Thursday, November 12, 2009

An open letter to Colgate Palmolive

I'm in the backyard mucking around. I reach into a pile of leaves and encounter something warm and slimy. I scream and recoil. Slug nest? Some sort of mold? Who knows and who cares! I do a frantic grass wipe before high-tailing it to the house.

My hands are pretty filthy underneath the goo-streaks and I dither for a split second at the screen door. I opt to use my dirty but relatively un-slimed pinky to slide it open. At the sink, I carefully use the same digit to turn on the water. Then I put my forearm atop the bottle of Softsoap and give it an awkward albeit solid pump.

Instead of a nice thick bead of soap, I get that telltale gloppy fart noise. I furiously pump the bottle. More farts, no soap--just a few useless bubbles. I lean in to inspect the bottle and see that there is plenty of product left--enough, in fact, to wash my hands five times over, but it's not coming out.

Why? Because the little plastic pump suction tube ends three-eighths of an inch from the bottom of the goddamn bottle!

* * *

Dear Colgate Palmolive:

Due to the cutesy little shortened suction tube trick you miserable bastards are pulling with the Softsoap, I'm paying for 7.5 ounces of soap of which only about seven are usable.

This is no time for some insufferable Boy Scout "Be Prepared" speech, so don't you shake your heads and mutter about your economy refills. I buy the disposable soap dispensers for a reason. I'm running a Utility Grade operation here. I've got kids running in and out all day long washing their hands. Do you have any idea what that dispenser looks like after seven ounces of use? It's smudged and dented and shitty.

Oh sure, I could save up all the bottles with their half-ounce of unused soap and try to empty them into the least beat-up bottle (and you can bet that I'd be having to get my finger in there and pop out the dents and then scrub the pump top and bottle as well and it still wouldn't look like new).

Yeah right.

Like I'm going to dick around cleaning used soap bottles and then upending them on the vanity, leaning them between the Kleenex box and Lavoris bottle like some half-ass suburban housewife Jenga game. And if I did get it all propped up (not like I ever tried or anything) and went to put the laundry in the dryer while the soap drip-drip-dripped, you just know that the whole operation would fall over and Softsoap would go everywhere. Or it wouldn't be stacked right and half the soap would ooze down the side of the recipient bottle (that I just cleaned). It'd probably get on the mirror somehow as well (not that I know or anything).

Say I just shitcan the bottle. What of that undispensed soap in there? Does it effectively make the recyclable bottle unrecyclable? Will it muck up the recycling process? I don't want to screw up everything like the guy dumping his used oil down the drain and contaminating up half of Lake Erie.

I'm done with your Softsoap and its dicky little suction tube. I'm off to the land of 99-cent Lucky SuperSoft, which clocks in at 16.9 ounces and, courtesy of a suction tube that goes all the way to the bottom, I'll enjoy every ounce of it.

Kiss my ass goodbye, shitbags.



* * *


(S)wine said...

viva lucky supersoft!

Earl Tesch said...

Man! And you tell me to lighten up?

Actually, we Tesch's have moved to buying the Sam's Club 50 gallon barrel of Soft Soap. I haven't seen the last 1/8 inch of a dispenser in 17 months.

Word Verification:

Deten - (dee' tyn) - noun - (1) Any object that becomes lodged in the tread of a shoe and causes an uncomfortable/unnatural sensation in one's gait. "I had to use a needle-nose pliers to get that fucking deten out of my Doc Martin's."

LimesNow said...

Hey, Erin~ "warm and slimy", "slug nest", "grass wipe" and "gloppy fart noise" made for interesting reading over my lunch.

Thanks for the belly laugh!

Word verification: reemzy
As in, "Erin gave the reemzy to Colgate Palmolive!"

J9 said...

"half-ass suburban housewife Jenga game" had me laughing out loud! I use Method soap, screw softsoap.

Tag said...

Thanks Erin, 16 years ago I bought a house from these miserable Cincinnati bastards. I think they left every pipe in the house 3/8 inch short. I had to replace blown pipes everywere within two yers of moving in. I left scathing messages to their CEO which he failed to answer. Now they can kiss my big, white butt before I buy one of the ubiquitous products.

Glass Houses said...

I love me some dollar store pump action hand soap. And the tube always goes to the bottom.

In general, having pump action handsoap available for use at my sinks makes me feel accomplished and grown up. I used to keep a bar of dial there, but that created more mess than it was worth.

Word Verification: dialinat

As in: "I used ter use them bar soaps like dialinat, but them push-button soaps is less messy."

Hiding Myself From Me said...

From : Colgate Palmolive

To : Erin O'Brien

Our suction tubes do reach the bottom of the bottle...try screwing your cap down all the way !

Eva said...

That made for a good laugh at the end of the day. I LOVE the housewif jenga game!!!!
Still giggling....

Celtic_Girl said...

Excellent! I'm still laughing!

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

This is exactly how I felt this morning when I couldn't pump any more from my Clean & Clear Morning Burst facial wash.

I had to twist off the cap and swipe my face with the suction tube.

I'm about to be in the same situation with my VS Love Spell body splash.

This is a global pandemic.

Anonymous said...

I am sure some C-P PR rep will send you some coupons for other worthless products in the mail soon.

Verification word: cogis - The men in suits hanging out with the playas at the basketball games.

Julie said...

I'm still stuck on the warm and slimy slugfest. What was it? From where did it crawl? I am seeing a pureed escargot-type situation. Please end my suffering.

Word verification: lessive
"Erin stuck her hand in the warm lessive of the possum."

Jalinee said...

I loove your sass.
The tyranny of half-used soap bottles ends here!

G said...

I use all kinds of cheap-o soaps simply because of the problems you so clearly and eloquently stated.

BTW: did you ever identify said slimy slugfest?

Annray said...

LOL! Erin, I absolutly adore you! That letter is totally something I'd pump (pun intended) out after having to deal with something as annoying as that. Job well done!

SDuck said...

Lol, this sounds like something I'd write! I always wonder why they do this with soap...okay, I don't wonder about it because I know WHY they do it...but really, it's not right!

Jack Cluth said...

Uh...try switching to decaf?? ;-)

Whitenoise said...

Your letter is now a photocopy of a photocopy plastered in the lunchroom of some random glass tower where people draw little happy faces in the margins and speculate anonymously about the sexual activity that may or may not occur in the half-assed suburban wilderness... Secretly they know you are right but they will never give you the satisfaction of penetrating beyond the corporate boilerplate apology.

Chef E said...

Oh my, this has me laughing out loud, but I have the same damn soap pumps we had nine years ago, and they still work, I still fill them up, but not with softsoap...some other cheap version, and I came from the fill it with water and swish it around generation, like ketchup...

I came over via J9 and love it!

henry said...

I don't know how you do this every day Erin. How many times have we all had the same thing happen. You brighten my day(s). Thanks.

btw. amber tim murphy. you made me laugh too!

Gillian said...

Yeah Fuck 'em Fuckers at Colgate. You want yer money's worth, demmit!

Gillian said...

You have an award waiting for you at

jford said...

"Kiss my ass goodbye, shitbags."

LOL! So how do you really feel!

Dan said...


Just to help you keep your vocabulary vibrant with current and hip epithets, I'm amused by "asshat" and it's derivatives. Perhaps your next open letter to a corporate giant might include it.

Please know, I think "kiss my ass goodbye, shitbags" is simply brilliant in its own right.

Just wanting to join in your fun. My using the word "hip" is a giveaway that I'm not, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Our ancestors endured hardship, deprivation, food scarcity and hostile natives to settle and develop this country. How far we've divagated, sitting with our turgid bellies pissed when the cable goes out, we don't have cell phone coverage, or there's an impediment to washing our hands with perfumed liquid soap. Drop to your knees and thank the gods of progress you don't have to mix up your own acrid amalgam of lard and lye.

Then go do something productive for god's sake.


The Colgate-Palmolive Company [TM]

Erin O'Brien said...

kissy kissy my assy assy, Colgate.

Matt Conlon said...

To quote Mornay from Braveheart, " I'd say that was rather less cordial than he was used to..."

Well done.

Anonymous said...

The modern conveniences of life don't seem so, when all you wanted from them was full suction.

word verification: reati
Meaning: when you life is not real enough for Reality.

HeyJoe said...


Tina said...

My favourite part is the 'love, Erin,' at the end. Ha!

kelly@TearingUpHouses said...

i think this every time i get to the bottom of my soap. every. freakin'. time.

you crack me up. seriously.


Just me.... said...

Dearest Erin.. I'm new to your blog.. with all due and most heartfelt respect I have to say .. the comments are at least 50% of the fun of reading here!!

My real reason for commenting was to see what my word verification would be ... help me out here because everyone else seems to have such serendipitous words... i got pardstr... I'm almost disappointed... thanks for YOUR words, you do brighten up a day!

Just me.... said...

Oh and by the way.. the whole slime/slug thing sounded kind of Blair Witchy to me :-)

and again... verification .. futfary.. what up wid dat?

Al Penwasser said...

Soap? Uh, oh.

Anonymous said...

Add water to the soap at the bottom of the bottle, wash with the soapy water. Love- Heloise.

Boomka said...

It amazes me that you haven't been picked up as a consultant yet! This gets chalked up to the, "seriously how come nobody else realized this yet" list of things that don't get fixed. Like bars scanning my ID but airport security not. I used a friends bathroom recently who had an actual bar of soap on his counter, I almost didn't know how to use it. Perhaps this might be something worth your time as well even though you found a cool suction cuppy dispenser =)