Wednesday, February 2, 2011


My wife has been couponing. This is a new sport for shoppers involving laying out thousands of dollars on ranch dressing and ketchup, because the price was so low, “it was practically free,” and then giving them away to friends and family because you ended up with five hundred bottles of each. She swears to me that we are saving money by stocking up on things we don’t need, but I remain skeptical.

One item in particular became a point of contention recently. She came home with six big squeeze bottles of “Men’s Hair and Body Wash.” I asked her why in the world she had bought me liquid body wash, to which she answered the typical coupon addict’s response of, “It was so cheap, they were practically giving it away.”

My main problem with that recurring answer is that there is a certain amount of money between “actually” and “practically” when it comes to giving things away at the store.

She then told me that she planned to stop buying bar soap for the shower. I was to immediately begin washing myself with liquid “Energy Wash” that would “Recharge and Energize without Drying.” (With mint extracts!). I politely explained that that was not going to happen, and she should return the bushel of body wash to the store. She calmly informed me about the coupon return policy restrictions, and politely inquired as to why I was such a stubborn jackass. I told her that my bar soap worked just fine, and then went on to state my case about how I don’t think we’re actually saving money when she buys things we don’t need, just because they are on sale. She didn’t see it my way.

After a few days and approximately three hundred requests from my wife for me to “try the damn body wash,” I gave in.

One of my main objections to using body wash was that I didn’t want to have to use her weird looking, pink, loofa-like, spongy, spidery, half-sandpaper/half-shammy-cloth thing-a-ma-jig that hangs on a rope from our shower handle. It looks like someone tied a pink fishnet into a knot the size of a grapefruit, and the only thing it does is collect shockingly cold water and dead skin cells. Besides being disgusting, it is a tool that I just don’t want to have to use.

I like bar soap. Bar soap is ingenious. You pick it up and use it, and when it disappears you know it’s time for a new one. It is self-cleaning, and there are no appurtenances, tools, holders, delivery containers, devices, or spongy loofa things. It’s just you and the soap. Simple.

She listened calmly to my hesitations about using her squishy pink bacteria farm-on-a-rope, then she rolled her eyes and explained - in the same voice she uses when she is helping one of our children figure out a ridiculously simple problem - that I obviously did not need to use her bath sponge. I could just squirt the body wash into my hand, and proceed to soap myself up. Since the body wash was apparently un-returnable, I gave in and told her I would give it a try. She thanked me profusely in the same voice she uses to thank police officers for speeding tickets.

The next morning, it was go time. I hopped into the shower, strangely enthusiastic about my new cleansing adventure. Maybe I would love the body wash. Maybe I would discover a whole new world of instant morning refreshment. It was, after all, “energy” wash that promised to “recharge and energize” me through the deft and patented use of non-drying mint extracts.

Here’s how my body wash experience went:
1) Grabbed bottle of energizing body wash from shower caddy.
2) Unscrewed the large blue bottle top on the squeeze bottle and stared down into the ¾” diameter opening.
3) Thought to myself, “How does this work? This stuff is going to come out of here fast.”
4) Smelled the energy wash. Mmmm. Minty.
5) Further pondered the large opening.
6) Examined the large blue bottle top in my other hand and finally noticed the flip-top cap on top.
7) Screwed large blue bottle top back onto bottle and flipped flip-top open.
8) Looked at much, much smaller squeeze-bottle delivery hole and decided that was the way to go.
9) Squeezed large handful of bright-blue minty energy wash into my right hand.
10) Flipped flip-top closed and set bottle of energy wash back in shower caddy.
11) Washed top of left forearm.
12) Ran out of minty energy wash.
13) Did some quick math in my head.
14) Decided that if I needed to keep opening the bottle and getting more minty energy wash every three seconds, I would be 2-1/2 hours late to work.
15) Left minty energy body wash in shower caddy.
16) Picked up bar of soap.
17) Washed myself.
18) Put soap back in soap tray.
19) Turned off water.
20) Toweled off.
21) Threw bottle of super-minty energy-style hair and body wash into trash can.

I informed my wife that the experiment had failed, and as a side note, that it did nothing to energize me at all, mint extracts or not.

She informed me that I was a Neanderthal and just simply did not know how to use body wash properly.

I’m a pretty smart guy. What am I missing, here? How is body wash supposed to be even remotely as convenient or useful as bar soap? I asked my wife that question, which she refused to answer. She just mumbled something about how cheap it was. I guess in the couponer’s mind, price goes a long way toward necessity and usefulness.

As far as the “recharge and energize” claim, I still haven’t figured that one out. Maybe it’s caffeinated and I was really supposed to drink it.

See you soon,

Copyright © 2011 Marc Schmatjen

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  1. Oh Marc,,,,,,you are such a MAN!!!! You guys are sooo funny and so much alike.

    Vicki B.

  2. Long live the cheap, effective, good for the earth packaging bar or soap!!!!!!!!! I agree!!!!!


  3. oops... bar OF soap! :)

  4. I have been hearing for years that us guys are all alike. Logically, doesn't that make us right? If there are an infinite number of wrong answers, but only one (or even a few) right answer(s) to every problem, then by virtue of the fact that we always agree, we have to be right, right?