Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Candy Coated Clown

I’m not much of a candy eater. It’s not like I’m anti-sweets; on the contrary, I rather enjoy a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or a Zagnut every once in a while. I just don’t tend to buy them all that much. Every so often the Live Acorn will give me some sort of sourball or jawbreaker that tastes pretty good. Well, I was in the grocery store a week or so ago, strolling leisurely through the aisles (in no real hurry to get back to work, because, hey, what the taxpayers don’t know won’t hurt them, right? Right?), and I stumbled upon the candy section. More specifically, the theatre-sized-candy subsection of the candy section. Having been to a theatre within the last 10 years, I knew that these boxes ran somewhere between $6 and $8, and while it’s one thing to waste taxpayer money, it’s quite another to waste my own.

Imagine my shock, then, when I saw the 10/$10.00 sign in front of the Everlasting Gobstoppers! I did the math, then did it again, just to make certain. A dollar a box? “This is most assuredly a labeling error!*” I thought to myself. Being familiar with the policies of the store, I ran to the front to pay for them before they had a chance to fix it. Out of breath and sweating profusely, I gave the cashier a couple of bucks, waited for my change, then laughed loudly and explained how I had just taken advantage of their mistake, and that no matter what she said, I didn’t have to pay any more than the price on the tag. She hid her shame well, to her credit, only taking the slightest glance at the manager, who, for some reason, had approached rather quickly.

On the way back to work, I became puzzled at why they would sell such a large box of something that was everlasting in the first place. Perhaps the joke was on me after all. What would I do with them all? I supposed that I could give the extras away – yes! YES! A truly everlasting gift that DOESN’T have the word “simplex” in its name!

My elation soon turned to disappointment, however, when the first one I tried was gone in a couple of minutes. Being a reasonable consumer, I was willing to believe that it was a factory defect, though I was saddened by the fact that there would be one less recipient of such a marvelous gift. I made a mental note to send a brief letter of complaint to Société des Produits Nestlé S.A in Vevey, Switzerland, and popped another in my mouth. Well, believe you me, sister, my disappointment quickly turned to anger when it lasted no longer than the first. This would not stand!

I got back to the office, and figured that rather than just sending the drunken rant I had written on a bar napkin (I had stopped off at Eileen’s Dew Drop Inn to calm down a bit), I’d do a couple of experiments** to bolster my arguments, knowing that the stronger the case I made, the more they’d be willing to pay to keep me silent.

I sent this off yesterday:

To whom it may concern:

I recently purchased a product of yours (misleadingly) called “Everlasting Gobstoppers.” I am not fully versed in Swiss law, but in the United States, we have very strict truth-in-advertising statutes, by which you are bound (by selling your product in this country, you accept all regulatory rules applicable to said product), and which, as I will demonstrate below, you have most egregiously broken.

Graph 1 shows the longevity of a series of 15 “everlasting” Gobstoppers. The measured lifespans had a range of 3.2 minutes (low=1.8, high=5) and a mean of 3.23 minutes. Though certainly longer lasting than, say, a Smartee, your candy can in no way be described as "everlasting." It’s been my experience that it’s very difficult to convince someone that something that lasted 3.2 minutes lasted ANY longer than that, much less that it was everlasting. This is clearly fraudulent.

Graph 1: Everlasting, my lily-white ass.

Having eviscerated your claims concerning longevity, it occurred to me that other aspects of your naming scam may be less than truthful as well.

Graph 2 shows the number of Gob attacks both during consumption of a Gobstopper and during temporally equivalent periods of non-Gobstopper consumption. A t-test revealed no statistically significant difference between the two conditions (one-tailed test, p = .39), meaning that your candy cannot even legitimately claim to deter Gobs, much less stop them.

Graph 2: You can't stop the Gobs, you can only hope to contain them.

As I would rather not be involved in a drawn-out high-profile battle in international courts, I will agree to drop this matter if you agree to compensatory damages of $1.06 (USD) and punitive damages of $1.5 million (USD), preferably in small bills and/or krugeraands.

I await your reply,

The Dead Acorn

It’s only been a day, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated when they reply.

*I realize that “No fucking WAY!” would be much more efficient in terms of time spent engaged in internal conversations. I learned early on, however, that heavy utilization of multisyllablism provided a means of fulfilling temporal requirements of speech-giving with much less work spent on actually researching a topic. This practice was apparently internalized into my actual thought processes (such as they are), so if I seem to be a bit slow in conversation, that’s the cause. That, plus the lead paint in the house in which I grew up.

** See here for more sciencey fun!


Minn Meg said...

Wow! You've really outdone yourself this time, Acorn.

sarah said...

Still laughing...can't stop the laughing..