Helpful Suggestions

Have you ever taken much notice of the artwork on some packaged food items? We don’t generally buy a whole lot of processed food but those that come complete with so-called “serving suggestions” have frequently given me some entertainment.

A few weeks ago I popped into a local small co-op store because I needed some fresh bread. I wasn’t expecting much but, to my surprise, they had a perfectly reasonable-looking oatmeal loaf, albeit ready sliced. I grabbed one, paid for it and returned home for my lunch. Naturally there was artwork on the package but then, one expects that.

J01_0669 Serving suggestion

Wait a minute, that ham and lettuce sandwich apparently constitutes a “serving suggestion”. Am I to understand that co-operative customers need assistance when it comes to making use of a ready-sliced loaf of bread? I know educational levels have slipped a little but … strewth! I think that’s a tomato sneaking in on the right of frame. What I can’t quite determine is whether I am supposed to put tomatoes in with the ham and lettuce or just leave them sitting on the board. Should I have bought a different loaf if I’d wanted to make a cheese sandwich? [“Thick sliced” for thickos, presumably.]

Our little local co-op is also our little local post office. Today, after first applying for an extension to our mortgage, we went along again to buy some Christmas stamps. Regrettably, the post office window in our little local co-op was besieged by a less-than-little line of people, presumably comprised of many of those co-operative customers who need help with the correct usage of a ready-sliced loaf of bread. We extended the line still further.

As we waited, in addition to wondering whether we were actually going to get our stamps in time to make the last posting date before Christmas, I began looking at the food cabinets beside which we stood. There were some ready-made pizzas on special offer [short-dated] and a warm lunch seemed quite appealing given the outside temperature hovering around freezing. We bought one, together with our stamps, and returned for lunch. [There’s a theme, here.] Guess what?

J01_0888 Serving suggestion

The artwork on the pizza box allegedly constitutes yet another “serving suggestion”. It seems that our educationally challenged co-operative customers don’t know what to do with a boxed, ready-made pizza, either. Mon Dieu! Now, this one really isn’t completely obvious. The pizza is clearly not still in the box so I guess Charlie Customer is going to realize that he is supposed to extract it from the packaging before eating it. Now that, I have to admit, is a very handy suggestion. We don’t want people munching through the cardboard, cellophane and polystyrene after all, do we? However, to make completely successful use of his pizza, Charlie Customer is going to have to look a little more closely.

“Errr … that cheese in the photo doesn’t look quite as it does on my recently extracted pizza; it looks gooey, sort of melted. Those tomatoes look a bit wrinkled, too, sort of dried out. Wait a minute, I wonder if it’s been baked? I’m sure I’ve seen pizzas being served hot, somewhere. Yes, here we are, the box also comes complete with baking instructions.”

Well done Charlie!

Notice that the pizza is not cut into slices, though. Charlie is supposed to wolf it down whole, I imagine.

I hope the postage stamps came with instructions, too.

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