached the soap and bleach aisle, I was somewhat surprised at all the choices I had. There was bleach for washing clothes, bleach for cleaning purposes, as well as scented and unscented.

There was also a NEW and IMPROVED bleach. This particular one said "no splash" on it. That sounded like a pretty good idea. I actually have had bleach splash back on me and spot my clothes. I have to wonder sometimes, if so many products keep improving, doesn't that mean they must have been pretty crappy to start with?

Needless to say, the new and improved splash-free bleach was disappointing. Although it truly did NOT splash, it also no longer cleaned as it used to. In order to make something better, do they always have to take away something good that it was already doing?

I think it is a lot like using environmentally safe products. I always like to stay away from things that have poison in them, but sometimes you do have to settle for less quality, as well.

I would never put anything outside my home that could be dangerous to animals, but trying to use nail polish remover without the acetone, does not work! Sure, the acetone will burn right through your clothes if you spill it on yourself, but it also does a dandy job of removing the nail polish just like it always did.

Years ago I remember my Mom used to get a "prize" in the box with the detergent. Sometimes it was a dish towel, and other times it could be a cup. Not a measuring cup, mind you, but a drinking cup, or sometimes a glass. The cardboard she would remove from the box top would often go into our shoes to fill the hole in the sole. My brothers often remark how Oxydol detergent just seemed to be a part of their shoes. It did keep your sock from poking through as the shoes wore out.

Getting S&H Green Stamps was something you got for free. Kind of like a prize. The more money you spent at the store, the more stamps you could put into your little stamp book. I remember how excited we would get when we went to the Green Stamp redemption center. Sometimes Mama would save enough stamps to get a new toaster, or an iron. That was very exciting. (At least it sure seemed so at the time.)

Why don't we get more prizes in our purchases these days? Do they still have any prizes in the cereal boxes? Half the fun of opening the new box was fighting over the prize!

Wouldn't it be nice to get a prize in a can of coffee? Even something as simple as a new coffee scoop? Since they have shrunk the three-pound coffee can to just under two pounds, they ought be giving us SOMETHING extra.

I believe that anyone who buys decaffeinated coffee should get a prize for sure. Not only do you have to pay MORE for coffee that is leaving something OUT, but it also seems to defeat the whole purpose of drinking coffee in the first place!

There are still certain things that never become new and improved. I think that is because they were perfect the first time around!

For instance, how would you ever improve a Hershey chocolate bar? Is there ANY room for improvement with Kraft Mac and Cheese? No matter how many times they change the packaging, it is still the great stuff it was in the beginning. Like Skippy peanut butter. Not much room for improvement there.

Sometimes we just need to leave things as they are, and stop trying to improve on them. I really do miss my rotary phone ...