August 7, 2012

An Open Letter to Always

Dear Always:

I have been a loyal customer of your feminine hygiene products for probably close to thirty years now, ever since I switched from a competitor's products in my late teens/early twenties so I could experience the joy of winged flight--or at least winged protection.

I even stuck beside you when you introduced the wildly ill-advised "Have a Happy Period" campaign because, let's face it, NO woman has a "happy" period.  We have periods laden with unpleasantness, whether from bloating till we puff up like Violet Beauregard in the Willy Wonka movies and can no longer fasten our pants or from becoming dangerously homicidal in our pursuit of the Holy Grail of menstruation:  chocolate.

"Communists in the funhouse" is now the code phrase de rigeur among my women friends.

We do not find aching backs and saddle areas "happy," and I think I can safely speak for the majority of my sisters when I say that neither do we consider having cramps which squeeze our collective uteri like someone trying to stuff an elephant in a meat grinder even remotely contenting, much less "happy."  Nor do we wish to strip off bits of paper with some random corporate exhortation to happiness every time we need to deploy the wings on yet another sanitary device.  If you want to give us fortune pads, try emblazoning them with more useful comments like "Your kid has a chocolate bar hidden in his desk" or "Hormones are not for Homicide" or "Be happy these aren't Poise pads" or "Put down the knife." 

Admit it, Always--that ad campaign was created by a bunch of men who think they have the first clue about what it's like to be a woman or to have a period.  Because no woman would ever be so foolish as to implement such ridiculous marketing as "Have a happy period."  We would be more likely to support a "Don't Get Arrested This Month" campaign.  And let's face it--the only woman ever likely to have a "happy" period is the one who trembled in terror that she might have accidentally gotten knocked up.  That woman will be "happy" to have her period--for maybe two hours, by which point the cramps will have kicked in and she will once again want to stab someone with a sharp stick for getting between her and the chocolate.

You want us to "have a happy period"?  Start selling these.  It'll be just like getting the prize from a cereal box.

Still, in spite of the "happy period" debacle, I remained loyal.  I kept using your products, even though I had to roll my eyes every month when I was again subjected to the asininity of your sentiment.  Eventually you desisted and instead began decorating your sticker tape with ribbons and your infinity logo.  This seemed appropriate to me because after some 35 years of this menstrosity, "infinity" seems exactly how long I may be consigned to continue it.

So aside from this one gross error in judgment, I have never had any real problem with your products.  Until recently, that is.  My problem currently is that in tweaking your products to maximize their performance, you have actually made them too effective.   Oh, sure, they still leak on occasion because unless you make the wings two feet long and out of Saran Wrap, Mother Nature is still gonna sneak in a few laughs at our expense.

No, what I am referring to now are the "improvements" you have made to your adhesives.  Admittedly, in the past I often became frustrated with pads which would not remain securely fastened to my undergarments, and for obvious reasons.  Now I have the opposite problem--I can't get the damn things off!

The last thing I want to do every two hours is spend an additional fifteen minutes sitting on the throne and attempting to detach my sanitary pads.  If I'm lucky, your products will come loose after only a slight struggle--in which the adhesive stretches to the breaking point like a Command Strip being removed from a wall--that leaves sticky residue and tape soldered to my underpants and requiring industrial solvents to remove.  And God forbid I attempt to place a new pad without first removing the remnants of the old (a process which can take anywhere from 10 minutes to three hours, depending upon the strength of the adhesion and the length of one's fingernails) because if I don't, then the next time I attempt to rip off a soiled pad half the backing will remain behind, causing a storm of little bits of pink and red cotton to erupt from my drawers like candy from the world's most macabre piñata.

This piñata is one rainbow you do NOT want to taste.

As if that weren't terrifying enough by itself, now imagine the pain involved when one of  your customers receives an unintentional waxing because she has just had the misfortune to get some hair caught in the epoxy you appear to be using to keep your pads in place.  Trapped, she can do nothing but await that excruciating moment when everything shifts and the hair is freed forcibly from her fragile follicles, hoping all the while that she can keep the shrieking to a minimum.  On the plus side, you could perhaps find a new niche in marketing your products for a DIY Brazilian.

While I'm all for progress, I would appreciate it if you would consider dialing back your enthusiasm for NASA-grade adhesives to "moderately functional" tapes so that I can avoid future deforestation and/or piñata panties.  If you do, I will love you.  Always.

Seriously.
Stickily yours,
Ginger