Saturday, April 29, 2006

A chip on my shoulder

adver_tisingmisc_rantsI'm just going to put my foot down and come right out and say it - WE HAVE TOO MUCH CHOICE THESE DAYS AND IT'S DOING MY HEAD IN.

Decaf? Half caf? Sugar? Sweetener? Upsize? Sauce on the side?

I CAN'T TAKE IT ANY MORE! I don't need a thousand options for EVERYTHING. I'll tell you what I require lots of choice in: cheese, boyfriends and television programs. Everything else I can pretty much cope with only having three or four selections.

Nowhere is our society's ridiculous abundance of choice more apparent than in the toothpaste aisle of your local supermarket. Whitening, extra whitening, extra whitening with baking soda, with fluoride, without fluroide, extra protection, 24 hour protection - WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? Aren't there only two brands anyway - Colgate and Macleans? (I'm not counting AIM because everyone knows only cheapskates buy it and you might as well chew a Juicy Fruit instead).

I don't understand all the micro-divisions in the different toothpastes on offer. What is the difference between "24 hour protection" and "advanced protection"? Does the one with fluoride only protect your teeth for 22 hours? And what sort of protection can a toothpaste provide anyway?

"It's ok baby, I use Colgate!"

If only they'd used Macleans...

Another supermarket sector in which I think we're all getting just a few too many options is the snack aisle - in particular, the chip section.

Back in the day there was plain, chicken, barbecue, salt and vinegar and if you were REALLY getting fancy, cheese and onion. THAT was it. And we were happy. Now look at it - "Greek fetta and herb", "Italian tomato and basil", "chicken, thyme and lemon" for god's sake. Not to mention my most hated, "honey baked ham". Shudder.

Chicken isn't just chicken anymore, it's "herb roasted chicken". Forget cheese and onion, you're more likely to find "bocconcini and chives". And what the HELL is up with "Heinz Big Red Tomato Sauce & Meat Pie" flavour? WHY DON'T YOU JUST EAT A GOD DAMN PIE?

All of this, of course, pales in comparison to the horrors of UK brand Walkers' range, which includes "lamb and mint", "pickled onion", "Marmite yeast extract" and my personal favourite, "prawn cocktail". (With all of the weird flavours coming out here at the moment, god knows why no one's come up with a Vegemite flavoured chip yet, but I'm sure it's on the way.)

Who buys these poncy flavours? I thought the only people who actually bought chips at the supermarket were stoned teenagers, fat people and overworked mums (who buy those massive garbage-sized bags with about 55 smaller bags in them "to put in the kids' lunches"). Surely no part of this demographic could be tempted by the "Postcards From The Mediterranean" flavour range. (And no, I'm not making that up.)

I think the people who buy "Thai lime and ginger" flavoured chips are the same donuts who buy "Beef topped with Shitake Mushrooms" or "Gourmet Beef with Vegetable Medley" for their chihuahuas (again, I'm not making this up) and wear pink polo shirts with the collars turned up.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

PS: the Star Wars Kid has won a lawsuit! Fancy that.

PPS: Did anyone hear my Friday F***wit nomination get a guernsey on Jay and the Doctor on April 28? I nominated my salad of disappointment and apparently they found it rather funny. Guess my 5 minutes of fame is now officially up.


  1. Oh dear, I am one of those people who loves the choice of crisps - or chips as you call them. Crisps and football, not chips and soccer I'll have you know.

    Having lived my first 25 years in England one complaint I have of Australian snacks is the complete lack of choice in crisp flavours. We need Prawn Cocktail, we need Worcestershire Sauce (my favourite), we need Lamb & Mint, we need Curry flavour in Australia ... we even need the best-flavour-name-ever crisps, Hedgehog.

    Choice is good.

    Saying that, I love the old folks faces in Subway when they have to choose bread, cheese, filling, salad, whether they want cookies, whether they want a meal deal, whether they want stamps, etc. You get the feeling they would rather speed up the death process for themselves rather than be asked one more question.

    Gimme real crisp flavours, but you can leave out the gourmet Hungarian Goulash & Artichoke flavours.

    I'll also have you know that I don't wear pink polo shirts. Honest.

  2. Yeah, I have to admit that I like my cultured crisps. My fave is "lime and black pepper", I think?

    oh, hang on, is it: "lime and cracked pepper"?

    shit, maybe it's: "lime and chilli"?

    Oh bugger, I'll have to go and buy some more to find out... and then get distracted by the honey and soy sodium-free, wheat-free cracker-chips...

    wotev's. ;-)

  3. You forgot to mention the ridiculous choice of soft drinks we are exposed to, as a stoned teenager (I am not stoned or a teenager anymore) I remember being totally baffled by the 10 meters of drinks fridge in a service station. I wasted a good 5 minutes of my life staring at carbonated, sugary beverages.
    And don’t get me started on the selection of carbonated drinks in a supermarket. Have you ever measured the aisle space just one brand occupies (often there is 2-3 meters of supermarket aisle dedicated to a single sized bottle of cola)?
    The whole supermarket experience scares me, I try to avoid them.
    Oh, good post BTW.


  4. It's not the chip selection that bothers me. Personally, I've never had anything as delicious in my mouth as a Garlic and Parmesan Kettle extravaganza. What shits me is the massive selection of bathing products, particularly shower gel. How can I choose between so many different luxurious oils? And once I do select one, will my short attention span render said chosen gel disgusting mid bottle? It is far too perplexing for me, so I end up with four different flavours just so I can make a choice depending on my mood.

    I hate capitalism.

  5. I've noted the ridiculous choice increase in chip varieties meself.. and sure, it's fine to have fun with this shit.. but sometimes it just goes tooooo far..

    I mean, seriously.. are any of us chimps really gonna taste ANY freakin' difference between food additive 4826 and food additive 4129?

    "oooo.. I can distinctly taste the CANADIAN in this bacon flavoured chip.. oh yes!"

    I mean shit, at this point.. we really should bring in some cultural expert division of potato chip tasters.. and do "wine tours" around the various potato factories..

    on the flipside however.. my personal flavour was this wacky variety of THAI GREEN CURRY chips (now discontinued) that were the best freakin' thing on earth.. like thin cut and baked crack I tells ya!

    now if only they could bring THOSE back :)

  6. Damn, Petty. I bet you'd love it if communism took over and all of our choices in products were regulated down to one: no choice whatsoever!

    That said, you're right on the toothpaste thing. Who decides "I'll take the tartar control toothpaste, fuck protecting my cavities"? We need one, ultimate, toothpaste.

  7. I'm an Adelaidian in England, and have tried the prawn cocktail Walker's "crisps" once.. they weren't that bad. Odd mish mash of sweet and salty flavours.. can't say it tasted very prawn-like, just very umami.

    Englanders get ripped off, in that their crisp packets are tiny (I miss the "Original" (extra salt) Smiths Crisps mega-packets that my brother used to buy so we could have super-healthy chip sandwiches, and the Salt and Vinegar here is piss-weak too) yet 33% of the population are obese. Good work guys!

    I definitely favour the smaller range that we have in Australia. At least we have more than Italy: mm, do I choose Plain or Paprika?


  8. wow look at the new layout. pretty fancy there.

    get rid of the love hearts tho.

    more bitter imagery is needed. and update it more often already!

  9. Ha HA! MORE HEARTS, I SAY! Yes, MORE hearts, just for you Matt.... tee hee... I LOVE them... :)