Tuesday, June 26, 2007

An Open Letter to Pampers

Dear Pampers,

I have been a loyal customer for over two and a half years now. We started out with Swaddlers on our not-so-little baby girl, then progressed naturally to Cruisers. We tried other diapers, but always came back to yours, because they were the most absorbent, most leak-proof diapers out there. My daughter has what you might call a wide butt, and most other diapers simply couldn't cover it well enough to keep everything contained within. I also liked the soft, cloth-like feel and the velcro tabs.

However, you have recently changed your product, and I don't know how to tell you this, but...well...they suck. Really suck, honestly. Your new Cruisers seem to be cut smaller and more narrow than the old style, and based on our use, seem to hold about half as much as they previously did. We rarely had a wet-thru with the old Cruisers, but with the new ones, she's wetting through roughly every third diaper. I've had to resort to changing her diaper every hour or so to keep her from leaking through. How hard is it to create a diaper that can hold out for at least two hours?

Our daughter weighs about 38 pounds and is two and a half years old. Your diapers should still fit her. In fact, with the new design, you even created a new Size 7 diaper for 41+ pounds. We tried the new size along with her old Size 6 - they both leaked and barely fit her. She's not an overweight child, she's just tall and solid-built. Not all toddlers are skinny wisps who live on air and dust bunnies. Mine appreciates her food, and has inherited a solid frame, so she needs diapers that are wide enough to meet her needs.

So lately we've been scouring the stores looking for the "old-style" Cruisers. Luckily, you changed the font on the packaging and added a tiny amount of extra decoration to the diapers, so we can spot the old style packages. (Hint: if the name "Cruisers" has a capital "C" on the package, it's the old style - new one have a lowercase "c".) However, I'm so fed up with these lousy new diapers that it's time for us to find something new.

Pampers, you have disappointed me with your new design. I used to highly recommend your product, but now I must warn everyone away from your diapers. My laundry chores have increased dramatically since we bought these new diapers. With a new baby in the house now, I don't have time to deal with leaky diapers, more laundry, or changing diapers twice as often.

I can't understand why you chose to mess with a perfectly good design. My only guess it that it was profit motivated - you wanted to create a cheaper product. Well, if that's the case, you certainly created a cheap product. I hope you will reconsider these design changes and work on creating a product that is truly leak-proof and highly absorbent. Until then, my children will be wearing another company's diapers on their little bottoms.

Tired of blowouts

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bounty's One Sheet Challenge

Want to win a complete kitchen makeover? Bounty paper towels is having a contest with the top prize being a $30,000 kitchen makeover.

To enter, just go to this site and tell Bounty the worst mess you cleaned up with only one sheet of Bounty. That's it - a little creative writing (which should be no problem for our talented bloggers out there, right?), and possibly a new kitchen as a reward!

As for me, I was sent a roll of the new Bounty towels, and one sheet managed to clean up spit up on my shirt, spilled juice from Cordy's sippy cup on the kitchen floor, and cat vomit on the carpet, being rinsed between the juice and cat vomit. And yes, those all happened within 5 minutes.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Keep Your Marriage Healthy

While we've had our bumps along the way, I'd generally say that my marriage is in pretty good shape. Before we were married, an issue forced us into counseling, but through that we learned how to communicate with each other and actually address our issues before they blew up into big problems. Even now, Aaron and I often recommend counseling to friends who confide relationship problems to us. We sincerely believe it can help if both partners are committed to improving their relationship.

But what if you don't have time to go see a counselor, or what if you'd simply like to do a little preventative maintenance on your relationship? A counselor isn't always the most practical solution. Which is why eHarmony (yes, the singles site) has created the eHarmony Marriage site. This new program is designed to help you improve your marriage by pinpointing trouble spots and then having a series of exercises, articles, and personalized advice to help you improve those problems.

The program first has both partners answer a detailed questionnaire about their marriage. From that questionnaire, a personalized marriage profile is created for you. This profile focuses on ten relationship areas, such as commitment, family, values, sex, and companionship. Each area shows each partner's happiness level with a smiley face (or frowny face). Clicking on any category gives you an overview of the category, followed by a few sub-categories with personalized information about your situation, and advice on how to improve that area. Also featured on the side are articles related to the topic and exercises you can complete on your own or as a couple.

The questionnaire was very detailed, although Aaron really didn't like the method for answering the questions. Instead of yes or no questions, or little buttons from "Completely disagree" to "Completely agree", there is a little slider bar that you adjust to indicate your level of agreement. I can see his problem with this - if one partner is more likely to slide the bar to either extreme, while the other is more conservative, it can skew the answers.

Aaron and I both completed our questionnaires, and were happy to see the general overview telling us our marriage was in good shape, but had a few minor problems to work on. However, when we clicked on our profile, we were surprised to see so many little frowny faces. We were both conservative in our slider bar action, so I can only guess that this led the program to interpret our responses as unhappiness, when this isn't the case at all. Perhaps better instruction is needed in how to use the slider bar, or less sensitive interpretation at the least.

The articles are excellent, however. It's nice to be reading a personal evaluation about your relationship, and see recommended articles that apply to specific issues you may be having. The exercises, though, are the truly interactive part of the program. They are a blend of videos and guided exercises to help you think about the topic and start the process of making changes. Aaron and I did an exercise together which, while a little general, was thought provoking and interesting, and it convinced us to work on setting some common goals together. You do need some time to do the exercises - the one we did took about a half hour.

As for the cost, the program is $49.95 per month, or you can buy three months access at a time for $39.95 per month. Consider the cost of a marriage counselor, and this is a cheaper option for many.

The beauty of eHarmony Marriage is that you can take it at your own pace. If you only have time together late at night, the program is right there waiting for you - just try to get a counselor at 11pm at night. You can start and stop at any point, coming back when you want to work on the areas you want to work on.

While I don't think this is the ideal solution for a marriage in true crisis, this is an excellent program for those suffering from minor problems or for those who simply want a marriage "tune-up".

To see more reviews of eHarmony Marriage, check out the Parent Blogger Network.