First I had him try the generic, because I remember it worked okay when I switched, I just wanted it better. It looked slightly oily in the tub, but after I mixed it all together, it de-homogenized and became all gritty and separated, and I had to chew through it. Plus it had a weird smell, like plastic. Threw it all away, 6 lbs of it.
So then I tried the Crisco brand that looked creamy and white and had no smell, and it did the exact same thing, but grittier and chunkier. The more I mixed it, the worse it got. It was yucky.
So then I tried all butter, since that's what so many people who look down their noses at shortening use, and it was okay, but nothing special and I couldn't smooth it! The paper towel just stuck to it, and pulled it off. I used the water method the smooth it, and got it okay looking, but all the decorations just melted in my hand, instantly. I put a mitten on and it slowed it down, but it still got runny and separated. Then I noticed that the corners and points of icing dried all crumbly and hard and gritty, and the lines from the water smoothing changed to different colors, light and dark and mottled, and kept getting worse.
Meringue buttercreams don't really go over well for my price point, and I don't want to raise my prices again in this Obama economy.
Conclusion, even if I have to drive through a blizzard to get it, I am not making another cake without my hi-ratio shortening, and I have been using Alpine. (Never tried sweetex, and I hate vremay. ) It gets so smooth and creamy and consistent results. It stays light in color, no color variations, no grit, doesn't get crispy, smooths wonderfully, and cuts the butter taste, and really flavors nicely. It doesn't leave an icky mouth feel. Everyone loves my icing.