Friday, December 26, 2008


Here's my cure for the retail economy's woes: manufacturers make, and retailers sell, what people want to buy, and at fair prices. Very simple.
I've complained before about the disappearance of my favorite products. Here are a few of this week's brick walls:
1. Until a couple of years ago, it was not hard to find a decent-quality, inexpensive generic toilet seat that pretty much matched my
"Candlelyght" color American Standard fixtures. So hey, I like a clean, sturdy toilet seat that goes with the rest of the tank, the tub, the sink, that costs $15 or less. What I ended up with matches, all right, (better than the one in the photo) but it cost $50, is made of plastic (How could that possibly last? Plus which, you're supposed to clean it with soap and water only. Is that sufficiently sanitary?) and is by far THE MOST uncomfortable seat, with the smallest opening on the business side, that I have ever encountered, including in the Third World.
2. Since we all had colds, we've run out of tea. My favorite, next to any kind of chai, is Lipton's Ginger Twist Herbal. Do you think there might be room on the grocery store shelf among the 4,000 boxes of Lipton green tea for one box of Ginger Twist? Evidently not. I finally found it, for a price not quite as extortionist as the toilet seat, at this nice place and am awaiting delivery of two boxes. At this rate, I'm betting they'll be my last (unless we find out that green tea causes cancer). ** See here (added 02/05/2009) **
3. Okay, so I just bought, at great price, beautiful new Hunter Douglas mini-blinds. I don't mind a bit paying handsomely for these beautifully made, perfectly installed, totally functional light-control devices. But now I'd like to further improve the civilized appearance of all my rooms (only my baths and kitchen don't have at least one window of their own) by adding cord cleats. It would be nice to have something interesting, classy, and simple to install. Even better, something interesting, classy, and simple to install, that costs somewhat less than, say, $24 apiece. I calculate it will cost me a mere $144 plus shipping for enough of the 3-3/8 inch-size classy widgets to wind all my cords neatly out of the way.
4. My very favorite salad dressing, Naturally Fresh's (FAT FREE) Balsamic Vinaigrette is, most reassuringly, still shown on the maker's Web site. So why haven't I been able to get it at: Ultra Foods. Dominick's. Whole Foods. Treasure Island. ? All of which carry the brand in other flavors. It's the most wonderful stuff, naturally sweet-and-tart from the vinegar, with no extra sugar and just enough salt to raise your blood pressure by only a point or two. But it's the complete absence of fat that makes it virtually impossible to substitute an equally tasty homemade version.
5. My old Rubbermaid dish drain and drain board, despite my best efforts, are beginning to show their age. I need a big dish drain, because what I wash by hand is big stuff, big kettles and big skillets that don't go in the dishwasher. The counter top where this useful arrangement sits in my kitchen is beneath a wall cabinet, as is probably true in a lot, if not most, kitchens. So I orient the drainer/drain board in such a way that the long dimension is parallel to the length of the counter, and the lip of the drain board is on the short end of the drain board that hangs over the end of the counter and sends the drips to the sink. This way I can fit my big old spaghetti cooker and its insert into the dish drain without encountering the cabinet above. It also allows a sensible arrangement of the accouterments (soap dispenser, sponge dish). So that's the way I want it, period. Why, pray tell, has Rubbermaid decided to stop manufacturing large drain boards with lip along the short side?
Is anybody listening??

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