37, college grad, 2x married, one son, one stepdaughter, four cats, one idiot dog, one very small house and small garden.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Things I'm not sure I understand

I bought a cylinder of Morton salt the other day. I don't use regular salt, but the rest of the family does. Attached to the top of the package was a small, sample sized envelope of something labeled "HOT Salt!" The ad copy on the back of the sample read, "Startle your Tastebuds with HOT Salt!" Now I don't know about you, but one thing I think I would like to avoid is startled tatebuds. Remember the last time someone startled you? It wasn't pleasant. So WHY would the Morton salt people (or at the very least the gigantic and hugely expensive ad firm they've hired to create this mess)think that we want them to startle our tastebuds? I'm afraid to open the sample now. Who knows what might pop out. Maybe it won't just startle my tastebuds. Maybe it'll scare the living doots out of them.

That is an example of one of the many things I don't quite understand. Here's another:

The idea that something smells "fresh" baffles me. I suppose you could say it smells fresh as opposed to musty, but that's not really what they mean, is it? Who exactly was it that sat down one day and started sniffing things in order to find the one odor that for the rest of time would be known as "Fresh Scent?" It has never smelled very fresh to me. It smells like perfume. If it were fresh, it would smell clean. Then again, what the heck would "clean" smell like? This is something that can never be answered. It would be better if manufacturers labeled everything as follows: Unscented, Lightly scented, Full Bodied Aroma, and Gas Mask Included. There would be a lot less confusion that way.

Flavors have the same problem sometimes. I absolutely love chewing gum these days, but my two favorites have rather odd names. Trident Whitewater Rush flavor isn't just something that makes you go "hmmm," it's something that makes you stand around with your mouth open thinking, "What in the..." What on earth would posess them to name a gum Whitewater Rush? The first implication is that this is the gum favored by shady land dealing politicians. Hard on the hells of that thought is, "Gee...I'm not sure I want to chew a gum that might taste like salmon spawn and elk piss." Whoever thought this gum tasted like whitewater must have gone rapid riding on some extremely clean rivers.

My other favorite gum is made by Chiclets and is unfortunately named "Citrus Samba." Now I truly love this gum, but they should have called it lemon-lime flavor. Everytime I chew a piece I have a mental picture of citrus fruit dancing with yellow squares of gum. I laughed out loud the first time I saw it in the store and had to endure the embarrassment of having people inch away from me as though I were completely mad. (I may be, but I'm hardly likely to go postal while waiting in line to buy gum at Target.)

Here's something that not only confuses me, but occaisionally ticks me off as well: when product manufacturers put new packaging on an item and then tout the new package as an improvement. That really cheeses me off. Do they really think we're dumb enough to buy a product based on a new lid color on the bottle? Well, okay, maybe some of us are, but the rest of us are walking down the grocery aisles doing nothing but looking at prices. So why do they do it? Why do they put good money into changing the shape of a box of crackers? They pass those costs on to us. I do not get this. If they want to keep their customer base, you'd think they'd leave their packaging alone, and keep the cost down.

These are just a few of the many things in life I do not understand. The list grows as I get older, but I figure that's okay. In my younger years, I used to think I knew it all. Now I'm leanring just how ignorant I am. The nice thing about that is I'm pretty sure I'll find the answers to these nagging little questions someday. Maybe once I change my packaging.


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