the (lo fat, caffeine-free, clear) mayo
by Mad Dog
invariably arrive home, unpack my groceries, and find that once
again I’ve bought the Hi-Calcium Lo-fat Chunky Style Unsalted
Saltines by accident. Where’s Jolt Cola when you really need it?
Going to the supermarket used to be fun. You took your shopping
list, grabbed a cart, and walked down the aisle merrily plucking
items from the shelves while dodging the pros who are too busy
calculating carbohydrates per dollar to watch where they’re going,
which invariably is right into the front of your cart.
But it’s so different these days. I still have my list and the
pros still play demolition derby, only now I have to stop and spend
five minutes carefully examining each item I want to buy. It’s not
that I’m mesmerized by nutrition labeling informing me that
bottled water has no calories, no fat, no sodium, no carbohydrates,
no dietary fiber, and no reason to have a nutritional label other
than maybe the printer had a sale on zeros. No, the problem is I’m
being confronted with way too many choices.
Once upon a time if you needed mayonnaise you went down the
condiment aisle, found the brand you wanted, and went home happy in
the knowledge that you could make tuna salad for the rest of the
year because you couldn’t resist that deal on the institutional
size jar. Little did you realize they named it that because you
should be in an institution for wanting that much mayonnaise.
Now you not only need to know what brand you want, you have to
decide whether you want regular, low fat, fat-free,
cholesterol-free, caffeine-free, sugar-free, unscented,
extra-strength, or clear. And the jars all look alike. Sure there
are subtle changes on the label, like a slightly different color
scheme or the tiny note on the fat-free version which says “This
product may not contain any substances you’ve ever heard of or are
capable of pronouncing unless you have a PhD in organic
chemistry”, but it’s easy to overlook these things when my mind
is preoccupied with wondering whether Time-Warner’s merger with
AOL will result in the weekly magazine arriving at my house with a
loud “You’ve got mail!”
are threatening to become Australia’s “Other White Meat.” The
first one, of course, is koala. Just kidding. Actually eating koala
would be too much like eating Bambi.
Thanks to this brand proliferation I invariably arrive home, unpack
my groceries, and find that once again I’ve bought the Hi-Calcium
Lo-fat Chunky Style Unsalted Saltines by accident. Where’s Jolt
Cola when you really need it?
This isn’t my imagination, it’s very real. A couple of years ago
a record 20,076 food products were introduced in supermarkets across
the country. This year it should top 25,000. That’s 68 a day.
Three an hour. Or to put it another way, one for every man, woman,
and child in the country who cares. Last year Philip Morris
introduced 200 new food products while Heinz—which once prided
themselves on having 57 varieties—introduced 115 new ones. It’s
gotten so bad there’s a magazine called New Product News (motto:
“Thank God for Heinz and Philip Morris”) just to help keep it
But in spite of this insatiable desire by food manufacturers to
achieve the ultimate goal of creating a whole new food group, there
are several products I don’t think we’ll see in this country
anytime soon. One is kangaroo. In spite of their endearing ability
to hop into oncoming cars in a single bound, stash their young in a
pouch like yesterday’s half-eaten burrito, and beat George Foreman
at boxing while promising not to put out any cooking grills,
kangaroos are threatening to become Australia’s “Other White
Meat.” The first one, of course, is koala. Just kidding. Actually
eating koala would be too much like eating Bambi, though come to
think of it millions of American hunters do that every year.
of their stand-out ideas include broccoli- flavored vegetable juice,
broccoli cereal, and chocolate- flavored powdered broccoli juice
mix. It’s a real shame the name Tang is already being used.
the aborigines have been eating roos—as they so fondly call
them—for tens of thousands of years, it wasn’t until seven years
ago that it became legal for other Aussies to dine on their national
symbol. Yes, it took them that long to discover that it beats
chewing on a boomerang. This is odd. An Australian sitting down to a
big steaming bowl of kangaroo au gratin is like our taking the
family out for dinner at Uncle Sam’s Kentucky Fried Bald Eagle.
Except, of course, no one in Australia would order their kangaroo
Meanwhile here in the United States scientists have been busy trying
to find ways to get us to eat more broccoli. I think it started when
George Bush said he hated the stuff, causing scientists to take a
hard look at his offspring and immediately deciding we needed more
broccoli in our diet. They’ve been working overtime on this
project, though maybe they should cut back and get more sleep. Some
of their stand-out ideas include broccoli-flavored vegetable juice,
broccoli cereal, and chocolate-flavored powdered broccoli juice mix.
It’s a real shame the name Tang is already being used.
The problem is, if they actually come out with these products you
know people will buy them. After all, an estimated $35.5 million
worth of Ford Broncos were sold following O.J.’s famous freeway
chase in spite of the fact that Consumer Reports declared it to be
the least reliable car or light truck manufactured. So there’s no
question that with a little air time people will buy any new
product. But if they do catch on, there’s one product we’ll need
more than ever: lo-fat, no-calorie, caffeine-free, broccoli flavored
Tums in the shape of kangaroos. Pick up an institutional pack today!
©2000 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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