Product Review

La Roche-Posay

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It sounds French.  Men may think it a type of wine.  Women, all-knowing, recognize the name from medical professional’s offices.   Sounds logical but not quite the truth.

Originally sold only within dermatologist and plastic surgeon’s offices, the best sunscreens in the world went retail ten years ago.  L’Oréal USA does not advertise La Roche-Posay.  High consumer report ratings and doctor recommendations have helped establish favorable market share.  But possibly the most important factor in this product line’s success?  Quality.

After “borrowing” a tube of La Roche Posay from a client while in the field, I note its comfort and protection.  After days of use, my usual daily burn is absent.  Once discovered, I became a quick convert.

We asked Mary, customer service majordomo and chief marketing strategist at L’Oréal USA, “What is the company known for?”  (paraphrased)  Quality.  R&D.  We take pride in the research and development we put into all of our products.  Diversity of product.  We’re the largest cosmetic company in world, and we make a product for all price points.  From personal experience, I’ve noted economy sunscreen stings, even causing a rash.  The cost of quality?  I don’t notice it.

Mary leaks a secret.  Calls to customer care are roughly split, 50/50.  Women and men both want to care for their skin.  Guess men like product as much as women. 🙂

Crest vs Colgate

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Bang bang, you’re dead.
Brush your teeth and go to bed.
Camp song

Children’s songs of folklore try to instill regular habits.  Giving thanks before meals.  The avoidance of blinding a friend in game.  Within fifty variations among a dozen generations, this camp song has reenforced, “Brush yer teeth.”  The cost of underbrushing.  Perils of over-brushing.

Good habits as kids carry over to good habits as adults.  Same for product.  Within the dental products aisle of our local market stretch options so vast one may forget that for which they came, blinded by the glamour of choice.

Artisanal, homeopathic, organic, PETA-approved … some linger in this aisle, confused, dreamy, excited, like a cat in a strange garret.  Sexual delights anticipated, amplified by their newly pearlescent teeth and licorice anisette breath.  Blind to marketing gimmicks, they buy the sizzle, brushing with false hope.  “Grandma’s Special Recipe” toothpaste at three times the price but without the drop of turpentine she concealed as her secret ingredient.

Back to basic.  Back to trust every time for me.  Crest as a kid, Crest now.  The name ‘Crest‘ means  “Research. Development. Testing. Quality.”  Not a garage concoction tubed, boxed, and sold out of a station wagon by Felix and his cousin, but a real product developed by professionals, extensively tested, with impeccable quality control.

Sometimes I’ll buy Colgate.  Same trust.  Do I lean towards one?  Sure, but either is fine.  In all my decades as a shopper, I’ve only bought a different paste once.  It’s still in its box in the cellar, half full, the properties unneeded.

Don’t forget to floss.

Most domestic consumption Crest is made in Greensboro, North Carolina.  My last tube of Colgate was made in Morristown Tennessee.  Occasionally you’ll get a tube of Crest manufactured in Nuacalpan, Mexico, differentiated by a foil seal beneath the cap. Colgate also has manufacturing in Mexico.  Both manufacturers sell primarily domestic production within the ‘States.

Gerber Covert Folder

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It is the perfect tool.  Large enough to achieve firm grip. Slim enough to carry everywhere.  Safe enough not to collapse into your fingers when the cutting gets tough.  The Gerber Covert Folder.

Based on the classic Applegate-Fairbairn fixed knife, the Covert is a 3/4 scale, pocket clip version of the Gerber original Applegate-Fairbairn Combat Folder.  Gerber

When my niece says, “Why do you always carry a knife”?,  she forgets she’s never asked,  “Why don’t you have your knife?”.  As the most important invention ever developed (along with its derivatives),  everyday living would be far different without the sharpened blade.  Walking down your steps (the saw and lathe) to breakfast cereal (scythe) in your stone house (the chisel), a free American (the sword) may think little of the knife’s importance.

Several times a day as a tradesperson I reach for my Gerber to resolve an issue.  Expand my view.  Nudge or persuade the reluctant in a manner my finger cannot.  Whether tight quarters or dangerously jagged obstructions, the Gerber has a way of poking its business end into the issue,  demanding quarter.  Recalcitrant material usually gives way.  Uncle!

It is the perfect tool.  And the perfect gift.

There’s always a ⅜” x 8″ Craftsman slotted screwdriver and Estwing hammer should more persuasion be wanted …

Nalgene N-Gen

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Sticking with the current theme of cooling off, hydration is the topic.  As natural as a glass of clean iced water on a hot summer day.  “You can’t take it with you” does not apply.

Everywhere I go, my Nalgene is in tow.  Fast rotation in the ‘fridge, or tepid tap, either does what the body cannot:  add water to the machine.  With current mid-summer weather, it is more important than ever to replenish this life-giving juice and basis of all chemical reaction in the body, water.

30OZ N-GEN  With three bottles in use, I’m usually well fixed.  But summer gift-giving approaches.   What to present a 14-year-old man-boy on his birthday?  Something cool and electronic?  An airplane model?  Swatch watch?  My call goes into the void, and echoes back, “An American-made water bottle”.  Nalgene, naturally.

Like potato chips, batting practice, or lýtkový řízek, I cannot stop at one.  I buy five.  Still free deliver on any order over $10.  For these gifts, a thin stack  of currency is traded.

At unwrapping, I learn my nephew recently acquired a new water bottle, but six is better!  With five from which to choose, he favors a match to his Swatch  (Accessorizing already?  No wonder the chicks dig him.  Smart lad.)  With plenty to share, his sister and cousins are ecstatic.  The cost of teaching generosity?  Priceless.

Nalgene.  Made in the USA, stylish, sleek, and affordable.

THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC

Bradford White

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From far back, I’ve heard the brand Bradford White repeated daily.  Plumbing distributor purchases.  Installations.  Pre-internet, the boss tracking down warranty information.  Visiting BWC’s distribution warehouse.  

Home Center mania pushed into the contractor supply business, selling cheaper and more expensive water heaters.  No qualifications required to buy, install or repair.  What could possibly go wrong?  Ask yourself that the next time you hear of a residence completely obliterated in a gas explosion.

It is Bradford White for me.  Manufactured with superior components.  The best controls in the industry with readily available parts.  All-brass drain valves.  Sturdy packaging.  Integrated piezo igniters, which means no more matches.  Fantastic performance, strong warranties, and world-class support.

Bradford White makes products for the professional.  You won’t find our water heaters, boilers or tanks at the local retail center where unsafe, corner-cutting installations frequently occur to save a few dollars. – BWC

Headquartered up the road, Pennsylvania is proud to host Bradford White‘s corporate offices in Ambler.  Manufactured in our heartland,  Middleville Michigan produces the final product.  Excellent distribution.  Any size, any feature, it is only hours or perhaps a day or two away.  Professional engineering and manufacturing for the plumbing professional.

Ettore Squeegee

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Almost three decades ago this young pup was called upon to clean some windows.  An idea blossomed to do my cleaning the way professionals do theirs – with professional-quality implements and techniques.  Storefront windows are large expanses of glass.  A large squeegee was wanted.

Within a dedicated commercial cleaning supplies company, choices were examined.  Brass components seemed best.  I chose an 18″ model which looked fully serviceable.  Sleek, elegant, well-balanced.  Excellent duty this squeegee did.  After proper scrubbing a streak-free glass surface was obtained.

Eventually I left the storefront.  The squeegee tagged along, to be rediscovered years later.  A glass shower enclosure wanted a professionally cleaned look.  The squeegee worked before, so I tried it again.  Time had not been kind to the rubber insert.  Back to the same supply company, where they sold insert by the foot.

Not knowing any better, I took what they sold.  Which was ill-fitting, poorly formulated, immediately left streaks, and quickly began leaving black smudges.  Lets be clear.  The OEM insert lasted years of light use and performed perfectly.  The replacement never gave satisfaction.  Research was in order.

Originally purchased was the Cadillac of squeegees, an Ettore, produced by the leader in such products.  An American Dream story of manufacturing.  Immigrant has invention then is spurned by manufacturers and vendors.  Immigrant markets invention, becomes successful, dominates the market long after patent runs out.  Initially balance and design won converts.  But the streak-free glass … what was that about?  The secret rubber formula of the squeegee insert!

Back to OEM I go.  For about the SAME cost as a cheap import squeegee insert, I buy a genuine Ettore insert.  My 18″ Ettore is back to full function.  A perfect product.

Buy a flute and you own a flute. Buy a professional squeegee and you’re a professional window washer.   Abraham Lincoln, 1853

Fiebing’s Saddle Soap

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Rehabbing old properties sounds glamorous but it’s dirty business.  Smacking everything apart and returning it to rights makes of mess of clothes and boots.  Clothes go into the Maytag.  The boots?  Special care is required.  Like we learn in the Army, you gotta take care of your feet.  That means taking care of your boots.  When the dust settles, I return my boots to factory specification.  A good cleaning, then boot oil.

For cleaning,  I continue a family tradition, trusting the same company my great-grandfather trusted with his farrier business.  Since 1895, the Fiebing Company has been manufacturing high quality Horse Care, Shoe Care and Leather Care products in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. – Fiebing

First a strong hose to remove mud and concrete dust, blood and sweat.  An old kitchen pad rubbed about in dampened Fiebing’s Saddle Soap gives me a hearty lather for sturdy scrubbing.  After a good rinse and a day for the leather to dry, its time to hydrate.  

Red Wing Boot Oil came with the Red Wing boots.  It sat for years as earlier boots crumbled into tatters.  Finally Redfern explained to me in simple terms I could remember. “You’ve got to keep the leather oiled”.  My current #1 pair of Red Wings are over a decade old, factory-resoled once.  The #2 pair, still almost dressy, six months.

Alternate days gets alternate boots.  They both get the same care. Keep’em clean with soap and water, and when the dirt becomes embedded, Fiebing’s Saddle Soap then a good boot oil.