Grocery labels leave us guessing
September 20, 2005
Sometimes, all you need is philosophy and candy.
That’s what I figured out recently, while talking to a coworker. I had brought up a philosophical — he called it pedantic — question.
I had recently been to a grocery store where I saw a bag of Mega M&M’s, which were bigger than your average M&M’s. Seeing as how I’m never one to let technology pass me by, I grabbed a bag.
On the way to the counter, I noticed a small plastic capsule that contained M&M Minis, which have been in existence since 1996. I didn’t pick them up, but that was my inspiration for the question: If there are Mega M&M’s, and there are M&M Minis, does that mean I could now refer to regular M&M’s as Mega M&M Minis? Or, since the Mini came first chronologically, would they be Mini Mega M&M’s?
The way we label the groceries we buy just cracks me up sometimes. Were people clamoring for bigger M&M’s? Why stop there? Why not just make one gigantic M&M, the size of a Klondike bar, with an extra thick shell?
Here are some other things that I notice every once in a while on the store shelves:
• The Razor Wars: Think of it as the Cola Wars that go on today, but this war doesn’t go well with chicken wings. Gillette first made a three-bladed razor called the Mach 3. Schick soon answered with the Quattro, which has (you guessed it) four blades.
Gillette has recently announced it’s going with five blades for the next razor, and I think they’re going the wrong way in these wars. The winner of the razor wars should create a zero-razor method of shaving. We have sophisticated space programs, supersonic jets and wireless communication, but the best way to remove a beard is to scrape a sharp piece of metal across it?
• “Are you kidding me?” serving sizes. Once during a high school lunch, I was chatting with a friend about the cookies I had just bought out of a vending machine. The six-pack of Oreos looked healthy enough, until I saw that the serving size was one cookie.
Other “serving sizes” include seven Pringles, half a can of Coca-Cola and one slice of Pizza Hut’s pizza.
• X-Treme foods: I’m not the first to bring it up, and I won’t be the last. A snack food is not instantly better when you add the word X-Treme. Raspberry Jell-O does not become X-Treme because it’s blue — it just absorbs the visible light spectrum differently than red raspberry Jell-O.
We’ve got to see these things for what they are — empty labels designed to tempt us out of our hard-earned dollars. I assume we’re all smart enough to know better.
If not, maybe I can go into business with this giant candy idea I have. How does M&M X-Treme sound?
Kevin Wilson is a staff writer at the Portales News-Tribune. He can be reached at 356-4481, ext. 32, or by e-mail: