I inherited my gramma's paper-thin Irish and very sensitive skin. I went from being an oily-skinned adolescent into dry and flakey woman at the age of 21 years. And I discovered that most of the commerically prepared lotions, perfumes, soaps, other toiletries, and cosmetics would irritate my skin. I've spent a lot of money, trying one brand or type after another.
About 4--maybe 5 years ago, a couple of friends implored me to try Burt's Bees for a couple of years but I was--to say the least--skeptical. They begged me to try it--mainly because they were tired of hearing me complain about another product irritating my skin. They told me to look at the ingredients and see the short list--which is always a good sign. It means that the product hasn't been so adulterated that it's no longer "natural." My husband picked up a trial sample kit for me to check out. His thinking was that if it didn't work, we would not be out a lot of money. That's logical, no?
I fell in love with Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion! It was the first lotion that didn't make my skin red, itch, or dry it out faster than I could put it on, or make my skin burn. I was hooked. I used it for my facial lotion, my body lotion, after sunburn care, and after gardening care. I used it religiously. I LOVED it. I started using other Burt's Bees products solely based on that lotion. I told everyone about it and even bought it as gifts.
Last fall, I ran out and went to purchase a fresh bottle at my favorite local store. They didn't have any on the shelf, but cheerfully ordered it for me. When the new tube came in, it didn't look like my regular lotion. When I questioned the store clerks, they said that Burt's Bees was just changing their packaging. Assured I took it home and set it in the bathroom to use at the next morning.
Well, it did not smell like my beloved lotion. It kind of reminded my son's gym clothes..after they've been sitting in the locker for a month. And I discovered shortly after putting it on, I was red again and ITCHING! The itching drove me nuts! Looking at the ingredients list, I realized this was NOT my old lotion in a new package--it was a completely different product. This made me a bit angry because the company name--Burt's Bees--was synonymous with TRUST. I trust their products, I trust their name.
I did what most of us do...I went to the company website and wrote a review. And yes, it was a negative review for this so-called new and improved product.
Let me ask you something...Do corporations really think that the American people are that stupid to fall for something that is "New! and IMPROVED!" ??? How can a product be both new AND improved? Is this a sign of our failing education system? Or should we the people put Bill Engvall's signs on Corporate America? This is one of those topics my high school speech and debate team would have tore to shreds. With ease.
So moving right along, I did find my beloved lotion elsewhere but realized it was getting harder and harder to find it. This week I received a package, containing three tubes of the "New and Improved" lotions. Delivered to my door by FedEx. At first, I thought my husband had ordered them for me and I tried to get them exchanged. When I finally was able to get ahold of my husband, he confirmed that he didn't order them for me because I can't use that new lotion. He did not order them for me.
Finally, I read the insert and realized because I had complained, the company sent me the tubes. Yeah--that's what I said...In their corporate expertise and wisdom, they sent me the very lotion I had complained about on their review. It's the same formula/ingredients of the lotion that turned me red and made my skin itch like crazy for hours, but gee...let's have her try a different scent. That will convince her!
I called the company. Oh yes I did. How could I resist a challenge after they threw the gauntlet (in the form of three free tubes of the stuff I couldn't use in the first place!) down in front of me??? You may be a stronger person than I, but I truly could not resist this!
After a lengthy explanation with the company rep, here's the shortened version of it.
ME: When I wrote that review--I said I couldn't use the "new and improved" product--that it made my skin itch badly and turned it red. So why would you send me the very product I can't use???
COMPANY REP: We wanted to give you a second chance and try our other formulas to see if any of them work for you.
ME: They all have the same ingredients as the one I can't use. This makes no sense to me...
COMPANY REP: But they have different scents.
ME: But contain the ingredients that still make me itch and turn red. Are you listening to me? I want the old formula. It's available on your website--why can't I find it in the stores?
COMPANY REP: We are discontinuing the old formula and completely switching over to the new ones. Once the old formula is gone, it's gone. There will not be any more. You'll have to deal with it.
ME: (Snarkily) Ok...fine. I get it. You have a proven formula and judging by your customer reviews on your own website--most people want. But no--you're going to get rid of what works and make this so called "new and improved" which I find to be completely oxymoronic--your line. The one that most people can't use or hate.
COMPANY REP: Cathryn--this is a lesson for you. We cannot get too attached to the products we like.
ME: *Blinking at that* We can't? Hmmmmmmmmm...OK, while I ponder on that last statement of yours...I don't want your complimentary gift. I want to send it back.
COMPANY REP: Oh we don't want it back! Throw it away if you want, but WE DON'T WANT IT BACK.
ME: Wow...even you all know how bad this product is.
So now I'm facing the realization that Burt's Bees is no longer to be a company I can trust. They no longer care about their customers. If you visit their website, you will see that 95% (based on their numbers) of their customer LOVE the old formula, while only 23% like their new formula. But the company CEOs aren't listening to their customers because they know what's best or they don't care.
I'm already scouting other possible replacements on Etsy and other handcrafted sites.
I'm mourning the loss of an excellent company and the loss of an excellent product. I'm grieving over the issue that this company seems past caring about the very customers who made it what it is. And I'm angry that another corporation has swallowed the WalMart line of profits first and profits only.
And like other devoted and loyal Burt's Bees customers, I'll buy up what I can of the old lotion. Because, like the company representitive told me, once it's gone, it's gone. And like she told me...we can't get too attached to products that work. Someone will taketh it away...