June 25, 2008 · Updated 9:39 PM
"The cheap stuff smells like fruitOne problem we've always had at our house is the steady stream of fruit pickers and USDA inspectors driving by, looking for the orchard and row crops.As with most things, you can blame me. I can't resist the cheap shampoo, so for years the kids have smelled like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mangos, apples and passion fruit, although I only purchased the latter after they all came of age.There was a time many years ago when they liked these fruity fragrances, but in recent years my shampoo purchases have been universally greeted with groans and cries of outrage. They all try to buy their own shampoo, but I still purchase a few bottles when I walk past a sale aisle so that when their own supply runs dry, it's back to smelling like the fruit plate at Denny's.What, there's nothing but blueberry! is a common cry emanating from the bathroom in our house. Is it better to go on a date with greasy hair or to smell like a blueberry? The choice is obvious.Just last week I found a bottle of Alberto VO (Vodka and Oil,presumably) 5 shampoo, scented by the odd combination of pears and mangoes, for only 99 cents, plus it was 25 percent more! than the normal-sized bottle. This is easily a $1.99 value so I snapped up a couple of bottles while feeling sorry for the guy at the VO 5 factory who was probably fired for inadvertently pouring the mangoes into the pears.All the great cheap shampoos have fruity fragrances, with Suave leading the way, followed closely by Style and Alberto. This all goes for 99 cents to $1.29 a bottle, which is $4 to $5 cheaper per bottle than the fancy stuff the kids prefer. I've saved enough money on shampoo through the years to pay for an entire year of college for the one that smells like a strawberry.It is unfortunate that the shampoo companies aren't more imaginative. Not everyone wants to smell like fruit or soap. Kids would love Suave Happy Meal shampoo, scented like greasy french fries and a soggy hamburger with a hint of orange pop thrown in. Teenage boys might go for Alberto 10-40, the shampoo that makes you smell like a finely tuned engine, and that you only have to change every 3,000 miles.Until there are more cheap shampoo choices, I'll keep buying the fruity stuff. Besides, some of the fruit pickers and USDA inspectors are pretty nice guys, and they find our girls alluring. "