Monday, April 30, 2012

Oh Geez, Now He's Ranting About Crackers...

It is my considered opinion that there are few things in life better than Triscuit Roasted Garlic Crackers. They are especially good with cheese, but they're good enough to eat plain out of the box as well. In fact I sometimes find myself waking up from a stupor on the floor, surrounded by empty Triscuit boxes, my mouth coated with garlic salt. I could eat them by the carload. They're not cheap though, so budget-conscious shopper that I am, when they're on sale I usually stock up.

Last week I was eating some Roasted Garlic Crackers and I noticed that after just a few handfuls I was nearly down to the bottom of the box. Even I can't eat them that fast, so I knew something was up. I closely examined the front of the box and saw that the cowardly, unscrupulous weasels at Nabisco have aimed their despicable Shrink-A-Tron at my beloved Triscuits. As you can see above, the box has gone from 9.5 ounces down to a mere 9. Now I realize that half an ounce doesn't sound like all that much, but it makes a considerable difference in the volume of the box, and a definite difference when you're spreading cheese on your crackers.

Naturally the Shrink-A-Tron did not strike the price while it was at it. The cost remains firmly the same. So we're paying the same price for less product.

Damn you, Nabisco. Damn you and the money grubbing, profit demanding shareholders you rode in on.

This is nothing new. Companies have been pulling this crap for quite some time now. As costs go up, there comes a point where a business has no choice but to raise their prices. Fair enough. They're loathe to do this though, as they know that most consumers buy based on cost. They know that if the price of Triscuits suddenly goes from $3.95 to $4.50 that I'm just going to go without (and they'd be right). So they get sneaky and give me less Triscuits for the same price and hope I'm too preoccupied with who the Kardashians are sleeping with this week to notice. Didn't work though, Nabisco. I noticed. And I don't appreciate it. Not one bit. If you have to raise costs, then do so. I'll understand. But don't screw me over by charging me the same price for a smaller box, like the sneaking little worms you are.

You've been warned, Nabisco. Don't mess with my Triscuits. I love your product, but you can easily be replaced by generic soda crackers from the dollar aisle.


Then there's the Triscuit Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers. They're OK, but they're nowhere near as delicious as the Roasted Garlic variety. But that's not my point here.

Take a closer look at the front of the box. It says "Natural Flavor With Other Natural Flavor." Is there any possible way they could have worded that blurb more awkwardly? As a graphic designer I'm often called upon to write copy for advertisements and products, and I'd be back in the unemployment line in a second if I turned a tortured sentence like that. How did this ever get past the art director and copy editor? Why not just say, "Contains natural flavors" and be done with it?

It makes me a bit suspicious as to the contents of the box. Why wouldn't they say "Contains Rosemary And Olive Oil?" Pointing out that it contains "Natural Flavors and Other Natural Flavors" could mean anything. Raccoon anus and Brylcreem, who knows? The side of the box claims there really is rosemary and olive oil in it, but I don't know... I'm still giving them the stink eye.

While I'm at it, here's another one of my product pet peeves. These Keebler Town House Flatbread Crisps (Yeah, I eat a lot of crackers. Is that a crime now too?) were on sale last week, so I thought I'd give them a try. They were just OK, but take a look at the box. Notice the carefully photographed images of the large wallet-sized crackers. I bought them specifically because of their large size. I thought they'd be able to hold a lot of cheese and other toppings for when I'm peckish.

Now glance down at the bottom of the photo and notice the actual size of the crackers. They're about the size of two postage stamps placed end to end, if that. Bastards!

If you get out a magnifying glass and look very closely, you can just make out the words "Enlarged To Show Texture" there in the corner. Companies have been getting away with that crap for decades. They show their ridiculously enlarged product in order to fool the consumer into thinking they're getting something they're not, but they get away with it as long as they faintly print that little disclaimer on the box in 2 point text.

They do this a lot with breakfast cereal too. Cereal boxes will proudly display chunks of cereal as large as drink coasters, while the actual nugget is the size of a quarter or less.

I should be used to it by now; after all I'm in advertising. I ought to know better. I'm less mad at the company for trying to deceive me than I am at myself for falling for it.

I hate this particular ploy with a white hot passion, not just because it's misleading, but because it's so damned stupid. "Photo enlarged to show texture." What texture? It's a damn cracker. It's smooth. It's not like it's covered in spines or made out of suede or something else we've never encountered. It's a cracker, just like the other billion and one that were manufactured last year. But thank god they enlarged the photo though, or I might have thought it had a texture like a damp sponge or a pile of broken glass.

1 comment:

  1. Great rant! Great points! Great SCOTT! I want crackers now lol. But I will pay attention to the packages at the grocery store from now on. And yes, Garlic Triscuits are the bomb!


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