The Stepford Underpants

July 13, 2017

Do you believe in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Dear Reader? I do. Brad Pitt says it so well in the movie Moneyball – adapt or die. You have to keep up with the times. Technology alone, my God!

Sometimes by the time I come back from lunch there’s some new digital thingamajig. And that’s fine; lots of things are constantly evolving in our lives. Trends never really stop so we don’t have much choice BUT to adapt in most cases.

Albert Einstein said the measure of intelligence is the ability to change and he was WAAAAAAYYY smart. But there are exceptions to every rule and some things should not change. Number one of this list is the cut of Icebreaker hotpants. Hands down the best underwear I have ever worn. Correction: HAD ever worn. Made of merino wool so they breathe, are great for travel, they’re sexy – in short, perfect. So what did they do? THEY CHANGED THE FREAKIN CUT OF THE PANTS!

Ask most women and they will often have their own tale of searching for the elusive, perfect underwear.

I was introduced to this clothing brand by a Former Flame, as it was a local company that went on to Global Domination and I fell desperately in love with their products. Especially the pants. Long after the Flame was extinguished, my affection for the gear stayed strong. I have been a faithful customer and the company emails me more than my own family. I felt like they cared. More fool me.

When I tried on the new pants I realised they had changed the cut and they not only were they now uncomfortable, they were really unflattering. How can such small modifications have such a dramatic effect? It was then I realised the awful truth. They were Stepford underpants.

They gave the appearance of being perfect but they were far from it Dear Readers. They were the soulless, sham of underpants masquerading as the real thing. I was really cranky about it. I went online and saw that THOUSANDS of pissed off women had written reviews saying the new cut was DREADFUL and they should change it back pronto. I added my own voice commenting that I hadn’t been this upset and disturbed since I saw the video Johnny Depp and Amber Heard made about Australian biosecurity laws.

Customer service responses were “Thank you for your feedback we will pass it on”. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Shrug. It’s Vegemite iSnack 2.0 all over again. They made a crap product everybody hated. The only positive thing that can be said about it is at least they didn’t try to use it to replace the original product of Vegemite.

There are numerous examples of this happening. Arnott’s Shapes changed their recipe – people went berserk. They brought back the original pizza flavour after massive consumer backlash.

The current Vicks VapoRub is not the same as the one my mum used on me when I was a kid.

Nowhere near as good.

The cosmetics industry is a repeat offender when it comes to changing formulas. A friend who is my age has been using the Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion by Clinique since we were at Uni.

After 45 years, they changed the original formula in 2013 and she’s never been the same.

“Why AB? Why did they do this? I just don’t understand,” she asked me, her voice full of shock and disappointment.

“Oh, geez Tor, I don’t know, maybe they made it better?” I tried to console her.

“Well they didn’t, it’s RUBBISH! It makes my skin breakout,” she wailed. I understood what was going on. She felt abandon. Her relationship with that moisturiser lasted longer than her marriage.

She still hasn’t found a replacement she is happy with.

I used to think that there was nothing worse than your favourite product or item being discontinued.

But there is. When they change it.

Of course I understand the concept of something being “new and improved”, and sometimes that is true but what if it’s just fine the way it is? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Alexandria Bernard on BloggerAlexandria Bernard on Twitter
Alexandria Bernard
With a successful 20+ year career in media and communications, Alex’s media portfolio includes contracts as a radio and television presenter (612 ABC, 4BC, Channel 9 and Network Ten) and as a feature writer for bmag and Brisbane Times.

Alex's voice and face may be familiar to you from her voiceover and television commercial work. She has been featured in national radio and TV advertising campaigns, corporate videos and has been a regular MC for major events.