you come across a woman counting the nuts in Rocky Road ice cream,
that'd be me. I'm trying to actually catch corporate marketing wizards
in the act of trying to fool us. If Ben & Jerry (now owned by Unilever,
of London and Netherlands) are even one nut short, I'm unfriending
them on Facebook and, while I'm at it, I'd like to unfriend some
of the corporations that seem to be trying to get away with little,
I thought I was
losing my mind when a bar of Dial soap got finished off more than
a week earlier than it used to. I don't keep a graph or anything,
what'm I crazy?, but I suspected the indentation in the bottom of
my Dial soap was deeper than usual, leaving a considerably smaller
bar of soap that looked the same in the wrapper, but wasn't. So I
found an old bar of Dial soap in the pantry and sure enough, there
used to be a slight indentation, not such a deep one. Henkel International
owns Dial Soap and, since their motto is "A Brand Like a Friend" it
should be easy to unfriend them. They tout Henkel as an American company
when further investigations discloses that Henkel is a subsidiary
of a German conglomerate. We may think we're buying American, but
we aren't. Still, Germans are smart so it shouldn't be too hard to
turn that deep Dial dent back into a slight nook instead of a recess
in which you could park your tractor.
With a name like
Mother's, you'd expect sweet treatment, right? I don't know about
their other cookies, I only buy their Taffy cookies, the ones they
call their "... famous toasted cookie with smooth, sweet creme." Sounds
like they're the same cookie as always, but no, a betrayal by Mother's
is as painful as finding out the Easter Bunny is just a dressed up
rabbit who steals eggs from Chicken Little. Cookie filling, which
once went corner to corner, is now a mere dollop in the center, squished
flat and doesn't touch all the edges. Hey Mother's, the word is "filling,"
meaning that it's supposed to "fill" the cookie. Mother's should find
another way to satisfy investors because, ever since they were gobbled
up by Kellog's, the cookie fillings are shrinking.
I can see there
are fewer raisins in my favorite bread. I love Sun-Maid raisins, in
business since 1912, but breadmaker Sara Lee? Not so much. With a
name like that, we picture our grandmother or aunt baking in her kitchen
and we get the warm fuzzies. But Sara Lee is now just a massive conglomerate
known as Saralee, which was absorbed into the giant Grupo Bimbo (bakeries).
Happily, Sun-Maid is still a fine cooperative located in central California,
and they still supply the raisins for Sun-Maid Bread. Trivia: The
name of the original Sun Maid Girl on their famous logo was Lorraine
Collett. Lorraine was a real girl, who handed out raisin samples to
visitors of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San
Francisco. Actress/model Liz Weide is today's Sun-Maid Girl, updated
a ploy to make us think we're helping the environment by no longer
being able to use plastic bags previously supplied by stores at no
charge, consumers in some states are now required to pay for paper
bags (we were touted off paper years ago in favor of plastic, in order
to "save trees"), or bags made of cassava, a woody South American
shrub used as the basis for tapioca, or bags made of hemp, or canvas.
We now have to carry those bags with us and not leave them in the
car while we shop; if we forget them, we have to buy new ones. If
the point is to help the environment, how come the produce departments
still supply free small plastic bags for veggies and fruits, plastic
bags are still sold by Glad and Hefty for sandwiches and trash cans,
plastic bags are still sold for lawn and leaf bags, contractor bags,
and other uses. Truth: free plastic is gone, and paid replacements
have taken their place. At least, if we buy the cassava bags, we can
later eat them for dessert.
I love this American
family-owned cheese company, one of the largest privately held companies
in the U.S. and here's why: Each slice of their ultra-thin extra-sharp
cheddar cheese is separated by a soft piece of white paper for easy
removal. But not for Swiss. For ultra-thin Swiss cheese, they used
no paper at all and the cheese slices stuck together. Ever vigilant,
they realized their efforts to save a little money made for unhappy
consumers. Mine couldn't have been the only complaint. They've now
added paper to Swiss and all is well. That's why I love this company.
American. Employs close to 2,000 employees and has good, old-fashioned
Since there are
dozens of wet cleaning wipes from major corporations, there must be
a lot of consumers who buy them. So I must be the only one who finds
that, though they shorten cleaning time, they do nothing at all except
push the dust across the surface. After wiping those surfaces, instead
of nearly invisible dust, I find little wet bits that look like black
threads. They appear to be immune to getting wiped up no matter how
many times I swipe at them. At least with dust, you can blow it off.
I still buy the wet wipes and mumble to myself about how inefficient
of your old favorite products in new packaging, containers of different
shape than before, and weight change. Have you noticed things like
these in your daily life, things that seem smaller, bottles narrower,
contents lighter? I used to think it was me, but it's not. It's
them. Call the 800 number on their packaging and tell them you've
noticed the change and don't like it. Some of them listen.
As soon as I finish counting the nuts in my Rocky Road, I'm gonna
start counting the nuts in corporate offices.
"A Balloon In Cactus"
- August 14, 2017 column
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by Maggie Van Ostrand