We’ve got a Facebook group in our town called “Buy Nothing.” It’s pretty cool as it serves as a Hey! I’m cleaning out my garage/closet/living room/etc swap bank in which one can post items that are no longer needed or wanted and then, in theory, someone will play one man’s trash and come pick it up. It also serves well for those in our community who might find themselves in a financial bind. Requests can be made for a needed item and, more often than not, a member of the group will have a matching item laying around their house collecting dust. It’s weirdly a favorite site of mine to monitor – not because I give much away… but because it is always full of examples of the good in humanity. I love the generosity. I love that people feel it is a safe place to ask for help. I love the total lack of cyber bitchiness. I love watching the match up of a need with a give. I can literally lose thirty minutes scrolling through. Does that sound like a time waster? Probably. But in these crazy times? If something makes my heart fuzzy, then I’m good with that.
Last week, a post came up from a young woman in search of dishwasher soap pods. She indicated just needing a few pods to carry her to payday – noting that the smallest, most generic tub was nearly ten dollars. A few members immediately return-posted with notes to direct message for the meet up plan for pods dealers. And then a member posted a Hey, quick question response. The member asked if the original poster knew that the Dollar Store sold dish detergent – in the non-pod form. Which is when the comments section really picked up to an Is this really happening? level of fun.
What do you mean?
How does that work?
Was this another marker of my age? Admitting to living in the age of pre-pod detergents? Will my kids demonstrate the same indifference on this as my other stories of days from (half) four score and seven years ago? Like the one about our first remote that was actually attached to the VCR by a twenty-five foot wire? Or how, when we made plans with our friends, said plans were instantly carved in stone as there would be no way of tweaking them once the mom-cars left their respective homes? Or how we had to budget our phone calls based on the cost per minute at various times per day? I really want to talk to my mom…but is it a seven-cents-a-minute want or a three-cents-a-minute want? What a time to be alive!
I was relaying this exact story to Rich a few days later while in the Target dish detergent aisle as I was, yes, about to pick up a vat of pods. We sort of spotted the price difference at the same time – that a vat of pods was somewhere in the neighborhood of three times as much as the super old-fashioned powder detergent. Rich looked at me and scrunched his face. Why do we use those anyway? Ummmmm. I’m not really sure? I know I switched to the laundry pods when the kids started doing their own laundry because we had blue stains all over the top of the washer, the dryer, and the floor three seconds after the first solo attempts. But that was before they could, well, aim. So, yeah, why haven’t we ever gone back to being a non-pod family? Weren’t pods documented as less effective anyway? Or was it just that teens were eating them as a way to pass pandemic time?
While we didn’t traverse all the way back to the stone ages in selecting a box of powder, we did grab a jug of liquid detergent. Why not? Surely our kids had become more responsible by now – if not better aimers, they’d clean up any spills, right? And wouldn’t it feel good to know that we were being economical and not frufi? We could start with the dishwasher. Then maybe lose the laundry pods. We could switch from toothpaste to baking soda. Just kidding, we’re not the Ingalls.
We then promptly forgot all about making that financially responsible choice until several nights later when the kids were wrapping up post-dinner kitchen clean up. I don’t know which one said it – but I heard can somebody write Cascade Pods on the grocery list? I replied…oh, we’re all good, we just got the regular stuff this time. Instead of the pods. I looked up, shortly after realizing the room had gone completely silent, to see two teenagers staring at me with perplexed faces.
So, I really am this old.
The ensuing conversation went something like this:
Y’all know that dish detergent comes in other forms, right? Like, not just in pods?
- No? I’ve never seen it that way? Zack? No? Yeah, we don’t know what you mean.
Oh, okay. Yeah, so it actually comes in jugs of liquid soap. And there’s actually a powder form as well that comes in boxes. Haven’t you ever used that? (At this point, I was trying to remember the last ten years of dishwashing in our house)
- No? (silence, silence, silence) But then…how do you get it in the soap holder? How does it get in there? (In fairness, this was the male child speaking – the one with a proven record of bad aim into much larger basins)
(Now I was staring) Well, you just squeeze it out of the bottle – like shampoo? Into the dispenser? And then close the dispenser door? (Mutual staring…) Okay, well, I’ll show you when we get there. So, what about laundry? Do you remember the pre-pod days?
I do feel kind of silly about this. And maybe a bit extra. As the person who manages the family budget and the person who makes a solid point to save where we can and the person who does most of the shopping – how did I miss this? How did I miss this super basic way to save a chunk of money by instilling a bit of how to be neat with your detergent motivation? When did we become people who take shortcuts at the expense of, well, our wallets? And that’s not to say the detergent shortcut is not worth it – I know that five years ago, I jumped at the chance to spend twice as much on laundry detergent in order to cancel out my rage whenever my bare feet found a glob of wet, sticky soap on the laundry room floor. But had I made plans to remain in the land of pods forever? Or did it just happen without notice? Did I just miss a few years of Oh, hey, you’re old enough now to hit a target and clean up when you don’t?
This is a prime road to a Let’s Make a Change! rabbit hole. Fortunately, I have my Brain Security Detail on high alert, at this moment, to beat down any unnecessary additional items to worry about. Just after my pod revelation, I almost immediately began scanning the house for other items to update. It started with a Hey, maybe we don’t need name brand shampoo either! but my BS Detail smacked that thought right out of my hair. You’ve got enough going on right now….let’s not hop into a This Is Your (Revamped) Life! routine. Although, in fairness, the shampoo question popped up when Rich and I were debating whether or not we should just quit our jobs and run off to the circus.
We’ve decided not to. For now.
But with the money we are saving on pods, there’s really no telling when we’ll revisit.