Consumer Products Update

Here’s what’s showing up on the Reinvented consumer products radar these days.

Toothpaste: If you ignore the propganda (like “Showers your whole mouth with rich Micro-Active Foam”), the new AquaFresh Extreme Clean is actually pretty exciting toothpaste. Who would have thought that “orange” and “toothpaste” would ever be a good combination. But it works. And the space-age stand-up tube is the first useful innovation in toothpaste tubes to come along in a long while: not only does it clear deck space on the sink, but it somehow removes the need to squeeze and curl the tube.

Furniture: In his latest move to control all aspects of Island Life, Tim Banks’ empire now extends to furniture: the Southport Home Hardware has an new mezzanine devoted to beds, couches, and chairs. While the design sensibility isn’t exactly breathtaking, it is a cut above the “colonial pine” aesthetic that so infects most Island furniture stores. Catherine found a very nice orange easychair that would be perfect in the new DataBunker. Unfortunately, it sells for $1620, which is, by any reasonable measure, too much to spend on an easychair.

Dust: The Swiffer revolution continues. Catherine and my mother both report that the new Swiffer-Red Devil combo unit is great. My claims that “I don’t know how to run that Swiffer thing” grow weaker and weaker every day.

Air Travel: There appears to be a move by Air Canada to switch traffic that would have once gone Charlottetown — Halifax — Somewhere to go, instead, Charlottetown — Montreal — Somewhere. I’ve noticed this particularly with Boston routings: the early morning flight that puts you on the ground at Logan around 9:30 a.m. Eastern now flies through Montreal. Conceptually this is hard to grasp — it feels like doubling back. The gulag like Air Canada Jazz waiting room at Dorval (Gate 46 et al) doesn’t make this any better, although the opportunity to pre-clear customs in Montreal (which I’m only assuming exists) is attractive, as it saves time on the Boston end.

Aeroplan: After grousing about how hard it is to find last minute Aeroplan routings, Oliver and I ended up flying on points to Montreal this weekend, reserving only a couple of days in advance. While we would have preferred a Friday-Sunday trip, the compromise, which was Saturday-Tuesday, suited us well enough.

Yoghurt: I’m sensing a resurgence in the yoghurt market. Dan James reports that “putting yogurt on your cereal/harvest crunch/oatmeal is WAY better than milk. For so many years I have been lied to. Honestly, you think it weird, it’s not.” This parallels my own discovery of yoghurt, over the last six months, as the core of my morning meal. I’m particularly partial to the blueberry Danone, but I’m finding new and interesting flavours and textures are available in other brands, so it pays to experiment. While my environmental sensibilities would see me buying big containers of the stuff, I’ve become enamoured of the little one-serving sizes to the point where I cannot conceive of the tubs as a delivery vehicle. Hint: a small container of blueberry yoghurt at 4:00 p.m. will leave you feeling much better than a Coffee Crisp.

Chocolate Bars: After a good 25 years of diehard chocolate bar consumption, my exciting gallbladder adventure, which rendered all sugar and chocolate like poison, weaned me quite effectively. I tried a Coffee Crisp yesterday, and found it much like eating sickly sweet flavoured cardboard. Why bother? Even Zero bars hold little allure. Although I gotta say that a good hunk of Scharffen Berger is still quite delightful.


jodi's picture
jodi on November 28, 2003 - 00:49 Permalink

Pete, I tried that toothpaste. I didn’t like it — tasted too much like Halls throat candy. Have you ever tried Toms of Maine all natural toothpaste (fennel)? While Johnny won’t touch the stuff, this is the only brand that won’t make me want to vomit while brushing. And the chocolate…after you try Lindt swiss chocolate balls ($6/12 balls!) you will not go back to that cardboard stuff. Those swissies sure know their chocolate.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on November 28, 2003 - 01:09 Permalink

An old girlfriend of mine was a fan of the Tom’s of Maine fennel, so every time I use it I think immediately of those old days, many of which were complicated and confusing. So I try to avoid it. I’ve tried other Tom’s flavours, but I find they remind me of the White Cliffs of Dover too much.

On the Lindt front, I agree 100% — Catherine and I got a free Lindt ball each at Eatons, back in their Aubergine free-spending days. It seems to me that the swissies have many things right.

Mandy's picture
Mandy on November 28, 2003 - 08:19 Permalink

when it comes to the toothpaste world, I’m a die hard for plain white paste.. howeverthis still gets my vote as one of the best ideas to come along in ages.

Ritchie Simpson's picture
Ritchie Simpson on November 28, 2003 - 13:02 Permalink

re: swiffer, this product is just another insidious wavelet of commercialism and corporate dependance, small as it may be, lapping at the beach of independance one grain of personal responsibility at a time. Resist Progress!!
re: chocolate, give me Lindt truffle and I’ll buy a swiffer. NO! Make that 2 truffles; I won’t sell out cheap.

Mella's picture
Mella on November 29, 2003 - 06:36 Permalink

I was introduced to that fancy toothpaste at my girlfriend’s and I couldn’t stop raving about it to her: The honey-lemon flavour, the wild orange colour, and the best thing about the tube is that the easy-grip top somehow screws off with only a quarter turn.

And I just learned that it’s available real cheap at a dollar store across the street from my place.