Over the years I have performed what might be considered a non-scientific survey regarding a few commonplace toiletry items. It seems that over time, my body develops some sort of immunity to certain hygenic items if I stick with the same brand for too long. Their effectiveness wanes, and a swith (albeit temporary at times) is in order. The three culprits seem to include shampoo, deodorant, and tootpaste.
Tonight it was time to change deodorant. The timing was perfect - I was completely out of my "regular" kind, which I was starting to lose confidence in anyway. I had used a replacement brand a couple of times that I bought on sale. Sometimes, maybe things are on sale for a reason. This was an Arm & Hammer brand. I'm thinking it might work better sitting in the back of my fridge than it was working in my armpits. I vowed not to use it again, so a new anti-perspirant was in order.
Lucky for me, there was a coupon for Mitchum in the Sunday paper. OK, so I'm a coupon nerd. I prefer to think of it as good stewardship, stretching my dollar, etc. The coupon was in my pocket in case I had opportunity to stop in to my friendly neighborhood grocery store.
I was out late and on my way home at approx. 11:15 pm when I stopped to get deodorant and postage stamps at the 24-hour grocer. Perfect time to shop - very few people in sight. I proceeded to the checkout area where one solitary employee was stationed as though monitoring the entire store. I put my Mitchum down on the conveyor belt, laid the coupon next to it and my grocery savings card, and started to shuffle through my wallet looking for payment.
I had seen the cashier before. She is probably in her mid to late 50's. Friendly enough, and usually there on the late crew. Her name is Alma, though I had never noticed her nametag before. But tonight, we bonded. In a weird way. The following is a re-enactment of our brief conversation. A= Alma; M= Me.
A: I'm wearing Mitchum tonight. I bought some today with that same coupon from Sunday's paper.
A: Do you find that you have to change deodorants every once in a while?
M: As a matter of fact, I do. This is a new one for me.
A: Yes, it just seems like they stop working after awhile, and you have to try a different brand.
M: Yeah, I've thought the same thing.
A: I usually use Degree, but now I'm wearing Mitchum.
M: That's odd, I'm just coming off of a Degree cycle as well.
A: Yeah, I really like Arrid and Sure, but I like to change it up a little.
M: Seems like a good idea.
A: Well, this Mitchum is so good you only need it every two or three days.
M: I'm sort of an every day guy. Sometimes more than that.
A: Well, me too. I'm just saying, you could go a couple of days...
Admittedly, I'm not sure what else happened after that. I was on deo-overload. I did notice the nametag, somewhat on purpose. Alma and I shared the immunity of anti-perspirants, both just finished using Degree, and both are starting anew with Mitchum. And as bizarre as that converasation is at 11:15 in a giant grocery store between two strangers, I feel like I know Alma. Will we chat again, perhaps sharing opinions about toothpaste, tuna fish brands, or hair gels? Time will tell. But once you've shared your deodorant brand choice with others, you've bonded. No longer is she just the teller scanning my grocery cart contents. She's a real person. With a real name. And real armpits.
I can't wait to stop at Speedway to buy gas in the morning. Wonder where that conversation might go?
(PS - If you look at a container of Mitchum, their byline is "So Effective You Could Skip A Day" - seems Alma is on to something...)