When I was young, the cool kids all used VO5 shampoo, which was then a premium brand. I’m not sure why people liked the shampoo; it’s possible the name seemed high-tech for the times, invoking images of race cars. The name in actuality referred to the five vitamins and oils that had been added to the shampoo, which perhaps made it a better shampoo than its competition because back then shampoos were little more than gentle liquid soaps. They might still be, for all I know. It’s been a while since I’ve done any in depth research on such products.
I hadn’t thought of this particular brand since . . . well, never. When I was young, of course, I used whatever shampoo my mother bought. Later, I bought so-called “natural” products from Jeff’s health food store. (That’s where I met him — at his store.)
Still later, I used the shampoos we’d stocked up on before his death. (I can tell you for a fact that old shampoo never loses its luster.) And then, of course, during my months of travel, I used motel and hotel shampoos.
When I moved here, one of the first things I had to do was buy shampoo. I stood at those seemingly endless shelves for a long while, trying to figure out which one to get. I finally purchased a couple of shampoo/conditioner sets that bragged about being natural and having herbs, but they weren’t any different than any other shampoo I’d used in recent memory. So, a week or so ago, when I again found myself in need of shampoo, I stood in that same spot without a clue about which of the hundreds of bottles to pick.
And then I saw them, there on the lowest shelf — bottles of VO5 shampoo. It shocked me, not just that such an old brand was still extant, but that it was priced so cheaply — under a dollar. It seemed much the same as the bottles of high-priced shampoo I’d been looking it, so that’s what I bought.
I seldom talk about the products I use, and almost never mention brands, but this particular incident has stayed with me, probably because of the wider lesson.
I’m sure, to the world at large, my value has been discounted the same as that once prestigious hair product. Luckily for me, I live in the world at small. In my small world, whether my small space online or my small space in my small neighborhood in my small town, my value still holds true. At least, it does to me, to the people I work for, to the people I have befriended.
Luckily, too, there is no price on my value to the world at small. It would be rather disconcerting to find oneself relegated to the bottom shelf while other folks, younger and flashier though perhaps no better, lounged on higher tiers.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator