I’m in my mid-thirties as of this writing and I can’t recall a prior time that I’ve ever tried the national brand of children’s electrolyte solution. Of course, I probably had some when I was way too young to remember, as that’s the time most people receive it, but lately there’s been a massive increase in sales to adults, thanks to its marketing as a hangover “cure”. It’s also been used by athletes as a replacement for sports drinks, something I never thought about (or really needed) when I was playing rec-league hockey.
I think a big part of why it probably never landed on my radar is simply because of how expensive the national brand is. It’s absurd. Especially when you compare it to sports drinks, where 32 oz. can frequently be had for $1 or less. To put that into perspective, a liter of the national brand oral rehydration drink, which amounts to roughly 33.8 oz., is $5. Thanks, but no thanks. Even as a hangover cure, I wouldn’t touch the stuff at that price, no matter how miserable I felt.
Then a curious thing happened. I was at Dollar Tree one day when I happened to see little bottles of this for sale. Not really needing it for anything at that point in time, I made a mental note of it, simply because I didn’t recall having ever seen it at Dollar Tree before. Well you know how life is full of strange coincidences? Well this happened to be one: Not a week later my wife got really sick and requested that I pick up the national brand electrolyte solution on my way home. At first, I was thinking about how expensive that was going to be…until I remembered it sitting on Dollar Tree shelves! I went there instead, and picked up a couple of bottles.
Now, of course the bottles for sale at Dollar Tree are not “full size” bottles. Quite contrarily, they look almost embarrassingly small, and I began to wonder if I was being had. After all, that is sometimes the tactic employed by discount stores…offer smaller quantities for a pro-rated price that’s actually more expensive (relatively speaking) than buying the normal-size product elsewhere. So was I getting a deal? The answer in a nutshell: absolutely. You see, the national brand seems to be available only in liter bottles. One liter equals approximately 33.8 oz. Each of Dollar Tree’s bottles are 16.9 oz. Multiply that by just two and you get…voila!…33.8 oz. That means for $2, you’re getting the same exact quantity as the national brand, which is generally $5 or more at other retailers.
But how does it taste? This was something that I legitimately wasn’t sure about, because I’d never had it. Apparently neither had my wife, as she immediately winced and basically said she would rather die of dehydration than drink another drop, as it was too sweet. I felt like that left it in my wheelhouse, because I love sweet drinks…and I found that it is indeed overly saccharine, with a kind of syrupy taste that’s more akin to cough syrup than any sort of mixed fruit.
However, that observation was just in a situation where I was sipping it as if it were a fine wine, with no real need for it. On another day–tired of the lackluster taste of water, yet feeling dehydrated—I reached for a bottle of this, and chugged it down in about ten seconds flat, my body absorbing the nutrients and leaving me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated within minutes. The flavor certainly didn’t bother me then; in fact, I quite liked it, its taste much better than the stale nothingness of water, and the sweetness factor diluted by my body’s intense need for liquids. It goes down smooth and easy, with no bitter notes.
Taste aside, this is great stuff just to keep on hand, and at a ridiculous price that makes it one of the best deals inside Dollar Tree. It’s a good cure for hangover, sickness, and just regular dehydration, for kids and adults alike, and the $1 price point is insane.
Overall: 10/10. I’ve never had the national brand before, and only purchased it at the request of my wife, who wanted to replace liquids she lost after being very sick. As it turns out, it was too sweet for her, so I inherited the two bottles I purchased…and it was way too sweet for me, too. But that was just under “casual” drinking scenarios…and I don’t think anyone drinks this for fun. Flash-forward to a time when I actually needed it—after staying active a little longer than planned and without water—and I downed a bottle of this stuff with no issues, feeling better within minutes. At $1 per 16.9 oz. bottle, this still represents phenomenal value, as it only takes two bottles to equal the average bottle size of the national brand (which is generally at least $5). Fantastic product for the price, and one of the best values to be had inside Dollar Tree stores.
NOTE: I’ve seen (and tried) this under two different labels at Dollar Tree: under the brand name “Ready Case”, and under “Assured”. Both are the same thing. I’m assuming they are doing a re-branding, as the last couple times I’ve gotten it, it’s been under the “Assured” label, which is their umbrella name for medicinal products.