The Real Deal

Sunday, September 25, 2011

One Friday evening I was eating a hotdog in Target. Madison has a plethora of wonderful restaurants to choose from (I mentioned a few here), so you may be wondering why I chose processed mystery meat from a corporate retailer as my meal of choice. Well, I've eaten at Tar-jay twice so far and always for the same reason.

I enter Target with the intention of getting a couple things: hangers, a picture frame, milk. And come out with: hangers, a picture frame, milk, a clock for the wall, batteries, an air freshener, a new shirt! I could continue but I can always look at my bank statement if I want to be depressed.

As I check out I think to myself: shoot, it's dinner time. Where can I get the cheapest meal ever to compensate for the decorative clock I just purchased on a whim?! And then I realize I'm walking by it on the way out: the Target snack bar.

So, I'm eating a hot dog alone at a table on a Friday night in a Target (could I get any cooler?), when I notice the napkin I'm using from Starbucks has a special message:

Apparently, I am supposed to be comforted by the fact that Starbucks now serves real food.

The small text at the bottom reads: "We've got good news. We removed the artificial trans fat, artificial flavors, artificial dyes and high-fructose corn syrup. Now your food not only tastes better, it is better. We hope you enjoy the difference."

This is an interesting marketing tactic. Basically, here's a reminder of all the shit you've been drinking for years. But now it's gone! Aren't you happy?! No, I'm not happy. I'm regretting the hundreds of Caramel Macchiatos I've consumed in my life and wondering what the hell else is in my coffee that you aren't telling me about.

Three years from now you're going to run a new marketing campaign and your napkins are going to say "We've got good news. We removed the cigarette ash and natural gasoline that used to be in our food." And then I'm supposed to be happy?

Don't forget, this is all coming from the person whose opting to eat a hot dog - which is anything but "real."

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