Monthly Archives: April 2007

My American Family – The Dishwasher

american-familythumbnail.jpg “What are you doing?” “What is she doing?” That’s what I heard from Denise and Keith when I was washing the dishes by hand one day, and I replied, in a confusing-sound way, “I’m cleaning the dishes!”. “You’re silly, you don’t have to do it like that, just put it in the dishwasher”, said Denise. Hadn’t they known that I’ve been in the US for 7 years and that dishwashers exist in Brazil (and have existed for many years), I’d have thought that they thought I just came out of the cave.

The things is I never used the dishwasher to wash my dishes! Even though I’ve had it. I have always washed my dishes by hand, and so has our nanny/cleaning lady in Brazil. Which means I was never exposed to the dishwasher and its use and consequently, I don’t even care, or even think, about it.

I’ve been thinking about this for quite sometime now, and I think that one easy way to understand the fact that the dishwasher is not as present in my life as it is at other people’s lives is this: top of mind. The dishwasher is just not top of mind for me when I think about washing dishes, as any other brand would be for any other of my needs/wants. I didn’t grew up with it (we got a dishwasher when I was a full grown teenager), I never used it and I’m so locked into my old habit of doing the dishes by hand (so much to say about habits!) that I won’t use the dishwasher even when it’s readily available to me.

WOW, and then, we marketers, have to think of creative ways to make people behave differently and buy our products! I can testify to it, it’s not easy… no dishwasher manufactured has convinced me, to this date, to use the dishwasher as opposed to my hands. The only thing that came close to me thinking about giving it a try was Grandma Lee’s comment about savings, that I should use the dishwasher “because you save more water”. That got to me… if there’s one thing I don’t like to do, is to waste. I have washed less dishes by hand now; I rinse my dishes and put them either in the sink (my friend said it’s ok, since she also hates when I do it by hand) or straight in the dishwasher.

It’s taken me a while, but I’m breaking an old habit that I thought I could never break.


Soak Up Life… Are They Serious?

images.jpg I saw this commercial for I don’t know what (how sticky was that?) a few weeks back in which a kid is shaking a bottle of soda that abruptly explodes in the whole kitchen flooor, and the mother, who supposedly reprimands the kid, actually joins him in making a bigger mess. Oh… I remember the tag line was “Soak Up Life”. Paper towel perhaps?

I’ve seen many commercials like this one before and I have always thought the same thing: how can the mothers allow their kids to mess up the house like that, and on top of that, join them? Don’t they know how to parent and teach the kids not to dirty the house? (They’re certainly not teaching them anything if they join them.) Are they really such submissive maids? Well, I ponder a lot, especially on such cultural differences like that.

Two things that I don’t see often in Latin America are kids messing up the house like that as if it’s ok (because it really isn’t), and mothers who act like maids.

Call me extremist, I won’t tolerate kids messing up the house like that for me to clean up later! And I do feel sorry for the mothers who let themselves be like that…