By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Call us old-fashioned. While it seems every product has to undergo at least one “upgrade” every year, we tend to stick with what we know. When we had to replace a computer some time back, we bought the last Windows 7 computer a major electronics retailer had in stock — we have no interest in going to the “latest and greatest” operating system.
And so we faced a similar problem on a black water tank dumping. I know, what does dumping the black water tank have to do with Windows? Believe me, there is more than a casual connection, but that’s a different story. No, what dumping the tank has to do here runs back to products on store shelves. Years ago we ran into a holding tank “treatment” that was a dry powder based on enzymes and “helpful bacteria,” rather than perfumes and toxins. We liked the stuff so much that when the company came up for sale, we seriously looked into trying to buy it. But somebody else did, and drove the company into the ground — end of that product. It took us a long time to find something like it, but we did. Oddly enough, we found the stuff at Walmart.
When our last box of eco-fresh was close to being empty, we hit a Walmart along our route. Not only was the store out of stock, there wasn’t even a shelf marker for the product. We hit other Walmarts along the road, and the same result. We hit the company website and learned that eco-fresh wasn’t available on the Web, but only in stores. Checking stock for stores within 150 miles proved that we were fresh out of eco-fresh. Evidently Uncle Wally has deemed our beloved tank treatment unworthy of sale. What’s to do?
Using the “shopping” tab of our search engine, we found some folks that sold the product. And yes, Amazon.com also has a number of folks who’ll happily send you a box in exchange for your first born. Now that I think about it …. Then the light came on. Using information from the box we searched for the manufacturer itself (oddly, they didn’t list a website on the box — maybe at the insistence of Walmart) and Bingo! Reliance Products LP not only has a web presence, but its own Web store. Despite the fact we were doing “international trading” it was far less expensive to buy a couple of boxes of eco-fresh and pay for shipping than from anyone in “the Lower 48.”
Which leads to the point of this rather long-winded dissertation. If you have a product that truly WORKS for you and you can’t find it elsewhere — try the manufacturer directly. Even if you can find it elsewhere, try the manufacturer — you may get a break on the cost. A few minutes of finger poking on the Internet may save you a large number of greenbacks.