Unbranded Colored "Designer" 12 oz. Spray Bottles (Dollar Tree)

An Unbranded Colored "Designer" 12 oz. Spray Bottle in green
The end result of our second bottle after literally three sprays; our first one didn't last much longer.

I don't think our household would ever have a real use for spray bottles if it weren't for the need to keep pets at bay. First, we got one several years back for our basset hound, Beauregard, as a means to control him on the rare occasions he decided to move and got a little too ornery...a quick spray to the face would remedy that, at least for the immediate time being.

About a year after gentle ol’ Beau passed, we (well, really just my wife) got a three-month old rescue kitty from the local shelter. Even though she was pretty well-trained in most areas (the kitty I mean...my wife is not well-trained in any area, haha), she proved to be even more hard-headed than the dog. Despite her otherwise chill attitude, she would continually try to get our food, or get in our way at the most inconvenient times, and no matter how often we told her “no”, or gently nudged her aside, she never seemed to get the point.

With Beau, who was a pretty heavy dog, we used the large spray bottles that are found in the cleaning aisle. Since Ophelia the kitty is much, much smaller, we opted to get her something a little more “designer”, befitting her princess heritage: a colored spray bottle that was located in the hair care aisle (or thereabouts).

This one works like any other spray bottle: fill it up with water, adjust the nozzle on the front to control between “mist” and “stream”, and squeeze the trigger to release water at your desired setting. Pretty straightforward. However, just a day after bringing home the bottle, I went to spray her while she was being too ornery...and the trigger snapped right off, leaving me unguarded from a potential feline attack.

A couple months later, we were out of town, visiting my wife’s family in Tennessee. We brought kitty along, but forgot to bring the water bottle with us. Finding ourselves inside a Dollar Tree store, I made the snap decision to try one of these bottles again. After all, it seems kind of excessive to use the large cleaner bottle for such a small cat...you’d think she was some kind of constant terror (she really isn’t most of the time). We took it to the in-laws’ house, she tried getting into some things she shouldn’t, I went to blast her...and once again, the trigger came apart in my hands. After three sprays.

Our cat, whom we used the Unbranded Designer Spray Bottles to spray when she misbehaved
The terror we used the spray bottle to keep at bay, playing gentle for the camera.
 
Now, to be fair, maybe I was being a little too aggressive with a spray bottle that’s apparently meant for light-to-medium use. But there’s a little thing I like to call “reasonable valuation”, which is a term that probably already exists, but that I am making up right now: Basically, it means that the expected value of a product - in this case, one from the dollar store - should be based upon a variety of factors in comparison to the appearance and performance of similar products. For example, if you see a full-size, 20 oz. box of off-brand cereal at Dollar Tree, you know there’s a good chance it’s going to suck. This is because even good off brand cereals are over the dollar mark; the fact we’re getting so much for so little should raise red flags.

However, in contrast, if you see a smaller box of cereal for a dollar, that increases the odds the product might be good: it’s the ol’ “quality, not quantity” adage. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it’s a good general guideline I use when deciding whether or not an item might be worth trying.

In this case, the “designer” bottles are much cooler looking than the standard, semi-clear cleaning bottles AND much smaller - those two things, right there, should be enough differences to justify spending the same amount of money for a bottle that’s smaller. And, considering spray bottles don’t utilize many intricate pieces or moving parts, it’s reasonable to expect the trigger mechanism to function the same as any other.

One wouldn’t expect there to be that much of a difference in the trigger mechanism between Dollar Tree’s different spray bottle options, but there definitely is. I guess part of this is our fault: this bottle clearly wasn’t meant for “heavy duty” use (which apparently means spraying the bottle more than once at a time), hence its location in the hair care aisle. However, regardless of that, I’m not sure I’d really trust this to last all that long even with light use. I mean, if three sprays can break the trigger (our first one lasted closer to ten), then even light users might find themselves looking for another bottle before the month is up.

Overall: 2/10. This did not suit the needs of my household: namely to ward off the small, evil cat we rescued (haha, actually she’s not evil at all, just occasionally over-hyper, as most cats are). We ended up buying two of these bottles, and the trigger mechanism on both snapped after just a handful of sprays. Now, I might have been a little over-aggressive with the trigger (the second one broke after the third consecutive spritz), so if you’re just planning on using this to spray your hair, or for ironing, if you still do that, then it's reasonable to expect it to last a bit longer. Still, based on the similar performance of two separate bottles, I don’t even think it’s much suited for long-term light duty use, either. Best relegated to light travel use, if anything at all.

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