Grocery shopping can be fun, but why do food producers want to ‘air-puff’ their product? Case in point, my revered Cheez-its®. The question is, why do you charge the same for less product? Answer; Add less product, fill it with air and call it ‘new and improved! Do you feel you’re getting less calories? Maybe, but at a cost. ‘Puffing up’ a food product adds profit and helps sell (Drum roll) 75 billion Cheez-it snacks per year! How many different flavors of Cheez-it are there? Too many to make up your mind, but the answer is 21 distinct flavors. Psychologically we feel that puffing means less calories. It doesn’t! (Kitchen hint for hungry after-school snacks is Cheez-It-crusted chicken fingers)

BTW, reduced fat means reduced flavor, but the ‘best’ Cheez-it taste is the Italian 4-cheese kind. I don’t know what’s in them, but one ingredient has a chemical formula of C10H11N4Na2O8P.

Let’s leave this aisle and travel to laundry detergents, where I hope the news gets better.

While in the detergent aisle I discovered the small size of Gain detergent costs twice as much and you only need half the amount.  Did you ever really need the original amount to get your clothes clean? It’s like the toothpaste ads that show a toothbrush being filled from end to end when you only need half that amount for your proper brushing.

Marketers appeal to your senses with their design and color of packaging and smell of product. ‘Original’ Gain is described on the website as ‘The same great scent you fell in love with’. Never mind that they finished a sentence with a preposition, they assume you fell in love with your laundry detergent. Does that mean your love life may consist of sensing love through your nose? Dogs do that.

Never fear because there’s Island Fresh described as your passport to the tropics, and I’m not making the next part up, without the huge lines, lost luggage and turbulence. Why travel when you’ve got the freshness of palm trees and sunshine all bottled up?

The only thing that’s bottled up is America’s credit which isn’t allowing us to make the real trip. If you’ve got the depth of imagination that allows you to take a quick vacation in your mind while color sorting the laundry in a small room with no windows and possibly a small child or two nipping at your heels, then you’ve got the ability to start your own ad agency and name some of these products.

I would have loved to be in the room when the Gain’s Fresh Awakenings product was discussed. The ad people went over the top with this appellation. Fresh Awakenings is a brilliant name for a detergent, and I figure if my clothes are asleep and I want to revive them, that’s what I would use. The description goes on beckoning you from the closet, drawers, hamper or sheets. If that’s where you hang out, you need more than a scent to open your eyes; you may need some psychological help too.

Doing the laundry with gain is like tripping through the groves with names like Mandarin Lime Fusion, Apple Mango tango and Honey Suckle Guava Groove. Wait a minute, was I doing the laundry or making a salad? I guess they’re not appealing to people with an allergic reaction to fruit. You don’t need to buy Gain to get a fresh awakening, all we need to do is smell the coffee. At least it can’t get ‘puffed’.


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