Help! My favorite product is discontinued
What do you do when you see a product might be discontinued? I have used the same kind of hair color for years. I noticed a few months ago that the brand I use got sold to a different company. The brand stayed the same, but the manufacturer is different. Now I see it is becoming harder to find the shade of color I use. I emailed the brand and they said my shade is indeed being phased out! I have gone to several stores to stock up, but what else might you recommend?— LINA K.
I feel your pain! It’s always frustrating when a favorite product is taken off the market. I recently experienced a similar situation when a drugstore chain discontinued a particular line of skincare and cosmetics products I enjoyed. They were reasonably priced, and they worked well. For six years, I had no trouble finding them on the shelves — until this October, when I went to the store to buy more moisturizer and found the brand’s shelf had been downsized. Only a few of the products in this line were left in the store, and the display was much smaller than it had been previously.
I emailed to inquire about the future of this line, but brands often are reluctant to share their plans with consumers until they’re ready to make an official announcement. In the meantime, I visited additional store locations and noticed that other stores seemed to be scaling down the number of products in stock as well. I began buying up my favorite products whenever I could find them. This month, the brand confirmed what I’d feared—the entire line of products had been discontinued. As soon as I learned of this, I headed to the pharmacy’s website, where I found the remaining cosmetics and skincare items
priced at 30 percent off. I placed one last (large!) order of my favorite items. Last week, I checked the website again, and everything I ordered the previous week had disappeared completely.
It’s never fun to have to say goodbye to a product you like. It sounds like you took some of the same steps I did in visiting multiple stores to stock up on as many of your favorites as you can before they disappear. You may want to check online retailers, too, especially if the item you’re interested in has been discontinued recently, as they may still have some of these items in stock.
Beyond that, you may also look at the secondary market. As surprising as it may seem, online auction sites like Ebay often are a treasure trove of discontinued beauty products.
However, be prepared to pay the same prices you paid in store, or more — a cottage industry of discontinued beauty products thrives online, and many sellers charge more than the retail price, knowing these items are no longer available.
Don’t forget to contact the company, too, and let them know how you feel about the discontinuation of the product you enjoy.
While there’s no guarantee this action will bring back the product, I do feel it’s important to let companies know that taking away a product I’ve been faithfully purchasing for years is having an effect on my future spending habits. Plus, you never know — if many people feel the same way you do, the brand might consider bringing the product back into production.
A few years ago, consumers complained to a major haircare brand after the company discontinued three different shampoo formulas. Based on feedback, the brand brought the three shampoo varieties back to store shelves. Several cosmetics brands have returned favorite shades of lipstick to production based on feedback from loyal users.
Don’t forget to look at products made by the same manufacturer, too. You may find that your favorite cosmetic brand is made by a larger parent company that makes multiple brands. When my favorite store-brand eyeliner was discontinued at the drugstore, I found a nearly identical eyeliner at the same store, but it bore the label of another one of the drugstore’s own house beauty brands.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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