October 21, 2006

CVS Goes After Brand-Addled Chump Segment With Playskool Diapers

playskool_diapers.jpgEven though the kid's been a toilet-using champ, we're still in diaper mode at night, on long trips [though she's done well there, too], and, unfortunately this week, at school, where the transition and stress seem to be translating into regular accidents. [She's currently the only toilet-trained kid in the class, anyway.]

So as diapers have become much less critical, I was feeling a little adventurous, so when CVS slipped that super coupon to me on my receipt, I took them up on the offer and bought a bag of new Playskool diapers. But it wasn't the $6 that pulled me across the line.

Nope, it was the packaging. There were actually dads on there. Dads selling diapers. Unbelievable. Revolutionary. Shocking. Each pack has a white family on one side and a Benetton-y ethnic one on the other. And so it was, thanks to a combination of non-criticality, susceptibility, bargain-loving, and brand reliability I fell into the promisingly reassuring embrace [They're all made by the same two companies, anyway, right?] of the Baby Industrial Complex.

Well, they're pieces of junk. They're not contoured nearly at all. They're bigger all around than a comparable Pamper, so they take up more shelf/bag space. And yet, they don't hold even a single night's pee production.

The first morning after, the kid lounged around in her PJ's for a while, no doubt adding to the load. Or so we rationalized when she had leaks all around the waist legs and seat of her pajamas. But since then, even when we've hustled the kid out of a diaper and into her underpants, she's still woken up with leaks, and with a wet butt. Apparently there's no wicking layer in these Playskool things. [update: and, as my wife adds, no waterproof barrier, either. She said this morning, the diaper was wet on the outside, not just leaking through the legholes.]

The last refuge for diapers around here is in the car, after it rains. I've written before about how the untraceable, unpluggable leak somewhere in our old Mercedes can result in water in the rear footwell. A diaper laid face down under the mat is usually all it takes to keep the floor dry and clean. Except Playskools, even, where the uneven distribution of absorbent fluff and gel left wet spots on the floor after this week's storm.

And now as I research them a bit, I find out why they suck: they're just budget store brand diapers dressed up with a randomly licensed, kid-related brand slapped on. And because "The consumer does trust the Playskool brand," said industry analyst Sean McGowan, there's a strong chance parents will give it a try.

Yes, and if they find out they've been duped and sold an inferior, non-functioning product, they'll remember that betrayal the next time they go shopping.

Playskool Is Expanding to Baby Care [nyt, jan 19,2006, republished by webinfomania]
previously: sodium polyacrylate: it's not just for diapers anymore.

5 Comments

they should definitely employ you to test nappies with your leaking car. far more effective, i imagine than the usual end (!) user. you were totally taken in by the packaging - weren't you! well, it's like they say - you can't tell a nappy by its ... no, sorry, that's not what they say at all. never mind!

I'd be interested to see the article where that last quote from industry shil-- oops, I mean insider, Sean McGowan came from.

[sorry, the link was broken. It was from a NYT article that got copied somewhere else. -ed.]

I tried the Playskool diapers from CVS and liked them fine. I was really surprised. I had tried them in the past and they were horrible, but the new ones seemed okay. I didn't have problems with leaks on either of my boys (both 15 months). They do get HUGE when they are wet, but they didn't leak on us. I think they are worth a try if you get the CVS coupon.

[we're using the pack to the end, on principle, I guess, and if you change them regularly/quickly, they're ok. they just don't work overnight for us. The only other extended stretch we use them on is school, and that's 3 hrs. -ed]

Speaking of new brands of diapers - have you tried the new (at our Berkeley store, at least) Whole Foods store brand chlorine-free diapers? My baby-daddy picked some up the other day - we'll see how they hold up. At first glance they seem to be very much like 7th Gen's, only white instead of brown. (Hmm... does that mean that the 7th Gen brown thing is all a gimmick?)

I haven't had a problem with leaks *yet* on my newborn. I just wanted to say that it is cool how these things glow in the dark (I just recently bought a bag of the size 1-2, and was curious why it said:For best results, hold diaper up to the light before use. That isn't exactly what it says... but something similar)

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