In Charleston when I was a girl, we used to sing, “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the mor-r-r-r-ning?” Back then it was simply finer having frozen vegetables, from my mother’s cooking point of view. Sliced bread came in with World War II (I’m guessing, I don’t remember the world without it). Canned goods, ditto, ditto. These days, it’s PLASTIC packaging. UGH! Though I have to admit, plastic wrap on bread products keeps them fresher and moister than does paper.
Still, there are limits. “I have here in my hand…” It’s another voice from the past. Who am I channeling–Tricky Dicky or Chairman McCarthy (that would be Joe the Schmo, not from Ohio but our sister state of WisconSIN-i-o).
Actually what I’ve been holding in putative hand for the last few days is a light plastic box, sans lid, which has mysteriously appeared in Kangaroo brand (from Wisconsin) pocket bread, or as we call in our house: pita. Pita conjures up palm trees and dates, and now I’m skimming lightly over the Mediterranean sea, looking down on ancient camel-cultures, where having one’s sandwiches nicely cosseted in a self-made pocket protects them from blowing desert sand.
Now I’m putatively jumping up and down with indignation: What’s with the EXTRA PLASTIC? you Kangaroo bongers? All of a sudden, the nicely compact packages of Kangaroo pita have ballooned out into something crunchy and hard to store in my crowded fridge. Not to mention, to SHOUT from the rooftops: THIS IS PLASTIC YOU CAN’T RECYCLE.
I phone the cheese-heads in Wisconsin, Area Code 800-798-0857 and am routed to a pleasant-speaking operator who then channels me to Marketing Director, warning me he’s out of the office. BUT NOT BEFORE SHE EXPLAINS something along these lines: “Well, he/we thought the plastic box would protect the pita bread from breakage.” Hmmm, I mutter to myself. I never was bothered by such a problem. Pita is a rather flexible critter. Now it no longer fits in my camel’s saddle bag.
I leave an irate message, ending with “You’ve lost a customer. I’m switching to Holy Land brand!” It’s true. Back I go from Kangaroo land to Holy Land, where the makers (just over the river in Minneapolis) still have the sense to keep the plastic to a minimum and trust to ancient ways.
Wanna know my rather crazed extrapolation? In a constant scramble to separate oneself from the competitors, Kangaroo has been duped into thinking that adding a plastic box (WHICH BY THE WAY IS HARD to return to the flexible plastic sleeve) to their packaging will make customers WANT more and more. This is what marketing directors are hired to conjure.
I sigh, and make one more leap, as the drifting sands from the desert clear for a moment: now we are blaming Iran’s nuclear designs on President Obama. I know, it sounds as far-fetched as my desert and its oasis. Yet I kid you not: yesterday in the Star Tribune, an article mentioned that Obama’s popularity has dropped ten or fifteen points because of rising gas prices.
We American consumers see no further than the sand clogging our eyes: What about the huge gas-guzzling SUVs I see raming their way down residential streets no wider than a needle? Or to try a slightly more global perspective: do we want war with Iran rather than economic sanctions? Let’s try packaging that one: I bet it will have free-standing plastic a mile high that obscures everything but our own wavy reflections.