IT’S FUNNY how things work out sometimes. I was leaving the gym the other day and I came across this in the parking lot.
And as it turns out, I’d been thinking about changing my wireless service provider, and I’d also been looking for a new business opportunity to invest in.
Now if this guy sells Bomb Pops, too, I’ll be killing three birds with one stone.
AS MOST patriotic Americans know, today the Olympics begin, and I for one couldn’t be more excited!
My God, just think about all that hot, sweaty flesh…!
But enough about me in only a pair of dingy, threadbare briefs, stuck to my leather recliner, eating one microwave chimichanga after another while watching TV during one of our nation’s hottest summers on record!
What you’re here for is one of my most popular features – The Overpriced Goodwill Item of the Week!
This week’s item (heh – “week” – as though I post one of these with the regularity that this feature’s title implies!) will set you back $3.99 – as you can see here in this closeup of the price tag:
“Why, $3.99 isn’t a terrible price for anything – especially an imported curio from mysterious and exotic Korea,” you say, having noticed the gold sticker on the bottom of this item – whatever it is!
Oh no? You’ll pay $3.99 for this, will you?!
“Again,” you insist, “$3.99 seems perfectly reasonable for a ceramic figurine of belovedly forgotten Sam the Olympic Eagle – the visually uninteresting Disneyfied mascot of the 1984 Summer Olympics held in the filthy toilet that is Los Angeles.”
Oh, I’d tend to agree with you, probably, until the figure was turned around, that is – and we all saw this!
Gasp! His right arm-wing has been snapped off! Broken! Gone! Shattered and destroyed like the Olympic dreams of a Greek athlete found guilty of tweeting pictures of herself marrying gay West Nile Virus-carrying illegal immigrant mosquitos to each other at Chick-Fil-A, if my grasp of this week’s headlines is accurate.
A missing appendage – the glaring imperfection that will render an already practically worthless collectible ceramic figure even more practically worthless in the practically worthless collectible ceramic figure collector’s market! The judges aren’t going to like that!
But you want to pay four bucks for this thing, there, Mr. (or Ms.) Moneybags, be my guest. Be my guest!
“Oh, for God’s sake you jackass, give Goodwill a break!” you argue. “Clearly the dirty, poorly-behaved, unsupervised child of some annoying and pushy customer broke this after it was priced.”
No! No! You do not insult the dirty, poorly-behaved, unsupervised children of annoying and pushy customers from my local Goodwills. Not on my watch, pal! You do not do that!
No, as a matter of fact, I happened to be there when this little beauty was brought out of the back on a cart laden with all kinds of overpriced secondhand crap and put on a shelf on the sales floor (industry term). Troublemaker that I am, I even made a point to tell the woman who was putting out the merchandise “This thing’s broken” and show it to her.
Her response? A shrug and then, as she walked away, “Someone will want it.”
Give that Goodwill employee a gold medal!
IF THERE’S SOMETHING that we all can agree on in these troubled economic times, it’s that everyone enjoys delightfully anachronistic package design – and rightfully so.
And by “delightfully anachronistic package design,” I mean packages – usually of food, and often bought at a local dollar store – that have the look of something that was designed decades ago and never updated. I find this phenomenon absolutely delightful and now…? Now, friend, so do you. Like watermelon-flavored Visine, it’s a treat for the eyes. Oh ho ho, watermelon-flavored Visine! Where do I come up with this stuff?
So, uh, here’s a bunch of things I found that look old.
3-C Jellied Cranberry Sauce That Looks Like It’s From, Oh, Let’s Say the Mid-1960s
I found these in a wonderfully ratty dollar store in Carson, California months ago. But I’ve been saving the photo for a special occasion. Tonight’s the night, baby! Tonight’s the night!
I didn’t buy them, I just took a picture (because it’ll last longer). What does the name “3-C” signify? Look, I just told you I didn’t buy it, so I have no goddamn idea! Let’s say it stands for priCe, Cwality, and, eh, Cranberries. I’m sure it’s a fine product.
Jiffy White Cake Mix Looks Like It’s From the 1930s
Yes, I’ve covered Jiffy mixes in depth previously. All of their packages have a distinct anachronistic look to them. But this is the first time I saw the white cake mix before. White cake mix? That’s racist! And delicious!
Libby’s Chunk and Sliced Pineapple Looks Like They’re From the Mid 1960s
Now here’s a tough one. I found these at my local Dollar Tree and the package design is very new – I forget what Libby’s canned fruits used to look like, but one thing’s for sure, brother, they didn’t look like this! These have a very 60s kind of style to them, but by Godfrey, if I find out this is an intentional attempt at a “retro” look, then they’ll be immediately disqualified and not allowed to compete. I’d like to think, and now you do, that this is just a label redesign that somehow looks old to me (and now you). Dare I include it here? As it turns out, I already have.
Lady Linda Pound Cake Looks Like It’s From the 1970s
Ha! A so-called pound cake – that weighs ten ounces! (Settle down, settle down – I’ve already got my attorney on top of this.) Anyway, the lovely Lady Linda logo looks like something from about forty years ago, doesn’t it? …Kind of? Look, they can’t all have the striking visual anachronicity (a word I’ve apparently just coined and will soon trademark) of Jiffy cake mixes.
Lava Heavy-Duty Hand Cleaner Looks Like It’s From the Late 1960s
Aside from the addition of the WD-40 logo to the bottom and a few minor changes to the text (the omission of the exclamation point after “PUMICE-POWERED,” changing “THE HAND SOAP” to the current “HEAVY-DUTY HAND CLEANER with moisturizers,” among them) Lava’s wrapper is practically unchanged since 1960s, which is particularly amazing and wonderful. It’s such a great design it’d be a shame to change it. Lava soap has always been a small, specialty brand, and I bet if it had been owned by some huge Big Soap corporation, we’d be looking at swirly design things all over the package. Either that or photo-realistic globs of glowing, shimmering lava with highlights galore.
Say, look – it still pretty much matches its corresponding 70s Wacky Package:
By the way, like you, I love Wacky Packages, used to collect Wacky Packages, and permanently stuck Wacky Packages to the closet door in my bedroom. And I still say, this is the worst parody name in the entire Wacky Packiverse. “Lova”…? What the hell…?! Clearly Art Spiegelmaus and Bob Shtewart just wanted to knock off early the day they came up with this one. “Lava Soap…Hmm…Tough one…Bava, Cava, Dava, Fava, Gava…” “Lova Soap! These are eight year olds we’re writing for. Good enough! Now let’s hit Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch!”
Showboat Pork & Beans in Tomato Sauce Looks Like It’s From 1923
Here’s a secret the Bush’s Beans people – even the talking dog – don’t want you to know: They’re the company behind these value-priced Showboat Pork & Beans. Okay, maybe they don’t care if you know, since their name and website are listed on the back of the label. You’re probably asking aloud “Why does this jackass Ted think the can looks like it’s from 1923?” I’ll tell you why if you just shut up a minute: the typeface used for the words “Pork & Beans” is in fact the same used throughout a 1923 Sear & Roebuck catalog I found in Nana Parsnips catalog heap (in what used to be the shower). Add to that the “Showboat” name and logo, and, well sir, you’ve got a canna beans that looks like it’s 89 years old!
Breakstone’s TempTee Whipped Cream Cheese Looks Like It’s From 1982
We don’t normally have Breakstone products out here in the filthy toilet that is Los Angeles, but oddly, they do turn up occasionally in – where else? – the 99¢ Only Store. And when they have TempTee whipped cream cheese, brother, I snatch it up by the palletful! So you can consider this entry a mini-What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store post too – this stuff is just that good. Anyway, the pseudo-handwritten product name, the bright pink color and the little yellow stripes all scream the early 1980s. But be warned – the name and color seem to imply that this is some sort of light version of cream cheese – this, my calorie-counting pal, is not the case. It’s just whipped, but has the same amount of fat as regular cream cheese. This is why I limit myself to just one tub for dessert, during “Wheel.”
Noh of Hawaii Vinha Dalhos Portuguese Fish Mix Looks Like It’s From the Late 1950s
Just as you would, when I saw this at Big Lots for just 80¢, I had to try it. And not because I was at all curious about the taste, either – it’s that amazing three-color design that we found so nifty – to use the very vernacular of the era that I think it kind of looks like it’s from. Anyway, I had Ildefonsa fry me up some fish with it and it came out, well, okay.
The thing is, your best, tastiest fish today are your overfished fish – your European seabass, your snapper, and my favorite, your orange roughy. A good rule of thumb is the more endangered the species and the higher the price, the tastier the fish. So I got Ilde up at five one morning last week, gave her twenty bucks to pick me up a couple of good, thick, New York-cut orange roughy filets from the Santa Monica Fish Market and even gave her an extra buck to help with fares on the six buses she’d need to take to get there.
Maybe it was the deliciously overpowering taste of the fish sauce and the fact that Ildefonsa oddly decided to cut them into eight uniformly rectangular slices before serving them to me, but they just didn’t taste like orange roughy. But she insisted, in her angry broken Germ-glish, that it was orange roughy. As much as I personally dislike the woman and constantly threaten her with deportation (more to scare little Kayla when she doesn’t behave), “Fat Frau Blucher” as I call her (she doesn’t get it!) has a good heart. She tells me it was Mr. Whisker’s birthday and that was why I found this box in the garbage…
…along with all the breading she patiently scraped off. (Damn cat’s apparently allergic to gluten now.)
Well, we all had some fun, but the booze is wearing off so I think we’re done here for now. Also, it’s just now occurred to me that we usually celebrates the pets’ birthdays along with the kids’, all on one day, December 25, every other year. Huh.
The man is clearly overworking himself!
Like here, for instance: He evidently didn’t even have time to change back into his street clothes after leaving choir practice at church before being forced to rush over to some studio or other to tape this promo for his show “Spoilers” on Hulu! The man is a national treasure and he’s terribly over-scheduled!
And here comes the hate mail.
WITH the Halloween season already upon us, can “Back to School” shopping be far behind?
Of course, Back to School season has already started, this second to last week of July, at your neighborhood Walmart. Actually, it probably started a few weeks ago, probably before even school was out, but despite what you think of me, I don’t go in Walmart but every few months, so how the hell would I know for sure?
Also, don’t you judge me! I don’t make a point of giving you the ol’ stink-eye for the places you frequent! ::cough cough clothing-optional yarn store cough::
The thing about Walmart and their big Back to School push (retail term) is that – hate them as we’re morally obligated to – they do have some really cheap deals on a lot of stuff.
Take for instance these notebooks!
What would you pay for one? No, come on – what would you pay? One subject, 70 sheets. Go ahead – tell me.
Well, you’re a fool then! You’re a fool for paying as much as you just said, because at Walmart, they sell these babies for just seventeen cents American!
No, in this case I’m not a filthy liar! Look! Look!
But the thing is, even if you’re a stupid kid still in school (ha ha, loser!), what the hell are you going to use these for? Doesn’t matter – for seventeen cents each, you’re going to be buying – or making Mommy buy – like eight. But the pages aren’t perforated so what good are they? You hand in some assignment on pages torn out of one of these notebooks with those spiral-bound-torn frilly edges, you’re going to piss off Mrs. Butler. (Hi Mrs. Butler! Remember me? I have a blog now!)
Above: An example of A+ level writing marred by D+ quality spiral-bound notebook paper. Don’t make the mistake I did – I nearly had to repeat 10th grade because of this!
Trust me, pal, you’re better off just handing in nothing and taking a zero for the assigment. (Beg and plead at the end of the semester – Mrs. Butler’s a total pushover.)
Also, do kids even hand in assignments on paper any more? It’s not that I think everything is handed in via email, it’s just that I have such a low opinion of anyone significantly younger than me that I presume even if kids today (Kids today…!) are assigned anything on paper, they just don’t bother to do it. Come on, we’ve all seen “Blackboard Jungle!” It featured a young Jamie Farr!
But whether you’re a stupid kid or someone older who’s no longer legally allowed to attend or go within 500 feet of high school like myself, you see these for 17¢ and you buy a few and then you stick them in your desk drawer at home and when next Back to School season comes around, you buy more and add them to the wad, not realizing you already had a bunch.
Now these things:
How much would you pay? Wrong sir! Wrong!
As it turns out, you’d only pay fifty cents! Fifty cents American is all!
But again, I ask: Composition books? Has anyone since about, what, 1920 actually used these for their named purpose? The pages are in there permanently. They’re not perforated, brother! They’re not even individually spirally bound. They’re double-leaf pages so if you somehow manage, like an idiot, to tear out page 1-2 cleanly, page 199-200 is now loose, too. Great.
As we further dumb down primary and secondary education – especially here in Los Angeles! – is there really a need for composition books? Correct me if I’m wrong, but they’re for compositions! Who’s composing anything in grade school, junior high (oh, excuse me, “middle school” – ooh la la!) or high school that’s going to be hand-written across 200 pages?!
So why are they still selling these things in the 21st century? Why don’t they sell colonial-era hornbooks in bulk while they’re at it, too?
And ink wells and Buster Brown hats and book straps!Why doesn’t Walmart sell those things too? Especially book straps – that’d piss off about a thousand annoying sellers over there on Etsy, heh heh!
Yet you and I, we go to Walmart during their Back to School event (industry term), and we poke around and find stuff we think we can use because it’s so cheap! Two glue sticks for a quarter?! We’ll take eighty!
And then what happens? After a month and a half, we’ve only used one and the other seventy-nine are dried up and completely inedible.
“Awright you two, the boys in Research & Development have given us a great new sweetened multi-grained cereal – now it’s up to us to design the packaging!”
“Okay, boss – what’s the flavor?”
“Good question, Jones – it’s ‘honey oat.'”
“Well, I think we should really focus on the flavor and—-”
“—-Flavor, schmavor! Jones, you and your half-baked ideas of package design! What I want to know, boss, is what’s the cereal shaped like?”
“Let’s see, Wilson – they’re, eh, little rings.”
“That’s it! Perfunctory nod to the flavor (keep Jones happy) – but clearly we need to highlight the shape.”
“Sounds good to me! We’re done here! Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch, everyone?”
See, the word for the shape is bigger than the words describing the flavor, which is what most people would be concerned with.
NO NO NO! Not that alien invasion! That one began a long time ago and – from what I’m seeing around Southern California – is nearly complete! You presumed I meant the invasion of our streams and rivers by the New Zealand Mud Snail, right?
No, I’m talking about the other, sinister alien invasion! Like from outer space is what I mean!
You know – the one where they come down to our planet, and secretly infiltrate our civilization while they begin to learn our customs, our ways…and our weaknesses.
Perhaps using some sort of money-ray…
…Perhaps using some sort of money-ray – just like that [see above] – they manage to bankroll enough dough-re-mi to establish a manufacturing concern so that they might interact with us on various levels of society, from the lowliest, filthiest, never-graduated-from-art-school janitor on to the greediest, laziest union assembly-line workers all the way up to the loftiest, highest-minded and wealthiest investors with MBAs from only the finest business schools – to find out how to defeat us.
Now these aliens, they don’t want to call too much attention to their new company, see, so they need a sort of seemingly benign, innocuous, non-descript product.
How about…why, how about a plastic garbage pail! Sure, a waste basket! Perfect!
Now for a name! And this is where they made their fatal mistake. For you see, these invaders have such contempt for you and me – the dominant species on planet Earth – that they couldn’t resist naming their company something condescending and insulting – so confident were they of the imminent destruction of mankind.
I can almost hear the CEO himself, Zoroxx, probably, laughing during a board meeting as he named the company! “Ah ha ha! The stupid people of earth have no idea! I will crush them all and also crumple them up like discarded pieces of paper and toss them asunder, like so many crumpled pieces of paper. Ha ha ha! Simple humans! Ah ha ha ha – hey, wait, that’s great! Let’s use that! Also, Maryanne, sweetheart, get me a latte.”
Thus the company was named!
And it would have happened, too, if it weren’t for a plucky little fella name of Ted – me! – who happened to see this in the grocery store last night and uncover their devious plot.
(For the record, all I did was uncover their devious plot. Someone else still has to actually stop them.)
And, geez, I only had to go to like eight freakin’ Pep Boys before I found it in stock!
I tell you, these fix-it tickets are a pain in the ass!
SO I WAS AT my local Big Lots the other day, searching for recently expired “limited edition” holiday-themed breakfast cereal.
I wasn’t disappointed!
By the way, like you, I detest this current version of Cap’n Crunch. And I say this with a certain amount of trepidation, because there’s some graphic artist out there who drew this – and by the way can draw way better than I ever could – and he (or she!) is just doing his (or her!) job and probably is merely giving the Quaker people what they want.
Not literally the Quaker people – that is, not the religious sect – but “the Quaker people” meaning the people at Quaker Oats, itself a division of PepsiCo since 2001. But who’s to say the people at Quaker Oats / PepsiCo aren’t themselves of the Quaker faith? Who’s to say?
Also, did I ever tell you how I used to be a delivery boy for PepsiCo? It’s true! Well, not technically PepsiCo, but for a company that exclusively did graphics work for PepsiCo’s in-house art department. Oh, it was years ago.
There! Purchase, New York! I was a strapping young man, the summer after graduating high school and—-
Oh forget it.
Anyway, my point was that I hate how Cap’n Crunch looks now, and now, so do you.
His head and nose is the same size and shape of the hideous 70s-80s-90s version of Fred Flintstone. Why can’t they go back to the more stylized, original, 60s, Jay Ward Studio design? Of Cap’n Crunch, not Fred Flintstone! Nobody likes a smartass.
It’s not like there’s nobody around who could draw the Cap’n like that. I mean, Flickr is full of you people who delight in drawing vintage characters the way they’re supposed to be drawn and also better than me. So hop to it! Get those cocktail napkins and Prismacolors out! Get to work! Chop-chop!
And you guys at PepsiCo-slash-Quaker Oats! You keep doing your silly Pepsi “Throwback” vintage cans and your retro cereal boxes – well, for God’s sake, get your heads out of your asses and okay a non-limited edition redesign for the Cap’n Crunch box!
I can’t believe I have to be the one – yet again! – to state the obvious! My God, you PepsiCo people and you Flickr folks – you’re perfect for each other! Everyone sees it but you two! Everyone! The way you’re always teasing each other whenever we all go out. And you always manage to sit next to each other when we go to the movies. Jeez, it’s so obvious you’re into one another! What the hell is it going to take to get you two together?
Wait, wait. There was something else I was working towards here…
Oh, yes – went to Big Lots, found the expired cereal that’s been sitting there since last year, continued poking around, saw these things:
So just how lazy is your cat that you’re buying these?! Cats are the one self-cleaning pet that there is!
“Between Bath” wipes?! Who bathes a cat? If I was stupid enough to try to get Mr. Whiskers anywhere near the tub, it’d be off to the emergency room for stitches and tetanus shots for me, brother!
Hell, I can’t imagine even trying to wipe him down with what amounts to be a Wet-Nap without putting on my chain mail shirt, motocross helmet and black rubber welding gloves. (And with my luck, then Debbie walks in and wonders why I’m wearing the outfit when it’s not even Saturday night and the kids aren’t at her mother’s.)
And “great for pets on the go”…?! On the go where? Who brings a cat anywhere? Cats aren’t “on the go.” They’re the “stay-behind” pet! They’re the Official Stay-Behind Pet of the 2012 Summer Olympics! They’re everywhere they want to be, which is at home! “Pets on the go…!” Sheesh.
So, by abruptly switching gears and completely changing the subject halfway through, making obscure cartoon references that only a handful of people will get, constructing elaborate and abstract analogies that make sense to even fewer readers, and going on for way too long, that’s how I single-handedly blew out the transmission of a blog-post heading down the internet at 80 miles an hour at three in the morning and managed to lose most of my, what, six regular readers.
“Oh Commander, that’s amazing!”
I told you! I knew it! I just knew it!
Remember how I wrote about Wendy’s precious new “baked sweet potato” some time ago? Remember?
Well, if you don’t remember, here’s my review for you to re-read and refresh your memory!
Anyway, remember, specifically, how I wrote – and I quote – how I wrote,
Remember how I wrote that? Yeah, well, today I went to Wendy’s and this was the only potato available!
What kind of potato is that? I’ll tell you what kind of potato is that! It’s a regular potato is what it is! There are no “sweet” potatoes at Wendy’s anymore! The so-called “sweet” potatoes are gone, pal! The whole place has been scrubbed of any reference, allusion, mention – any trace of them! Gone!
It’s like the whole thing never existed! But we know different, don’t we?
Also, their precious macaroni and cheese “Signature Side” has also been discontinued (industry term), probably at the same time, but I’d like to think that they gave the ol’ sweet potato the axe first, if only by a matter of seconds. Even if it was just mentioned first in the sentence when Wendy’s Vice-President in Charge of Discontinued Menu Items announced “Effective immediately, we’re discontinuing the baked sweet potato and the macaroni and cheese. That is all. Over.” Into an intercom on his desk, I’d like to think.
Into an intercom on his desk and it’s simultaneously broadcast through a sort of school p.a. system in every Wendy’s all at once. Man, can you imagine wielding that kind of power? To just push a button on your desk and speak into a little box and discontinue a menu item?! How cool is that!
The third of Wendy’s precious “Signature Sides” – the chili cheese fries? Still there. Exactly like I kind of predicted! Exactly!
Frankly, chili cheese fries at Wendy’s is a no-brainer and I’m surprised they didn’t come up with that years ago, on account of they sell fries and they sell chili there anyway. Considering all the times people eating from open jars of peanut butter used to bump into other people eating large chocolate bars, doesn’t it stand to reason that at some point over the last forty some-odd years in at least one of Wendy’s 6,600+ locations, someone carrying fries would accidentally slam into someone carrying chili?
But I guess it doesn’t matter how it happened, just that it did happen.