Enlightenment of the Grocery Kind

Written by Lord Lansdowne

The other night I went grocery shopping. It is truly a marvel that in this country you can shop at four in the morning and there still are line-ups at the cash.

I digress. I went shopping mostly because I learned two important things in life quite recently. One of them is that no matter how down life has got you since your woman has dumped you with the trash, you still need to go grocery shopping. I came to this amazing conclusion when I discovered (with a hint of surprise, too) that the fridge does not refill all by itself.

As I'm shopping, my eyes land on a box of Ms. Fields Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Cookies. I marvelled at the box for a bit. Five dollars for eight cookies. I started reading the box, like one of those mothers that is making sure that the cereals are actually good for her brat kids--a clear indication that I am getting old. The box went about describing the fragrance. The astonishing taste. How each cookie was individually wrapped for extraordinary flavour. That if you nuked the sucker in the microwave, it would taste just like the way mum made cookies. The box also went as far as suggesting that nuking the cookie without the wrapping was probably a good idea. Gee, thanks.

"Buy them," I heard a little voice in my head say.

I hear voices in my head all the time, so rather than fighting them off, I just gave them all names. I have Jesus that tells me to be nice whenever Khali, the murdering rampage voice, calls for a massacre. There are a few more, but I never recalled hearing this one. Was this my Ron Jeremy voice looking for satisfaction in chocolate since sex in my life has all but become extinct?

Either way, Einstein protested: "Five dollars for eight cookies? That iz outrageous!"

"That's true," I chirped in. Can't argue with the voice of logic, now, can we?

"Buy them," went Ron Jeremy again.

So I did.

For five dollars and a grand total of eight cookies I expected these to be the mother of all baked goods. My taste buds were going to weep in joy, such was the flavour. God almighty himself was going to stop juggling the cosmos and marvel at how good these cookies were. Sex would appear boring in comparison, so orgasmic each bite would be. Aliens, bent on the annihilation of the human race, would suddenly change their mind once they tasted one of them.

Unfortunately I was suckered by obviously the extreme effort put into the packaging and not the actual product. I've baked better cookies than these, despite the fact that I have to keep mine in the basement for a week just so they absorb enough humidity and not crack your teeth apart in their original rock-like state.

Really, this is disappointing, that a company can't even get chocolate chip cookies, an important step on our evolutionary ladder, right. But such is the world today, with more effort put in selling a product, than making that product worth buying.

Obviously aware that the cookies were, shall we say... not exactly good, inside the box was a coupon for a $1.50 off the next one. That, together with the box and my high expectations, went down the bin.

Further into my shopping experience, I went looking for carrots, since the ones in my fridge had started to evolve, already asking for welfare and voting rights. I picked some up and my eyes fell on a particular line of the packaging:

"Ingredients: carrots."

Well, imagine that.

But I suppose that if we live in a world where they need to put instructions on a package of toothpicks (I sat there and marvelled at the box for a while, reading the instructions over and over again, seriously questioning my sanity) I guess it should come as no surprise.

Which brings me to the second valuable point I learned recently: I am a fucking genius.

I may not be able to understand quantum mechanics, but I definitely do not need to be told that inserting sharp objects in my rectum is far from beneficial for my being.

To enforce my newly discovered genius, I grabbed a bottle of shampoo and noticed, among many things, a toll-free hotline, which gives you the ability to call the manufacturer. I've seen many companies doing this, even on chocolate bars. What gets to me is why anyone would need to call a company after you've bought a chocolate bar. What could you possibly ask them?

I could almost understand if you bought the do-it-yourself kit-form of a Real Doll from the local sex shop and are at a loss in putting it together, but not for something that requires you to simply stuff it in your mouth and chew. You'd hope that chewing was among some of our chief primordial skills that--much like sex--we still retained.

But seriously, if you need to call the company that made the product to ask what you need to do with it, then you're either not ready to buy it or you should not be allowed out without adult supervision (who's emptying your drool cup, by the way?). I'm almost tempted to call them myself and ask what kind of questions they get.

The product went further to provide some suggestions on children's safety and the suggestion that eating shampoo may not necessarily be a good idea. If you felt that such a warming was sad enough about the state of things in our society, it even has to suggest you visiting a doctor in case you do have a pint of Head & Shoulders.

If that was not enough to make you feel like you live in a world that has been too brainwashed by the media to think by itself, it includes instructions on how to wash your hair, down to how often you should do it. Perhaps that's for men, as I know quite a few who seem to fail to understand any concept of hygiene.

Call me strange, but I find this disturbing. But unless you're a primitive screwhead who should spend their time locked up in a soft cell, washing one's hair seems fairly obvious. I didn't learn it in school, but when I took a bath, as far as I can remember, I knew what shampoo was for, how to use it and not once was I tempted to eat it, no matter how good it smelled.

It's strange, however, to live in a world keen on telling us how to do these basic things, that asking someone out all the way to basic human interaction don't come with handy little instructions too.