…to be discontinued


By Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown

I have decided to become a hoarder. I know it goes against everything that this time of year stands for. By now, we are supposed to be “Spring Cleaning,” clearing out everything in the house that is broken, worn out, old, never used, and expired but kept long past its date. We are supposed to be clearing out the clutter of our lives and embracing minimalism.

In my own defense, I haven’t decided to become a hoarder—I have been forced into it. And after what I have been through the last six weeks, I don’t think I will ever get rid of anything ever again. This is the last straw.

I have to admit that the whole reason I decide to spend my money and buy something in the first place is because I want it. Maybe this is a radically new idea to the companies that make products. But I actually think that I will enjoy having whatever it is that I buy and that I will actually use it until it is gone, and then I will buy it again…and again and again. In fact, isn’t this what they are trying to achieve when they spend all those millions of dollars on advertising trying to convince me that I can’t live without Chanel’s L’AMOUREUSE lipstick in Rouge Allure Velvet? Well, I’ve got news for them: It worked! I am a fan. I love it! It’s my favorite lipstick ever! I am hooked on it, addicted. I have been using it for a few years now. So imagine my shock when I went to the store to buy me a new tube of it and the saleslady informed me that they didn’t have it. Not only that, but no one had it. In fact, it was no longer available as it had been discontinued. I stood there staring at her in a state of disbelief, as if someone had told me that my car had been hit in the parking lot, only this felt worse. I can have my car fixed…but how am I going to get my fix of my favorite lipstick? I stood there with my dull and colorless mouth gaping open. But, I should have been expecting this by now and been prepared. This is the story of my life, after all. I should have stocked up by buying every tube of this lipstick from every available retailer, and online, for the last three years. Then I wouldn’t be having to face this crisis, and it is a crisis.

Lipstick is very powerful, and finding the perfect shade is a very personal decision. The shade you choose says so much about you. It gives so much meaning to your words, to your feelings, to your mood. It can imply that you do not want to be messed around with…or, that you actually do. For example: Red implies power, confidence, and glamour, while pink feels approachable and fun. Then there’s peach, orange, even blue, and natural, and all the variations in between depending on the shade. But the perfect one is irreplaceable.

Standing there at the counter with the saleslady, I really needed my lipstick on so I could confidently convey in no uncertain words exactly what I was thinking. I needed my favorite color lipstick to make me feel empowered enough to tell her to read my lips for exactly how I felt about them discontinuing this product without any warning, without leaving me any time to try and find a new one. Lipstick is not something that you can just find a replacement for at a moment’s notice. It’s not like finding a date for the evening, or even a new lover to have for awhile…this is a decision you hope to be with forever, or at least several years, in exactly the same way you feel about a new fragrance, I might add.

When the shock began to wear off I started testing all the lipsticks that they do have available in the formula I love. I needed to feel polished, poised, and powerful when I began telling her what I thought about this unwanted change in my life. Without my lipstick on, I felt naked and vulnerable. Unfortunately, I did not find a substitute lipstick, and left feeling like my years of devotion to the brand meant nothing. Why spend all that money earning my loyalty if you are just going to discard me?

I should have been prepared. After all, this is a throw-away society. And this is not the first, or even the tenth time this has happened to me. I have been a devoted customer of so many products from fragrances to television shows, favorite dishes at restaurants, light bulbs, nail polish and ice cream, all  discontinued without any notice.

After weeks of digging my lipstick brush down into the depths of the dark, empty tube, even using a cotton swab to get every last bit, I finally found a new lipstick that I am in love with. I am buying and hoarding every tube of it available in the world.

I guess everything has an expiration date. I am sure it’s just a matter of time before I do, too. I just hope I don’t run out of my favorite new lipstick before then. That would be the kiss of death.

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