Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Dear Product Companies...

Writing is my passion, but unfortunately like many authors, I do not make a living off it and as such have a day job. I have worked retail since I was sixteen years old and eighteen years later, I'm still here. Now, for the past twelve years I have been in charge of the HBA department (shampoos, deodorant, medicine, dental, etc.). I order the product and stock it on the shelves. As such, I have seen countless packaging changes come by over the years, some good and neat, others....not quite so much.

First off, we have the product that has irritated me the most for many years: Dial body wash. Now, the old packaging was functional and nice. The current packaging not so much. It's thin and top heavy. You can breath on these blasted bottles and they fall over. Every day I have to repetitively pick them up and I've had countless elderly customers complain that these top heavy bottles have fallen over on them in the showers, leaving large bruises on their legs and feet. Several years ago, I contacted Dial with my concerns over their packaging design as many of our older customers are not quite computer literate. I got a short response saying they would forward it to their design department and let them know. Nothing has changed since then. If it wasn't mandatory for me to order this product, I would refuse to carry it, in all honesty. The bonus bottles are wonderful, they have a wide base which allows them to remain steady on the shelf, unlike the regular 16 oz. size. It is difficult to stock top heavy product like this when they are constantly falling over on the shelves, knocking down more product in their wake. Dial body wash is in need of a serious bottle redesign.

Next up, we have a P&G product: Herbal Essences. When the current packaging first came out, I did think it was pretty creative as the shampoo and conditioner bottle fit together sort of like a puzzle. Unfortunately, my liking of that design quickly faded. While it may look appealing, the conditioner bottles face the same issue I have with the Dial body wash: they are top heavy. Quite recently, while stocking the Herbal Essences conditioner, I had a bottle wobble off the top shelf and hit me in the head, which by no means helped the headache I was already dealing with at the time. And it is not the first time those conditioners have wobbled over, let alone the first time I'd been hit in the head by one. Be it the 10.1 oz or the 23.7 oz family size, they are far too top heavy, the latter being the worst offender. I really shouldn't have to worry about being hit in the head by product when working.

Now this last one really isn't a product design issue, but more of a "why the need for such ridiculous names?" problem. OPI is a nail polish company famous for their out there color names. Sure, I myself have gotten a good laugh from these long color names that are somewhat pointless. But, being one who has had the unfortunate job of ordering said product, I know how much a headache it is. Looking off the order sheets and trying to find the blasted product with the same matching ridiculous name can take quite a bit of time, especially when the person ordering is getting interrupted by having to go help out at the registers in the middle of said order. Now, I'm not saying change the names, by all means keep them. They are hilarious. What I do suggest, however, would be to add a number/letter code, much like makeup products do. It would be easier on those of us ordering and even customers. A number code is much easier for them to remember than "Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It". Seriously.