Potential Pancake Disasters: Walmart's Cooking Spray Looks A Lot Like Their Furniture Polish

You know, this can of Walmart cooking spray looks a lot like this can of Walmart furniture polish. To avoid any potential pancake disasters, it might be time for Walmart to start introducing some variety in how they design their in-house store brand of “Great Value” products. Also, you probably shouldn’t keep your furniture polish next to the syrup and pan spray in your cupboard at home.

I almost killed my family this morning making pancakes. I think it’s time Walmart put some variety in their labels. [Reddit] (Thanks to all who sent this in!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. JulesNoctambule says:

    ‘Pine-Sol flavoured pancakes? My favourite!!’

  2. pop top says:

    Who doesn’t love lemon-scented pancakes?

  3. ShruggingGalt says:

    I don’t think that both of those products are located anywhere near the department where this picture was taken…..

  4. Macgyver says:

    If people get them confused with each other, then maybe it’s time to get glasses.

  5. EmanNeercs says:

    Shiny pancakes at a great value – what more could you want?

  6. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    This is one of those photos that is way better when you look closely at the background.

  7. Pinkbox says:

    Unless you rarely cook, I don’t think you’d be prone to mixing up the two. The lids are completely different. One pops off, even… the other doesn’t.

  8. Alvis says:

    One has a cap that comes off, one doesn’t. How could you POSSIBLY get confused?

    • cybrczch says:

      With the level of stupidity that is prevalent in society, nothing would surprise me.

    • SabreDC says:

      One also says “Butter Flavored Cooking Spray” and has a picture of a pancake. The other says “Lemon Scented Furniture Polish”. I’m not sure how someone can confuse them either.

      When did we become a nation full of people so scared to read what they are doing before they use it? My milk carton looks just like my orange juice carton. When I want juice, I look for the carton with the oranges on it. Not that difficult.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        yeah well the bar i used to work at got very interesting one night when the bartender was really tired and really busy. she picked up some milk before work to use in the mixed drinks that called for it.
        turns out eggnog is pretty good in some of those drinks. but not all. definitely doesn’t mix well with vodka

    • ooeygooey says:

      We’re about to legalize marijuana here in California. Just sayin’…

  9. Joe-TFW says:

    Ahhhh…Generic graphic design templates, how we loathe them.

  10. CBenji says:

    Seriously I have thought they looked alike myself, but I don’t store the two anywhere near each other. Actually I never buy the furniture polish from Walmart. I do buy the cooking spray. Obviously I am cheap about what I put in my body, but not on my furniture. I wonder what that says about me???

  11. Murph1908 says:

    No wonder my coffee table smelled like popcorn all last month!

    • Can't Buy a Thrill says:

      Right !…sure she almost killed her family but her kids have been having a blast sliding down that stair rail

  12. Cyclone says:

    Meh, stupid articles like this is why I barely read this website anymore. Whoever mixes these 2 items up is an idiot and probably deserves to eat Pledge tasting pancakes.

  13. mischlep says:

    Wife: New Shimmer is a floor wax!

    Husband: No, new Shimmer is a dessert topping!

    Spokesman: [ enters quickly ] Hey, hey, hey, calm down, you two. New Shimmer is both a floor wax and a dessert topping! Here, I’ll spray some on your mop.. [ sprays Shimmer onto mop ] ..and some on your butterscotch pudding. [ sprays Shimmer onto pudding ]

  14. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    We had something similar *almost* happen, but it wouldn’t have been so grave. Boyfriend picked up the can of scrubbing bubbles instead of the Pledge. That would’ve been ONE VERY CLEAN table!

  15. AT203 says:

    I find Wal-Mart’s depression-era branding offensive even when they are not confusing products. I don’t know what the thinking behind the move is. Perhaps it saves money by reducing design-time, and ink costs (compared to wrap-around graphic advertising.) It hands-down makes the products look cheap and generic. I understand that cheap is Wal-Mart’s niche, but what is the branding strategy of reinforcing to your customers that the products are cheap and generic? It definitely runs contrary to the “aspirational” tactic that most brands pursue.

    • alSeen says:

      I’ve yet to find any explanation for the switch. The best that I can come up with is that it is now easy to locate the Wal-Mart brand since they are all the ugly white packaging. Doesn’t stop me from buying it for a lot of things.

    • daave says:

      Tropicana OJ did the same thing recently. People normally assume the generic packaging contains a better value than the name brand. So they are more apt to grab a more plain package when looking for an item that has a lot of shelf-competition.

      I work in marketing and most packaging and branding is psychological. Get the customer to pick your item off the shelf for a closer look and you are much closer to a sale than if they dont touch the item. Your brian will assume that the prettier item costs more.

    • illscreech says:

      I actually really like the packaging, it makes me more likely to shop there knowing they aren’t paying some team of marketing MBAs or graphic designers to annoy me. It’s slight overhead I know, but it’s money they’re spending elsewhere if not simply keeping prices lower.

    • SuperSnackTime says:

      Did you just say you’re offended by the depression-era packaging?

    • Doubts42 says:

      Because those of us that are focused on value, instead of fancy graphics and marketing would rather pay 8 cents less per can and get a plain white can that says cooking spray on it.

  16. alSeen says:

    I hated when Walmart went to their “white” packaging.

    It especially sucks for soups. The different soups used to be different colors, so you could grab the red can for tomato soup, yellow for cream of chicken, tan for cream of mushroom. Now you have to spend time sorting them out and looking at each one as you pull it out to find the one you want.

  17. Gulliver says:

    I think any person who mixes up the two is a candidate for the Darwin award, and the fewer people like that, the better.
    My hand sanitizer looks a lot like my lube container. Imagine the possibilities.

  18. B says:

    The furniture polish probably tastes better, though.

  19. HaveSomeCheese says:

    Does this guy have a mouse in a jar in the background?

  20. Michaela says:

    My family had issues with the small coffee creamer cartons and small publix egg beater cartons. I always knew which to grab, but my mother was always accidentally putting eggs in her coffee.

    Also, how is this an issue? Who would keep cleaner next to food items?

  21. qbubbles says:

    Whats with the dead mice?

  22. BrianneG says:

    I can totally see myself having a problem with this, considering I once put ketchup on my pancakes and syrup on my eggs.

  23. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    It’s Wal*Mart’s fault that people can’t be bothered to pay attention?

    Oh wait, this is America. It’s never someone’s fault. It’s someone ELSE’S fault. Always.

  24. Liam Kinkaid says:

    I seem to remember something similar to this happening. It turned out that the box of Rid O Rat looked exactly like the box of Skinny N Sweet, well except for the little skull and crossbones. Well, one thing led to another and before you know it, the boss was tied up in some BDSM fantasy romper room, his assistant was on a leadership training seminar in France, and these three ladies really turned the company around. I can’t really say I was sorry for the boss, though. I think it was revealed that he was some sort of sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot. Anyhoot, good times, good times.

    • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

      +1 “9 to 5” reference.

    • Nighthawke says:

      I think he disappeared while on the Amazon river, something about weapon-wielding women?

      Oy, don’t wanna be a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot that’s been kidnapped by a bunch of Amazon warrior women. That would be VERY bad fortune, cookie.

    • Bye says:


  25. Speak says:

    For all the people commenting about how they wouldn’t mix them up, once they both are in your house you may not. However it is only a matter of time before someone decides to pull a prank at Walmart and mix up these cans on the shelf so someone not looking close grabs the wrong one. And by posting pictures of this, the time may be shorter then we think.

    • ellemdee says:

      It would be easy for these to be swapped without even being a prank. I see 1 or 2 lone items sitting with a display of different but similar-looking items all the time. Several times throughout the day, employees are given carts of merchandise (usually sorted by department) to put back on the shelf. Stuff that someone else found sitting on a shelf in the wrong department, items customers left in an abandoned cart, returns, merchandise people decided not to buy at the last minute and handed to the cashier, etc. It would definitely be very easy for the person sorting the items (or putting them back) to throw one of these into the wrong department’s bin (especially since there’s even a photo of food on the furniture polish’s packaging), then the person putting it away quickly looks down the aisle for a similar looking item, they shove it on the shelf, and the next person trying to grab 3 cans of cooking spray accidentally grabs 2 cans of cooking spray and one can of furniture polish.

  26. MeOhMy says:

    Well now I know why the Great Value furniture polish seemed about as (in)effective has lemon-scented canola oil….

  27. mrchuck85 says:

    windfall lawsuit for the illiterate

  28. Tightlines says:

    True story: I decided to bake an apple pie to impress my future in laws on Thanksgiving a few years ago. Instead of using cinnamon, I stupidly grabbed the Southwest Seasoning that was next to it and baked it right in the pie. Accidents happen, especially when one product looks just like another and you’re not paying attention.

    The pie looked beautiful, but yeah, it tasted like shit.

  29. cheezfri says:

    My can of mousse-like hair remover ended up right next to my very similar-looking can of hair styling mousse. Did I put it there? No. But at least I happened to notice at the last second that I was about to remove all the hair from my head.

    • CBenji says:

      Do they smell differently? The last time I used that hair remover stuff it smelled quite malodorous. Also the only way it takes the hair off you have to use something to rub up next to your skin. I have always figured you could never really remove all your hair because it really is kind of tricky to take it all off your legs with that stuff.

  30. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    It’s always sad the number of people who think those who have vision problems should just die.

  31. Bativac says:

    Give me a break. One of the cans says “Cooking Spray” and the other says “Furniture Polish.”

    I somehow manage to not mix up vegetable oil with canola oil or peanut oil despite the bottles being exactly the same. Because I can read.

    What kind of a damn moron… nevermind.

  32. CBenji says:

    Seriously I have thought they looked alike myself, but I don’t store the two anywhere near each other. Actually I never buy the furniture polish from Walmart. I do buy the cooking spray. Obviously I am cheap about what I put in my body, but not on my furniture. I wonder what that says about me???

  33. MikeB says:

    I can remember seeing this post on Reddit and at the time I was wondering why someone would have these 2 cans stored near each other.

  34. AngryK9 says:

    Curses! You warned me, now I won’t be able to sue! FOILED AGAIN!


  35. common_sense84 says:

    Do not keep your cleaners with food items. Problem solved.

    The consumerist never fails to be dumber today than it was tomorrow. Every article posted is always the dumbest article you have ever seen.

    • ellemdee says:

      You’ve never accidentally put something away in the wrong place? Or accidentally grabbed the wrong item at the store because you bought multiples and it was behind the one you wanted & you grabbed them both? Easy mistake to make with very similar packaging.

  36. VOIDMunashii says:

    As with the superglue thing from last week, this is why I do not keep my furniture polish and a cooking spray in the same cabinet.
    I also don’t keep apple juice jars full of gasoline in my fridge.

  37. Suaveydavey says:

    The same thing happened with a can of Raid and Reddi-Whip…

  38. Difdi says:

    A local discount grocery store pulled a stunt like this a year or so ago. They had these clear bottles of cleaning solvent in these really cool colors; Purple, yellow, crimson and green. On either side of the cleaning products display were bottles of kid’s fruit drinks and soft drinks, some of which were in clear bottles and came in various colors such as purple, yellow, crimson, green, etc. Right above the cleaning products display was a candy display, among which was various kinds of liquid candy, again in clear bottles and colored purple, yellow, crimson and green. Someone in a hurry, or a little kid who couldn’t (or forgot to) read the labels would not be able to tell them apart easily. Every single one of the cleaning products had a “harmful or fatal if swallowed” warning in small print on the label.

    Not only did the store manager not see any kind of problem with this when I pointed it out, the displays went unchanged for over ten months.

  39. ellemdee says:

    I’m usually of the “hey, people should just read the packaging better” stance, but these two do look really, really similar and that similarity could have pretty bad consequences. The furniture spray even has a picture of food on it…when I first glanced at the thumbnail, I though it was a bowl of eggs and the can on the right must be the cooking spray the title referred to. Say an employee putting back stray items accidentally puts a can of the polish next to the cans of cooking spray. We’ve all seen it – a lone item hanging out on a shelf with similar-looking totally unrelated items. The next person trying to pick up 3 cans of cooking spray accidentally grabs 2 cans of spray and one can of polish. When they get home, they put away all 3 cans of the “cooking spray” in the kitchen. The next morning, they accidentally douse their kids pancakes in good ‘ol generic Pledge. It’s not like you can necessarily tell the difference when you spray it out since they both look the same (and not everyone can even smell the difference – I can’t). Honestly, no one actually reads every single label on every item they own each time they use it. If the person only shopped for food, they would have no reason to suspect that the item they grabbed – the one sitting next to two other similar-looking items labeled as cooking spray – is anything but edible. No one can say they’ve never bought chunky peanut butter when they meant to buy creamy or diet pop when they meant to grab regular because they were stray items put back in the wrong place and you grabbed a couple, thinking they were all the same.

  40. MarvinMar says:

    Is it wrong that my first impression when I saw the pics was “YAY! Walmart is making a Great Value version of the Batter Blaster!”
    O, Bummer

  41. Tvhargon says:

    Look on the bright side, your plates won’t stick to the table any more!

  42. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    Does this not remind anyone of the story of the lady who super glued her eyes because she kept the eye drops near the super glue?

    Just waiting on this one…

  43. meechybee says:

    Maybe they ARE the same thing… (insert “duh-huh-duhhhhhh” music here)

  44. pyehac says:

    you stole this from reddit

  45. BoredOOMM says:

    Same ingredients, same flavor, same receipt check at the door….

  46. Yentaleh says:

    As my husband pointed out, waxy pancakes that catch fire……YUM!

  47. nuke3ae says:

    Way to reference Reddit.com, where this was originally posted

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Yeah, because Consumerist never posts news that hasn’t already been reported elsewhere…

  48. Admiral_John says:

    Here’s a thought…. before you spray something in your pan, read the label.

    Same goes for spraying something on your furniture.

  49. Holden Caufield says I'm a phonie says:

    First I kill my dog by serving him Petchow rat poison, and then I kill my family by serving them pancakes with generic lemon cleaner in them…

  50. kmw2 says:

    Probably tastes about the same, too.

  51. cmdrico7812 says:

    Is anyone else more concerned with the dead rat and small skull in the glass jar to the left of the spray? Who’s kitchen is this?

  52. Mclick says:

    Last time I checked, butter flavor wasn’t a furniture polish. If you store your furniture polish with your cooking spray you need to get you head examined. Consumer needs to pay more attention.

  53. My Head Hurts says:
  54. DragonThermo says:

    That’s the challenge of making and buying “generic” products. What you save on design and advertising you get in sameness of appearance.

    It does remind me of that SNL commercial for “Old Roy” brand rat poison. You’ll know it by the big picture of Old Roy (the dog) on the package. (With “rat poison” in small print underneath the large image of the dog).