Sunday, March 22, 2015

Where are they now?

Greetings, all.  I don't usually post on Sundays, but opportunity knocked this morning, so to speak.

Was thinking not about people who have faded from everyday sight, but rather some products that I (and most likely a number of others) formerly used, when they were readily available.  As quickly as consumer products arrive on the scene and store shelves, they appear to disappear just that fast.  So here are some such items that fit that description.

First up--a childhood snackfood and breakfast favorite--Concord grape Pop-Tarts, by Kellogg's.  When I was a kid we didn't eat much cereal at our house (I didn't and still don't drink milk, so that was a big holdup); in fact, breakfast was kind of a foreign concept in our family, except on weekends, when time allowed preparation of something pretty good.  So packaged stuff was about the only breakfast to be had during weekdays.  And we liked Pop-Tarts, and I can almost remember when they were first introduced in the early 60's, but really took off in our minds when frosted varieties appeared, around 1967.  We tried a variety of flavors, but one in particular was my favorite---Concord grape.  I didn't like much grape flavored food (my younger brother would ONLY drink grape Hi-C, so that was the only "juice" we ever in the house) but these Pop-Tarts were an exception.

Fast forward to adulthood and early in our marriage, my wife encouraged me to eat breakfast, SOMETHING to start the day.  So I gravitated to time-saving items like Pop-Tarts, and the grape flavor again became a favorite.  Then they just went away.  Same fate as the Dutch apple flavor, I suppose, which were also pretty good.  A few years ago, in an effort to capture the fickle youth market, Kellogg's introduced a series of "wild" flavors, and grape was among them, complete with purple frosting.  They were OK, but not like the original.

About a year ago I happened upon a number of "limited edition" flavors of Pop-Tarts in a store display, and, how about that, Concord grape was among them.  They looked and more importantly tasted the way I remembered.  I bought several boxes, knowing that they had a long shelf life.  Our primary grocer sold out, so I went to a competing store and bought out their stock.  Just ate the last ones about a month ago, and still miss them.

Here's another one---Scrubbing Bubbles flushable toilet bowl cleaner pads.  Dow Chemical was the original maker of the Scrubbing Bubbles cleaning line, and one of their products was a kit that involved a wand about 18 inches long to which one would attach a pad of layered paper that was treated with a cleaning product.  You dunk it in the bowl and the cleaner is activated, so you can clean your toilet bowl thoroughly and then flush the pad.  No nasty brush to store next to the toilet, which is a far better solution, in my estimation.

About six months ago they ceased to be available.  Whomever now makes these products still has plenty of Scrubbing Bubbles products, mostly for bathrooms, but finding these flushable pads is nigh unto impossible.  If you know where they can be had, let me know!

Coffee is another frontier of varying product availability.  Several years ago my mother-in-law wound up with a Senseo pod coffee maker.  I can't recall if it was a gift, or purchased with a gift card, but she really liked it.  Then about a year ago she began to complain that the pods were getting harder and harder to find.  Compounding her problem is that she lives in a small town, where she has Wal-Mart and not much else for groceries.  So my wife and I found a couple of places here in Lexington where they still have the pods that fit, one coffee variety in particular for her, so the crisis has been averted for now.

Funny sidebar:  somehow I bought a Keurig coffee maker that was pretty basic (didn't cost anything, I made the purchase with some sort of rewards points that were expiring).  We gave the maker to my mother-in-law for Mother's Day that year, probably two or three years ago.  This was at about the same time that she first began to experience difficulty finding pods for her Senseo.  Anyway, given the wide availability of K-Cups, we thought this would be an excellent solution, right?  Not quite.  My MIL stated flatly that the coffee didn't taste good and that we could have it back.  I believe it now resides in my daughter-in-law's office.  So at least someone is using it.

One more product missing in action---Chi-Chi's taco meat.  We have been buying this stuff for years, off and on.  Great for a quick snack or lunch, as long as you have tortillas or chips.  Lots faster and tastier than browning and seasoning ground beef from scratch.  But now we can't find this, either.  Not tragic, but an occasional quasi-Mexican meal could be had relatively easily with this product, and now that's not an option.

I could go on (and on and on, of course) but that's a pretty good start.  What products were part of your regular routine, whether it's food-related, cleaning products, or something else that you now cannot locate?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am suddenly craving a Pop-Tart....

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