Six degrees of separation bad for shopping

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Kevin Bacon got me stirred up the other night about a problem I’ve known about for quite some time but still haven’t found an answer to — our society’s addiction to trying every flavor.
Bacon, an actor who can be connected with any other actor through “six degrees of separation,” brought the topic up on a recent episode of “The Tonight Show.” He said he looked around one day in his shower and noticed about 20 different hair care products in there with him.
Either he’s as vain as he appears or he was just being polite to his wife. Whatever the case, he didn’t disavow responsibility for the variety of products being there by putting it off on his wife. Me, I’m neither vain nor overly polite to my wife. I admit it, she’s responsible for the 20 types of hair care in our shower.
As an adolescent I washed my hair with the soap bar and never really saw a need for shampoo. Maybe some guys did use shampoo, but creme rinse and conditioner was something only girls used. That changed a little as a teenager, I started using shampoo but rarely conditioner. Today I’m at a loss as to why I have so many, nearly full, bottles of conditioner and only one, nearly empty, bottle of shampoo.
Needless to say our shower is a bit crowded.
The refrigerator is suffering from a similar addiction — flavored coffee creamers.
I drink my coffee black with artificial sweetener. My wife on the other hand, likes to start her morning with an exotic adventure. She buys the creamer that comes in all the various flavors. The other day I looked in the fridge and counted 10 bottles of the stuff. I figured we had one of each flavor. A check at the supermarket revealed they only had eight flavors though. I figure we must have some carry-over seasonal flavors in our refrigerator at home.

I don’t buy into changing brands with every little marketing ploy. I buy the stuff I like and the stuff that works and I’m a little slow to change. I buy the same brand and style of jeans and casual slacks every time, the same brand and type of underwear and the same shoes. I buy the same cereal every time I buy it. I get the same deodorant every time and I have a particular type of frozen pizza I prefer.
I’m not saying I’ll turn down a slice of pizza if it’s the wrong brand — I’m just saying I only buy one type until personal experience convinces me otherwise.

My wife, on the other hand, is a sucker for all this marketing business they’re putting in and on her head. She wants a different flavor, color or container shape as soon as it hits the shelves.

If a particular type of stretch pants are in fashion she needs one of each color, even if she still has one of each color in the fashion of the previous year. When a new shade of eyeliner is shown on TV I look for her in the cosmetics aisle.

It is my contention that she has never purchased the same type of cereal for herself twice. Anyone who’s looked at the cereal aisle knows this is technically possible. If you bought one box a week and went down the aisle trying new ones, by the time you got through there would be at least 52 new varieties.

As Kevin Bacon and I have learned, the same must be true of hair care products.

I believe my wife has the rules of this game “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” all wrong — she’s trying to do it through use of common hair care products, not actors.

Karl Terry is the managing editor of the Portales News-Tribune. He can be reached at 356-4481, ext. 33, or by e-mail: