You just never know what you’re going to find on the shelves of your own drugstore

First of all, please let me say … Holy Crap, you people have a lot of ideas! I feel great pressure in trying to be clever and pithy (I love that word but it always makes me sound like I have a lisp) around you now that I know how funny YOU are! And I want to thank you for your many, many, many tagline ideas … shared here as as well as on the ODNT Facebook and Twitter pages. I’m so flattered by all the entries and still haven’t quite decided where I’m going to land. Honestly, I’ll probably just grab one of them and toss it to Jenny at in the middle of the night. We all need to move on, right?

And speaking of … I was at Walgreen’s recently in search of the best scar prevention aid. Thanks to my selfish and uncooperative lung lining, I now have four incisions … three small and one medium … that I am looking to conceal with some sort of magical elixir that I don’t expect to work. And while I was searching for said snake oil, I came across something pretty bizarre right there in the aisles of my NOT RURAL local drugstore.


Vermont’s Original Bag Balm

It was clearly a skin product, as it was sitting there enjoying the good company of its shelf mates Nivea, Eucerin and even Gold Bond. And although it clearly lists the Dairy Association right there on the front of the tin, I cluelessly picked it up … mistaking its unique packaging for some high-end product that could solve the world’s skin problems.

Until I began reading the other sides of the tin.


“BAG BALM contains lanolin and stays on to provide moisturizing and softening.”

  • Well, your grammar is poor and you really need a noun in there but so far, so good. Tell me more, mysterious green tin.

“For pets, apply BAG BALM liberally to the affected area.”

  • What? Well, that’s weird. Milo wouldn’t want me anywhere near him with this stuff.

“For use on cows, thoroughly wash treated teats and udder with separate towels before each milking.”

  • What the … Oh, my God. What is this stuff? (Resisting urge to hurl at floor, but mesmerized by words on tin)

“To avoid contamination after each milking, bathe the udder with plenty of hot water, strip milk out and dry skin.”

  • Wait. I get it. I’m on Candid Camera right now, huh?

“Apply BAG BALM freely and massage gently with this proven ointment twice daily.”

  • Not a chance.

“This product contains no alcohol.”

  • Yes, but this person would contain it if she was ever crazy enough to try using it.


Its description says it’s for “chapped conditions and superficial abrasions.” It then goes on to say that “after each milking” you (and by that I mean YOU and most certainly not me) must “apply thoroughly and allow coating to remain on surface.” And there’s caution against using it on “deep puncture wounds.”

Yeah, not to worry, BAG BALM. You lost me at thoroughly washing the “treated teats.”

BAG BALM – Moisturizing People, Pets and Cattle since 1899

The 10-ounce tin is only $8.99. And seriously … that’s a steal.


12 responses to “You just never know what you’re going to find on the shelves of your own drugstore

  1. Girl, you don’t know about Bag Balm? That shit is magic. It’s kind of like Vaseline, but, uh, for cows. And people who like to have really, really soft skin. Don’t be put off by the udders.

  2. Bag balm and a pair of old cotton socks overnight will fix “winter feet”. BUT the absolute best thing for scars, burns, blisters, zits, paper cuts and pretty much any other ugle/owie thing is Lavender essential oil. Plain, no carrier oils added like grapeseed. I like Aura Cacia and have been using it for about 20 years since I graduated from being family witch doctor to amateur herbalist. Sounds like your incisions are probably pretty similar to mine from my gallbladder coming out about 10 years ago, and mine are invisible except where the dissolving sutures didn’t dissolve on one.

    It’s under $10 a bottle and Whole Foods, Walgreens & a bunch of regular groceries carry it. You can add it to cocoa butter, bag balm, olive or jojoba oil yourself or use it straight. I do find that it can be a bit drying on scabby bits (ew) when used “neat” so a few drops of oil are good. Bonus: if you burn yourself (curling iron, broiler, hot water, fireworks) and put an undiluted drop on there immediately after ice, it won’t even blister. 🙂

  3. Bag Balm! Surprised you never saw that or Udderly Smooth! Stuff works great in these HARSH New England Winters!!! (Well, except this winter where it was thundering and 57 yesterday)

    And for the scars – well, no amount of cream could help me because I had radiation on top of my scars, BUT, I here is what we do for the horses…YES…the HORSES LOL – we use either an over the counter that contains everything, or we piece work it and use Aloe Vera, Vitamin A, D and E. Ingesting those vitamins and fish oil also helps as well…

  4. What inquiring minds want to know is…did you buy this? Also, what would have been your response when the manager came by and saw you filming his merchandise? Finally, do you see the irony in finding and posting a product used for cow “teats” on your aptly named blog?

    • Les, to answer your questions … (1) No. However, given Beth’s suggestion to make it part of my scar prevention regime as well as stnkyferit and Janel’s strong endorsements, I see it taking up residency in my medicine cabinet pretty soon. (2) I have now been seen photographing everything from wine bottles and Barbie dolls to chocolate-covered bacon and adult board games. Weird? Maybe. But it sure got me immediate service in some of those places. AND (3) YES! I love it …. and was wondering who was going to point that out first!

  5. Wish I’d known about this when my teats we-…
    Never mind…

  6. Wish I had known about Bag Balm when I was breastfeeding. My boobs, besides looking like socks with rocks, were chapped and hurting all of time, esp. with Sofia, who didn’t so much breastfeed as attack my breasts with her gums. It was scary to see that little mouth getting to ready to latch on….I had a lot of dreams about the shark mouth in Jaws during that time.

  7. I love bag balm. i use it on my hands, especially in winter (they crack and bleed) and even for diaper rash on my kids. repels water which is great for staying on and lasting all day or night. antibacterial for preventing infections and works wonders. don’t knock it until you try it

    • Oh, I promise I’m not knocking the product. Actually, I’ve heard so many good things about it since I wrote this post that I think I now HAVE to try it. But I can’t promise I won’t snicker a little every time I read the packaging.

  8. Bag balm is awesome!! (I don’t have udders either)

  9. This Valentine’s Day, I’m hoping for:
    – A bottle of two-buck chuck
    – A couple of dollar-store candles
    – a jar of Bag Balm.

    Now, *that’s* romance.

  10. Dude. Bag Balm is AWESOME! We use it for everything. AND YES we use it for chapped lips, any owie that needs a little help, it replaces neosporin, is great for super chapped anything, and anytime something happens to one of the dogs they get some too. ALSO I have a little mini tin I keep next to my bed just in case.

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