Is there a product you use every day… multiple times per day… and have ever stopped to ask yourself, why??
Such is the case with Bath & Body Works Antibacterial Hand Soap. Before B&BW made their way north of the border, it was considered a luxury to own their sweetly-scented soaps. In fact, a trip to Niagara Falls, NY just wasn’t complete without stocking up on Kitchen Lemon, Sea Island Cotton and Sweet Pea Antibacterial Hand Soaps. At $3.75 per bottle, they were slightly more than the SoftSoap varieties found at Wal-Mart (okay, a lot more – often, SoftSoap could be purchased for $2.29) but I reckoned that my home was somehow homier with the addition of designer hand soap. Plus, B&BW frequently offered promotions, such as 5 soaps for $15, making it even more bang for my cross-border buck.
That was before Bath & Body Works expanded into Canada. And began charging $5.50 per soap. Huh.
The size hadn’t changed – still 236 ml – not even a cupful.
The quality of the product was still the same.
Even the scents were mostly carbon copies of one another – Sea Island Cotton was reinvented into Aqua Blossom which smelled curiously like Dancing Waters but was actually just a fabric softener-type scent repurposed into hand soap.
And those frequently offered promotions? Now we were offered a whopping 4 soaps for $20… increasing the cost per unit by $2 over the “5 soaps for $15″ deals of yesteryear.
Why the HELL am I paying so much for soap?
First of all, kudos to Bath & Body Works who coined the term “Antibacterial Hand Soap”. The word antibacterial preys on North American’s fear of germs and bacteria, hence, anything antibacterial is preferable over a product that is not, correct? The fact is, ALL soaps are antibacterial, even when the manufacturer chooses not to include the catchword in their product name. The very definition of soap is a product used to remove dirt and bacteria, so adding “Antibacterial” before your name is akin to creating new and improved “Snot Catching Tissues”, “Ink Dispersing Pens” or “Hydrating Water”.
Second, I get that Bath & Body Works hand soaps smell delicious – and often include fragrances that can’t be duplicated. Trust me, I’ve been using the brand for over 8 years! But the scent is experienced for exactly 14 seconds while lathering and has a lingering threshold of about 6 minutes after you dry your hands. Could this be replaced by a more economical product? Would my life be any less complete if substituted Method’s Juicy Pear Hand Soap ($3.29) or Dial’s Pomegranate & Tangerine ($2.79)? Or… and here’s where really being smart comes in… couldn’t I simply purchase a huge 1L refill container of a drugstore variety for about $5.00?
Finally, what could I be buying if I forego $5.50 hand soap? Let’s break it down. For argument’s sake, let’s say that I purchase the soaps on promo – 4 for $20, or $5 per soap.
I have five soap stations in my home – master bathroom, main bathroom, two powder rooms and kitchen. The kitchen and main bathroom soaps are replaced most frequently – on average, once per month. The other rooms are replaced once every two months or so.
Hence, my annual Bath & Body Works expenditure is:
Kitchen and Main Bathroom: $120
Master Bathroom and Powder Rooms: $90
So, $210.00 on hand soap. Does anybody want to smack me? If I simply refilled each of the empty plastic containers I already have with SoftSoap’s 1.65L refill soap, my annual expenditure would be… $30.00. Net difference: $180.00
Okay, friends – what should I buy with the extra $180 I’ll have this year? Because guess what, Bath & Body Works – You just don’t work for me anymore.
Is there a product that you overspend on, or have overspent on in the past? Do tell!