We received a holiday gift basket at the office recently. It was a nice gesture by the people that sent it to us but the contents highlight a symptom of why we are doomed. We’ve really lost all respect for ourselves and so we are very easily herded and manipulated by marketers possessing skills on par with those of the reality television geniuses.
Case in point:
“Biscuit croquants au chocolat” – which are advertised to be “riche et delicieux”
The Brand tag line reads “chocolat extraordinaire”
So this must be good – because it’s “French” - it’s so chic and uber cool because there is no “E” at the end of chocolate.
But then when you turn the box around, you’ll see that it is made in Indonesia (A.K.A. the Epicenter of French Baking). Now don't misunderstand, I'm not saying there is anything inherently wrong with French Food from Indonesia. It’s just not where I instinctively expected my French cookies to be made. Why French you ask?
Are they selling these to people in France? Who have a penchant for buying French cookies from California? And who also prefer foods actually made in Indonesia?
Seems unlikely, but you never know for sure.
The most likely answer: A distribution company from El Segundo California figured you wouldn't be impressed by chocolate cookies (sorry – croquants au chocolat) that seem just like all the other unhealthy crap made in America. They made it sound French, and it was transformed from empty calories to a mysterious foreign treat.
On the other hand, if you tell me these are primarily sold to French Canadians – then it all makes sense and you can ignore my rant. They would never know the difference.
Another box of cookies in the Gift Basket features cookies with the simple brand name: BETH’S.
Like me, I know you’re immediately picturing a cute freckle faced girl with a perpetual smile making cookies for you and your family. I imagine Beth's "back story" is that she did “ok” in school but she was always drawn towards baking so now she works 24 hours a day making cookies. The long hours are all worthwhile, because she is doing what she loves...
After 10 seconds of my Beth daydream, my cynical nature kicks in. Now back in reality, I know that when I turn over the box I will surely find that Beth’s cookies are also be made in Indonesia (or maybe India).
But dammit - I’m wrong... - There is allegedly a real Beth. (She is also in California – go figure).
I can’t tell if she has freckles but she does look a little frazzled – which could be because her website kinda sucks and has print which is so tiny that nobody could ever read it.
Poor Beth – she went from being a cute little girl with a creepy/sleepy doll to a fourth place finisher in an Annette Funicello look-alike contest. If she had only poofed her hair a tiny bit more, she might have taken second place. Her unnecessarily detailed yet mostly incomprehensible life story of world travel and endless job changes is making me cry. http://www.beths.com/welcome (See for yourself - I can't make up anything this funny)
So I say – enough with the "fake" French food and other glorified "fake" foreign crap. Give me the real deal from France or else sell me anything made by Beth...
If we just keep her busy by ordering lots of her cookies hopefully she will never have time to write again.
I’m of that age where I should get to have my Mid-Life Crisis. It’s a rite of passage just like getting a driver’s license or kissing the first person of a gender that interests you (damn I hate this new politically correct terminology!)
The “Mid-Life Crisis” is an expected part of our culture and I just wanted what I am “entitled” to like everyone else.
One woman is more than enough trouble, so I wasn’t going that route. Instead, I was thinking I’d go for the cars and toys route. I’m not a “bright red” Corvette kind of guy either, so I was kind of looking forward to something more subtle - like a dark charcoal-grey Porsche 911 Turbo (I’ve wanted one of those since I was 16).
However, I don’t know if you noticed, but over the last 4 years, we’ve had the shittiest economy since the Great Depression and that really pours some ice water on a Mid-Life Crisis.
What rotten, bullshit timing...
So now, I’m worried about college tuition, mortgages, new taxes and retirement savings. What kind of stupid Mid-Life Crisis is this?
I’m trying to keep my 130k miles 2002 Ford Explorer running when I should be recklessly flying through town at 90mph in a sports car getting tickets.
I should be buying $2000 Canali suits at Nordstrom but instead I got 20% off on new underwear at Kohl’s.
I should be hanging out in bars drinking too much expensive Scotch and “Living It Up” but instead, I’m... hanging out in bars drinking “sort of” expensive Scotch while trying to display a last semblance of dignity.
I really need someone/something to blame for this situation and it has to be: Congress and The Banks.
Between the two of them, they drove this country off the cliff and into the crapper and gypped me - hard.
If a guy was standing in front of me with a sign on his chest that said “Congress” or “The Banks” – I’d kick him in the balls.
That’s how mad I am.
Ok, enough bitching - back to work for me!
I guess I need to figure out how to fix the economy myself so I can pay for my crisis and not worry about it. I’ll probably be the only guy having a Mid-Life Crisis at 90 – but that’s life.
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