The Wacky Package for this one pretty much writes itself. “Nature’s Way” into “Against Nature,” the fruits and vegetables are now various organs, and so on. Topps, when might I expect my check?
HERE’S a cute little butter dish we’ve got for you!
Can we, eh, get a closeup of the price on the lid, please?
Wonderful! Now just to be thorough, let’s take the lid off, and see that there’s a matching price tag on the bottom of this butter dish “set,” hm…?
Excellent! Complete butter dish set comprised of tasteful butterdome and sturdy butterplate. Everything’s included! Nothing else to buy! ‘Cept the butter, ha ha!
At Goodwill we don’t rook you by making you purchase the two elements separately. No sir, one easy payment of $12.99 gets you both!
Hey! Hey, what are you doing?! It’s in fine shape, there’s absolutely no reason to inspect it any further by turning the plate over…!
Okay, whatever. Looks good, right, okay? Let’s ring you up then— Don’t you dare go in for a closeup! No! Don’t you dare!
Um…I don’t know why you’re complaining! $12.99 is a steal for an antique! Sure! Look at the upper right corner of the original price tag – it’s from 1886!
OVER THE LAST YEAR, I’ve noticed something clogging the candy and cookie aisle at my local 99¢ Only Store, and I don’t mean fat, swarthy men in sweatpants and stained white t-shirts, loudly talking on cell phones, and stinking of cigarettes and cheap cologne. (I don’t get to the 99¢ Only Store in Glendale often enough for this to be a problem. Ha! You get it, right?)
Nuh-no, I’m talking about these things:
I don’t understand it!
What’s with all the marshmallows? What is the deal with the marshmallows? Who are these marshmallows?!
As you know, marshmallows are good for precisely two things:
1. Regular-sized marshmallow are excellent for toasting on a campfire (and/or making s’mores, a Slovak delicacy).
2. Mini-marshmallows are wonderful for making Nana Parsnips’ famous ambrosia salad with cat hair.
That’s it! Okay, and like you, about every eight years, I’ll buy some Fluff and make me a Fluffernutter sandwich, enjoy it immensely, forget about the rest of the jar, and throw it away eight months later once it’s liquefied, but that’s marshmallow in a jar, not marshmallows in a bag. And I guess mini-marshmallows are nice in hot cocoa, too. And the dried, desiccated ones are just the thing in cereal, like Lucky Charms, but they already come in Lucky Charms. And I suppose the case could be made that marshmallows are good for making yams at Thanksgiving, but as I never eat yams, I wouldn’t know – though here I’ll allow it.
Okay, so that’s it, precisely those two things.
So why is there now about eight shelval feet dedicated to them in my local 99¢ Only Store? Not only that, but they’re getting these things by the palletful, sure, and so there’s always boxes of them stacked up in the aisles too, in addition to those on the shelves.
Who in hell is eating so many of these things?
Now, you know me – I’ll eat practically anything. And yet it would never occur to me to buy marshmallows so I could just sit there on my fat ass and cram them into my mouth right out of the bag. Frankly, the thought disgusts me – almost as much as it disgusts you. (I’m in those dingy threadbare underpants of mine in the above scenario. See, I told you you’d be disgusted.) And yet, many of these packages of marshmallows are telling consumers to do just that! To just sit their on their fat asses and cram them into their mouths right out of the bag – as a snack! …Yes, yes, in their underpants!
And the 99¢ Only store isn’t just selling your standard regular size and mini-marshmallows, oh no! They come in different flavors now!
Those “Jet-Puffed Strawberry Mallows”…? Great for snacking, apparently, and brother, they’re just the tip of the marshburg:
There’s chocolate & vanilla-flavored marshmallows!
Caramel & vanilla-flavored marshmallows!
Toasted coconut-flavored marshmallows! [Please note: These are great for munchin’ as opposed to snacking.]
Piña Colada-flavored marshmallows!
German chocolate cake-flavored marshmallows!
Carbon monoxide-flavored marsh– You know, my attorney has advised me to correct that before I even finish typing it and instead note that these are vanilla-flavored, car-shaped, Daytona 500-themed marshmallows! And they’re probably quite delicious!
And it’s not just Kraft, it’s also these…
Plain ol’ generic-flavored marshmallows!
More mini-Mexican marshmallows!
So many Mexican marshmallows I’ve run out of m-words!
And these things! Not in standard marshmallow form, but sold blatantly as a candy. [Note the execrable 1994 Flintstones movie typeface used for the name.]
More Mexican Marshmallows, Part Dos!
Marshmallow skewers?! Whaaaaaah…? And no, these aren’t leftovers from Easter, believe it or not. They’re available alla time! Alla time, I tells ya!
And now Mallow Bits! Those in the cereal blog game technically refer to these as “marbits.” My question: These things are “Jet Puffed” like all the other marshmallows from Kraft…
…so how come they’re crunchy and not soft? Or can things be jet-puffed yet not be soft? I mean, I don’t know. I’m confused by this whole marshmallow thing. I’m looking for answers here.
So while you ponder that, please also be aware that they come in peppermint flavor, too.
Anyway, any ideas, gang? Why the influx of marshmallows to our precious 99¢ Only stores? I’d have thought it was maybe a summer thing, but this started last year, it hasn’t let up, and it keeps getting bigger.
Perhaps it’s just one of the growing number of products that manufacturers can produce cheaply and unload at the dollar stores to make up for lost revenue in this tough economy since it’s not just dirty poor people but good people, people like you and me, who are shopping there now too. See, your standard bag of marshmallows, regular or mini-sized, unflavored, cost about twice this at a regular supermarket.
Or is it that poor people just eat a lot of marshmallows? It’s okay if they do; it’s not like I’m judging them.
Perhaps the answer lies down the street, at another of my favorite discount retailers…
…and I use the term “discount” here very loosely.
…Because can you see the price on the upper right corner of the package? Thirteen bucks! And it doesn’t even come with any marshmallow ammo! You have to go back to the dollar store to buy that! So my guess is the Big Lots people have an arrangement with the 99¢ Only store folks who hammered out a deal with Big Marshmallow. Everyone wins – including you, if you like getting popped in the eye with a miniature German Chocolate Cake and then going to the emergency room to have an overtired intern poke around your cornea in attempt to remove toasted coconut.
Coincidentally, this toy brings back a lot of memories. No, I never owned such a gun, but I did appear in a few special interest films under the stage name “Marshmallow Stryker” in the mid-1990s. I quit after I had to go to the emergency room with an altogether different, though no less embarrassing, injury.
Oh, don’t you judge me like a dirty poor person! I had rent to pay and this was before I was raking in money hand over fist from this blog!
EVERY time I go away on business, I like to pick up a little present for one of the kids back home. I find that if I tell them that I’m only buying a present for my favorite, then they all behave a little bit better and I save some money. I’m telling you, I really need to write that parenting book.
Anyway, Tuesday found me traveling all the way out to Reseda – I had to pick up milk – and you know me and dollar stores. Imagine my delight when I happened across this place:
Even before entering the store, I’m in love with the place already based on the sign. It starts with the bold headline “DOLLARAMA” which implies – but does not guarantee – that everything is a dollar. Then the subheading (industry term) goes on to tell us that yes, this is in fact a store where all merchandise is “$1 ONLY.” Perfect!
But hold on a moment! Just as our brains have processed this, it hits us with the rest of it, which is “PLUS DISCOUNT STORE” – and by the time we’ve unraveled that one, we’re already inside. That’s when suddenly we go, “Wait…what?!” Too late! They’ve got us!
I’d like to think, and now you would, too, that whatever think tank or public relations company or consulting firm that they hired to write the above sign was the same one behind this one (seen in a previous post):
Regardless, once inside Dollarama I went to their toy aisle and arbitrarily decided that this time, Ruby was my favorite, and so she’d be getting the present. But what to get?
She does like her unlicensed Disney knockoff stuff (we’ve carefully avoided buying any licensed Disney merchandise, as it is significantly more expensive), so I thought maybe this would be a good choice:
But when Ruby plays with her toys, she plays the hell out of ’em and for a long time, all the while having fun doing it. Could this play set take it? As it turns out, according to the package itself, it could:
…At least I think that’s what it means. So into the “maybe pile” for the Beauty Castle!
But perhaps she’d rather have this 21-block Tea Set Deluxe!
I didn’t want to get anything ugly for little Ruby. Nor something made from inferior plastics. I wanted the best welcome gift for the children – eh, child. After all, who wouldn’t?
Well, according to the package, this thing fits the bill!
Still, maybe this might be more to the Rube’s liking:
On the plus side (from the package):
• Excellent new design
• NEW pretty beauty set
• All the vogue all new edition the best gift for you
and, as you can see:
• It have creativity and durable, education fun.
• Look at these attractive pretties! Your kids can choose their favorite ones and buy them home! (Somehow saving me money!)
On the minus side:
The package says “Beauty Doll.” There’s clearly no doll, beauty or otherwise, in this package; and Ruby, while adorable, is not the sharpest tack on Miss Coulter’s p.m. session kindergarten burlap-covered corkboard. She’ll spend five frustrating hours going through the box looking for a non-existent doll. “Fashion Princess Beauty Doll” was out.
I came across another tea set, too. While I didn’t take a picture of the whole thing, I did snap a picture of part of it as a reminder to myself:
This is good to know for the future. Instead of paying $1 only plus at Dollarama, I can probably get this crap wholesale if I go to their showroom.
So far this has all been princess-themed toys. Fairytale princesses and all that are fine, but some say playtime should be a time of unbridled fantasy, no matter how fanciful and unrealistic. With that in mind, this selection became the front runner:
It was important, too, that this was something that hideous little rat-child next door, Jessie, didn’t already have (She’s actually a nice kid – cute, really – but I’m having a fight with her father.) This put my mind at ease:
Clearly little Jessie (with her enormous fivehead) doesn’t have it yet!
It was at this point when I realized that the money on my meter was about to expire and, hell, I love my kids, but there’s loving your kids and then there’s avoiding an unnecessary parking ticket, right?
So I just grabbed the next thing I saw:
Hey, great! I’m thinking, “Maybe if Ruby starts playing with it, Mommy will mimic her and then once in a while they’ll be some goddamn Hamburger Helper on the table when I get home!” (I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Like you, we’re more of a microwavable Banquet pot pie family.)
So I get home, and everyone gathers ’round the car – and I announce Ruby as my favorite child. Sure, there’s the usual swearing and keying of the driver’s side, but at least one of them is still on my side. That is, until Ruby saw what I got her.
Then she runs away crying, which was more annoying that hurtful. But when she told me that she wanted to go live with Jessie’s family, that was like a knife to the heart.
So I asked Tracy what’s the problem.
“Ted, you jackass! She already has a Kirchen, the Thing of the Kitchen! Don’t you remember? That’s what bit off her pinky last month when she reached way into the back of the fridge for a juice box!”
Well, how’s that for a coincidence? In my defense, I thought we decided to name it “Kerwin.”
LIKE YOU, I’m a big fan of the game Angry Birds. I’ve mastered every level available except for this goddamn one:
Apparently it’s impossible to get three stars on it if you’re playing it on a MacBook, which I am. However, as soon as they release a version for my 2007 Samsung Flip Phone (Pay-As-You-Go is the way that I go!) I have a feeling I’ll finally be unlocking that last Golden Egg!
To satisfy my Angry Birds cravings until that happens, I happily discovered last week that the good folks at Rovio, partnering with the gang at Nabisco, have released the latest version in the franchise, Angry Birds Cheese Nips.
I downloaded it off the shelf of my local supermarket into my shopping cart. And since Rovio is famous for providing free updates, if they ever change the packaging design, we needn’t pay for them – it’s simply a matter of ripping open the box and eating them right there in the store. (Just ditch the evidence before you get to the checkout.) By the way, my attorney… —Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know the drill.
Your four main birds are here, the red one, the yellow one, the blue one and the white one, all rendered in amazing whole wheat enriched flour. The boomerang bird is thankfully missing; perhaps due to concerns that it would automatically return – up your esophagus. (Unfounded, I’m sure.) And of course there’s a pig as well:
Oh, it looks like the birds got to him before my photographer did.
Now what’s particularly wonderful, you’ll agree, about Angry Birds Cheese Nips is that the side panel features a handy Angry Birdwatcher’s guide on the side panel:
Let’s go in for a closeup, shall we?
And while it’s of course delightful – it’s also wholly unnecessary! The ‘Nips may not be exact reproductions as though sculpted by Rodin himself out of a solid block of crackermeal, but they are close enough for us to recognize who is who!
…Not the case, sadly, with this bag of cheap Mexican animal crackers I bought the other day!
Why, if any snack is in need of a helpful diagram on its package so that we might identify the shapes, ho ho, brother, it’s this one!
Either that or they should change the name to “Amorphalitos.” Ha! Good one, right?
A) Woodstock farting.
B) The folks at Iconix Brand Group and Peanuts Worldwide LLC high-fiving each other for this latest merchandising home run designed to keep the Peanuts characters “relevant” twelve years after the last original strip ran and the death of their creator (who somehow managed to draw a comic strip for half a century without resorting to toilet humor).
C) Charles Schulz rolling over in his grave.
LIKE YOU, I love peanut butter – especially in cup form.
Recently I heard about a company that was making peanut butter cups – and other candy – with an eye towards them being a bit more healthy than your traditional candy. They decided to give corn syrup the ol’ heave-ho. GMOs were verboten. (Don’t worry, I don’t know what they are either nor could I be bothered to look it up.) Partially hydrogenated oils were given their walking papers. Artificial flavors, colors or preservatives? Marched out back and shot!
They decided key ingredients needed to be locally sourced, dairy products would have to come from cows raised in pastures, not in airport smoking lounges – and to do it all, they promised to implement e-Verify and hire only Oompa-Loompas that are in the country legally.
The point is, they’re trying to make a difference, dammit!
So after learning all this, I realized something: I really didn’t care.
I really didn’t care because it’s candy, for God’s sake! I’m not thinking “healthy” when I’m treating myself to a piece, or a never-ending series of pieces – one after the other, all afternoon long, while I sit at this God-forsaken desk – of candy! Just like you’re not thinking “healthy” when you eat that potato salad that’s been in the back of the fridge since the Fourth of July. (I’m sure it’s fine.)
And so I think I surprised us both last week when I bought a package of these peanut butter cups at Ralphs – but I didn’t surprise us both too much because they were on sale. I forget for how much, but I do know it wasn’t as cheap as I’d expected. However, it was an impulse buy (industry term) and I further justified the purchase when I remembered that if I blogged about it, I could legally deduct the cost.
So without further adieu (industry term), on with the review!
Unreal77 Peanut Butter Cups
Package Design: Pleasant though it would be delightful if it were somehow more anachronistic.
Texture: No complaints.
Taste: They were good.
Portion: Ah, here they get into some trouble. As you know, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – the gold standard – weigh in at a hefty 1.5 ounces per 2-cup package. These things, however, are a measly, wispy, ready-to-float-away, gee-can-you-spare-it-you-cheapskate-you 1.3 ounces. That’s a difference of 0.2 ounces! Hell, I don’t have to tell you, you got good marks in third grade math!
So at this point, you’re saying to yourself, “Well, that’s all I need to know. Ted has spoken. And as usual, he’s right – ounce for ounce, my candy dollar goes a lot further by buying Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. And by ‘candy dollar,’ I mean the money I’m using to purchase candy, not an actual dollar bill made of candy.”
We all know what you mean! But wait just a minute here. You didn’t let me finish. Because there’s something that sets these Unreal Peanut Butter Cups apart from the competition – so let’s begin the unboxing and you stop me when you see what it is…
Anything yet…? No? Okay. We’ll continue.
What about now? Really…? Still nothing? Okay, let’s go in for a closeup…
Still nothing? You really don’t see it? Take a good careful loo–
HEY! You sneaky son of —
Anyway, clearly, you know what the difference is: These Unreal 77 Peanut Butter Cups are unfettered by those stupid scalloped paper wrappers! Completely unfettered! Where as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are fettered by those wrappers, Unreal 77 Peanut Butter Cups are not – they’re totally unfettered! 100% unfettered, these peanut butter cups are! Unfettered by those paper holder things! Okay, I think we’ve got it now.
But yes! There are no annoying paper wrappers to pry off from the bottom of these things! The Oompa-Loompas, with their stubby yet surprisingly nimble dwarf fingers – they do it all for us at the factory!
We’ve all been there: Attempted to remove the brown paper fettering from a Reese’s and lost a good wad of peanut butter cup in the process – that big dollop that remains attached to the paper. And then what do you do? Well, if you’re like me, and I imagine you are, you do your best to slurp it off the paper. But it’s a sloppy endeavor at best and you invariably get some stuck to your nose and lips and then it always ends up smeared on the chalice or floating in the wine when you go up for Communion a few minutes later. And of course someone down the line is going to complain. (Usually that old bag Erma Lockwood with her supposed “peanut allergy.”)
Obviously, this same exact scenario has played out for the good folks at Unreal Candy and they’ve decided to unfetter all of us from the shackles of those little paper things. And that, folks – that is what sets these peanut butter cups apart.
And when you think about it – that big wad of Reese’s matter that ends up stuck to the paper…? It probably weighs more than 0.2 ounces. So if you’re one of those people who doesn’t suck every bit of stuck peanut butter cup off the paper (and apparently such people do exist), you’ll actually be ahead of the game, net weight-wise, by buying these Unreal 77 Peanut Butter Cups!
Still, despite their very nice taste and the ingenious lack of paper fetterment, I cannot in good conscience give these Unreal 77 Peanut Butter Cups an overwhelmingly positive review.
Such reviews are reserved for products by companies that send me boxes of free stuff. And who knows – one of these days, it might actually happen.
LOOK, we all know where this is going, and frankly, I’m tired of it, you’re tired of it, we’re all tired of it.
So let’s just get it over with, hmm?
It’s August 17th already!
And thanks to a visit to my local Dollar Tree today (though, interestingly, not the same Dollar Tree of “It’s August 15th Already!” fame), I can see that it’s high time, blah blah blah, start getting ready, yadda yadda yadda, magical season of giving, et cetera, et cetera, Christmas! And then some comical reference to family summer plans that I’ve abruptly canceled so we can instead focus on this holiday.
Thanks a lot, Dollar Tree, you’ve got me deconstructing my own comedy now. Pretty soon I’ll be reduced to laughing at my own jokes. No, wait, I already do that. Heh heh heh “already do that.”
But seriously, as I write this, there are one hundred thirty days until Christmas! That’s more than one third of the year!
And here I thought the worst “Christmas Creep” was that skeevy department store Santa at Korvette’s in Port Chester on whose lap I was forced to sit to have my picture taken back in 1976 and —
No. No, I won’t go there just for the sake of a cheap, inappropriate joke.
Not during this joyous time of year.
Heh heh “Christmas Creep” joke.
YES, August 15th! I know…! The year is practically over! But I wouldn’t have realized that if I hadn’t stopped in to visit my local Dollar Tree today!
Where does the time go?
Out with the old, in with the new, right? I tell you, 2012 has been a whirlwind! I mean, Halloween, the election (I’m still in shock), Thanksgiving, and hell, I have to tell you – I guess I’ve been so busy that I don’t even remember Christmas!
Well, I better start getting my tax stuff together and make an appointment with my accountant – instead of waiting until the last minute like I always do.
Anyway, thanks for spending this past year with me, folks. Here’s hoping 2013 will be even better!
Should auld acquaintance be forgot…
SO I was at the grocery store earlier and I saw this sign!
Tuscan cantaloupe? Don’t care. It’s the
that we’re interested in.
“Hey Ted! What are you listening to?”
“Oh, hey. I’m kinda into the early 90s now…? Your own…personal…watermelon. Someone to hear your prayers, someone who cares…”
“One of these days, Ted, I need to introduce you to Dulcinea.”
“Not Dulcinea Pureheart!”
“Yes! You’ve heard of her?”
“Are you kidding? She’s a personal watermelon of mine!”
“Jeez, Ted, look at you! Someone’s been hitting the gym…!”
“Oh, thanks man. I’ve been working out with a personal watermelon.”
“Lunch next week, Ted?”
“Sounds good. Why don’t you call my personal watermelon and have her set it up?”
“Ted! When did you get a Lexus?”
“Hell, with the settlement my personal watermelon attorney got me, I’ve got a fleet of ’em!”
“Thanks for coming down to Human Resources, Ted. This is never easy, but some of the other employees in your department – and I can’t name names – well, there’s been some…concern about your personal watermelon.”