As some of you have learned by now, I am currently on a longer-than-usual assignment in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina this summer. Because it is a four month engagement, and it necessitates that I sometimes need to stay down here for two weeks at a time, I’ve rented a small apartment so that I can live more comfortably and do cooking for myself and store items over the weekends when I need to go home. This has forced me into a bachelor-like lifestyle where I have had to actually take care of myself, something I haven’t really had to do for like, I dunno, 13 years.
Routine shopping has become a new pastime for me. Oh, Rachel and I shop all the time, but I tend to ignore the mundane aisles, such as the personal hygiene products, because I tell Rachel usually to buy a whole bunch of something at COSTCO or get whatever is on sale. I don’t care — as long as I don’t stink up the house or walk around with a foul odor on me that my co-workers might notice, it makes no difference to me what product I use. So I have no cultural frame of reference for what is actually going on with that industry.
Maybe I have been so out of the routine shopping thing for so long, but these products caught my eye on a shopping trip to Kroger yesterday:
Maybe these have been around for years, but It appears there are now “Pro” and “Clinical” strength antiperspirants. This seemed like a particularly good idea to me, as the weather in Durham is approaching 90 degrees already and I have been taking half mile walks between the buildings that I need to work at. And we big guys tend to reek when we get sweaty.
I was about to grab 2 or 3 of these to test out, until I saw the PRICES.
WHOA! Eight bucks per stick? That’s more than twice the price of their regular brand!
Okay, I want to be All Day Fresh or Arctic Clean, but not at these prices.
Even the “loss” leader in this category, Right Guard, is still more than twice the price of their volume product.
So I looked at the back of these boxes and peered at the actual label. Like all other deoderants and antiperspirants, besides fragrance, the primary active ingredient is Aluminium Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly. All the “Pro” versions seem to have it in a 20 percent ratio whereas the regular products have it around 14-16 percent. At four to six percentage points difference, is this really going to make you sweat less and smell less stinky on a super hot day? And even in milder climates, is it really going to help, at more than twice the price? And is Aluminium Zirconium so expensive that a minor percentage increase in formulation will vastly increase manufacturing costs for companies like Gilette, Procter & Gamble, Mennen and Unilver to justify such a large price increase for these products?
Do any of you actually go out and buy this stuff or do you agree that it is a total ripoff?