Photo: The precious tushies of both of my sons have always been covered with Pampers Diapers. When you are as crazy-busy as I am, it’s nice to know that at least the diapers are going to work. Rarely has Pampers failed me, and usually when they do, it’s my fault. So I’m usually happy to shell out the money to get these pricey, but good diapers. But for the last two months, something has been amiss… and the answer that I got from Pampers last week just didn’t make it better.
I’m sorta peeved and I need to write about it.
Ursa Major isn’t potty trained yet. In the course of everything that we’ve gone through this year, I just haven’t been able to include potty training into the mix. We’ve started and stopped—Ursa Major is ready, but not ready. We’ve got the language down, and we’ve got a bit of the motivation, but the whole process hasn’t clicked for him—especially number two, if you know what I mean. So we’ve tabled potty training until January, after the move.
That means lots and lots of diapers. Two babies still in diapers. Using Amazon, I purchase $73 a month worth of diapers and then spend another $17 on wipes. I know that I shouldn’t, but I use Pampers. We tried Huggies on Ursa Major once when he was much smaller and they just leaked and leaked. They were awful. I used about 10 diapers of a mega-sized box and then gave them away. I’ve never deviated from the Pampers because I know that they work. I’ve no problem with the product at all.
So when Pampers did their big huge reboot two months ago, I was cool—they got rid of my thick-care wipes which pissed me off, but they made their baby-fresh wipes thicker and better, so I was fine. I’m using their Cruisers-style diapers, and we’ve got a box of Easy Ups in the closet for the days when The Husband is feeling like he wants to take on toilet duties. So let’s be clear: That’s 4 boxes of Pampers products in this house—3 coming in regularly every single month.
Until the reboot.
Before the reboot, I was getting a box of 128 size 6 cruisers diapers for 36.79. That would last me an entire month, no problem at all. It was absolutely perfect.
After the reboot, I’m getting 104 size 6 cruisers diapers for 36.79. They basically reduced my box by about a week’s worth of diapers. So now, no matter what, I’m either purchasing extra size 6 diapers (which I did on Sunday at the grocery store for a king’s ransom) or I’m purchasing a box of Easy Ups every month to supplement, for 23.20 a month and risking poop disasters in the middle of my day. (Poop disaster in an Easy Up is awful. Ridiculous.)
I just want to feel like I got a month’s worth of diapers for the amount of money I’ve spent. Especially because I’ve been giving Pampers my money consistently for almost 3 freaking years now. Two boys in Pampers. $100 a month pretty consistently for 20 months now thanks to the addition of Ursa Minor and his diapering needs. This really shouldn’t be hard. Give me a month’s worth of diapers.
So I sent Pampers an email on Friday when I looked in my little diaper basket for Ursa Major and found that I’m running uncomfortably low. My next Amazon order doesn’t show up until the 18th. I sent a very polite email expressing my disappointment—I love the product, I buy consistently, I don’t want the crap that they offer through their rewards program, I just want to feel like I bought a month’s worth of diapers when I give ya’ll my money.
The response from “Patrick,” a “team supervisor” at Pampers?
“As you may have seen, we recently made some significant improvements to our diapers. In order to do so, we had to make a tough choice. Rather than increasing the package cost of our diapers, we chose to reduce the number of diapers per pack. This allows us to continue to offer meaningful improvements to Pampers and still deliver value. For information about our diaper product changes, please visit our website.
Still, we appreciate your comments, and I’m sharing them with the rest of our Pampers Team. Thanks again for taking the time to reach out to us. “
Now, look, this just pisses me off. Because I have a bunch of friends who are either in or have graduated from business school and so I know that this has nothing to do with value and has everything to do with profit margins. Someone over at P&G figured out that I will purchase more product, in this case either more Cruisers or the Easy Ups, because I have to cover my kid’s ass with a diaper. And while the reboot of the packaging has been great, I haven’t noticed and “significant improvements” in the diaper products I’ve purchased—same smell, same flexibility, same wetness protection. Ya’ll colored the boxes different and took out some of the diapers because you want me to add another box to my monthly Pampers purchase.
I’m sharing because I’m simply furious. There are things that are annoying enough about motherhood. Pampers was a pretty consistent and reliable thing—that’s why I continued to purchase their products. But now that I feel like I’m being hosed, I am thinking about dropping the line all together. I would have gone with Luvs, but did you know that Luvs is a Proctor and Gamble product, too? Maybe I should go with Kirkland brand diapers (Costco). Does anyone use them?
And since I’m already been in a bad mood, there is something else that has been grinding my gears for a bit.
Last month, a big story came out of Lunenberg here in Massachusetts about a bi-racial football play who was targeted with racist graffiti spray painted onto his house. The image was ridiculous: grey spray paint on the side of the house that read “Knights don’t need Niggers.” Disgusting.
So, of course this garnered a lot of attention, and it was soon reported that the football team was to blame. So the town of Lunenberg actually forfeited all of their remaining football games of the season (including their big Thanksgiving game) and had a big peace rally during the month. The town, according to reports, was split in two: With people blaming the football team outright and calling them racist bullies or people supporting the team and calling for the games to brought back. Either way, it was a mess. Not to mention that the FBI was brought in and a lot of police resources were used in the investigation. Everyone, from the police chief to the superintendent took this story seriously.
So when we all found out last week that the mother of the targeted football player is the only suspect in the racist spray painting, well… let’s just say I was livid (along with many others). I’ll remind you that this is an interracial couple: White Mom, Black Dad, two adorable boys it looks like.
Listen, it’s hard enough. Being part of a minority is hard enough. Being part of a marginalized population is just hard enough. When people do super stupid shit like this, when they cry wolf or make up something in order to garner attention, it lessens the chances that when real stuff happens any of the rest of us will get the real help and justice we need. There are real interracial families in this country who are subject to real discrimination or violence. Furthermore, it gives the rest of us a bad name—it looks like we are families with chips on our shoulders, looking for any excuse to cry racism and disrupt the fabric of a community. It makes our presence stick out where it doesn’t need to and further heightens the chance that we may receive negative attention from people who have issues.
And it’s just damned irresponsible. Not just because she is a mother of children and she put them at risk, but also because she’s a member of a marginalized community so she put us all at risk. Sometimes you need to think about how your behavior will be reflected on others. You need to remember that your actions can reverberate farther and wider than you could ever anticipate. When it comes to small communities like ours, action, like words, matter.
This woman hasn’t been charged with a crime yet, but she could face filing a false report charges. Possibly even obstruction of justice charges. I don’t think she’ll see any charges or handcuffs, frankly. I think it would be hard to make such charges stick. But the damage that she has done to her own reputation (and to that of her family, unfortunately) is done. We’ve all see her here in Massachusetts. We know who she is. And we know who her son is, too, and I think that is the worst part about it. He will always be attached to this story, her story, and we will probably never know the full extent of his consequences for that. He will, though, and I hope he lets her know every day.
I hate to write a ranty post during the holiday season. I am usually alls about the positive energy during this time of year. Maybe it’s the 7th day of back pain that I’m currently suffering or the stress of preparing for this move, or maybe the fact that the electrician for our house quit mid-project and now we’re looking for a new one… either way, positive is out the window at the moment.
I’ll do my best to find some happy-happy joy-joy before the end of the week.