The loss of the adult diaper staple-brand Depend going the way of cloth-like more than hits a nerve for me, although I can't say I wasn't surprised as the writing has been on the wall for a while. Anybody that wears something in their "private area", offering some type of protection every day is going to have strong opinions about what has and hasn't worked for them. To get angry at having that option suddenly jerked away, surely doesn't make you AB/DL and I think that's what Depend has misunderstood about their customer base. By 2016, the "Maximum Protection" with tabs did suck because the company began a slow campaign around 2004-2005 to kill it over the course of 10 years. Maybe that was our "notice".
My complaints with the industry in general have been summed up by others, but to say "another one bites the dust" just doesn't express the significance of this loss. "The end of an era" comes a little closer (mentioned at least once on this forum) as Depend was the first original disposable adult diaper and has been plastic-backed since 1984.
R.I.P. Depend - 32 years.
While not perfect, you could always always "depend" on at least one plastic-backed diaper being available in a random bigbox store near you that didn't require you stay alert on the latest lucky additions at the local second-hand stores. I disagree with most people that they were the worst. For the thickness to absorption ratio, they performed better than most (with exception of the last 4 years) because of the way they "hug" the body. They were far more reliable than people gave them credit for and that's probably because sometime in the late 90's a decision was made that Depend would be all that would be available in any retail outlets. Not sure how someone could make a decision like that, but needless to say, all of the stores seemed to followed suit.
Its not like any previous company that has switched to a 100% cloth-like line ever give even a single month's worth of warning to the customers so we have a chance to stock up. One day, poof, they're gone, and yes, they don't even change their website descriptions!
Can someone say, "New inferior product, same great packaging"!
The company then peddles the typical B.S. to customer feedback. I somehow expected Depend might act different, but sadly no. They are too busy trying to be hip - which is great in a way. In another way there is now a divide between the average middle-aged incontinent person who suffers from "mild leakage" while hiking and playing tennis to the many thousands of more severely disabled people that don't care about dancing in their "new style" activewear. All of their different, but seemingly same multi-colored underwear variants are the same basic product, unable to hold even the lightest of voids in any position except standing. Why get rid of the one product that was actually different?
So they stuck with the green, crinkly and thick plastic "Fitted Briefs" for perhaps longer than the status quo incontinent would have liked (mid to late 90's). I will say the leakage protection wasn't the best with these as they didn't have the SAP (gelling) technology, but the gathers and elastic waistband almost made up for it, The generics had crappy gathers, so Depend was the clear winner. Okay, Attends were probably better in the absorbency dept., but they become impossible to after the turn of the century in retail outlets, so we'll stay on topic.
The absorbency was the best when they switched to the white plastic around the turn of the century (with the packages labeled "more underwear-like color!"), but the plastic backing was still the same thickness. They were still pretty darn good even when they cut the gauge of the plastic to be a bit thinner around 2002-2003, yet the packaging was still the red. It wasn't until they changed to the green packaging with new Depend "smiley" logo around 2004'ish, killed the small size and started calling the medium "small/medium" and changed the name Fitted Maximum Protection" that the product started to go downhill. "Different packaging, same great product, my a$$. The plastic gauge was dropped again and was now thin enough that the tapes could not be repositioned easily without tearing the plastic. The absorbency, for the thickness of the diaper was still pretty good, but the tapes were clearly "broken". Fast forward to the most recent "Maximum Protection with tabs" 2011-ish version where Depend dropped the "smiley" logo, the diaper was even thinner (not in a good way, but in a "this damn thing leaks nomatter what position I'm in way") and the plastic was thinned again (as if you couldn't get any thinner) so that it had a matte rather than glossy feel to it. Now it was close to impossible to reposition the tabs if you didn't smooth out the wrinkles underneath and spend 5 minutes slowly peeling each tab.
Here we are in 2016, and their PR spin goes something like, "We value our customer's feedback and we now have a solution to the problems with the tape tabs being resistant to being repositioned...". Somehow this means cloth-like and velcro tabs are the only alternative. Tape tabs have worked since 1984 thank you very much - you just need some decent gauge plastic. The "pinhole" plastic doesn't cut it.
I do hope that is is like others have pointed out that they will re-introduce it due to the backlash, but it seems they wanted it to fail so the company could distance itself from the real disabled people. I do not believe that every company will do this because when companies like Depend, Tena and Abena dump millions of customers still using their briefs, the competitors now have something that may be "more" valuable than before. Of course, when there were many more options (like 10 years ago), it didn't matter so much, but folks, we're down to like 3 main companies left - its going to matter a lot more!
The less options there are for plastic backed, the more plastic-backed diapers will be sold by the remaining companies still producing them. Perhaps with this move, selling a plastic-backed diaper will be an advantage because its actually an "option" in contrast to the barrage of thousands of crappy "underwear" that aren't underwear.
One last thing: Why do people and the people at Depend think that you must enjoy wearing diapers to like plastic-backed and the rest of their customer must be ashamed? That's a HUGE assumption. Plastic-backed have been proven to be better than cloth-like in these 3 areas:
1> odor control
2> side sleeper leakage
3> bariatrics (the plastic can be slid under the patient easier)
#1 is reason enough. You don't want your diapers breathing too much... they are trying to contain something! When the med supply places ask you why you care, give them these reasons. People need to know, there are benefits beyond being AB/DL.
I figure its worth taking inventory worldwide of all the brands that remain plastic backed. Please chime in on any brands not already listed. I'll start this off with:
-Covidien (previously Kendall) Wings Choice Plus (have gotten crappier the past year, but still plastic-backed)
-McKesson StayDry/Poly Briefs (on the thin side, and much better a year ago, these are still plastic-backed)
-The Molicare classic (purple)
-Tranquility ATN (smaller than Medium are clothlike, everything else is still plastic)
-Tranquility Slimline (smaller than Medium are clothlike, everything else is still plastic)
-Select briefs (made by Tranquility)
-Attends Value Briefs (Poly)
-Attends Waistband Briefs (gathers are great)
-Attends Undergarments (not briefs, but the last plastic backed undergarment available that I know of!)
-HDIS Home-Choice (seemed to be a brand label on top of a Wings brief, at least a couple years back)