Airplane Food Policy and Packaging Idiocy
Blog: Absurdist Packaging
I’m writing this aboard a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to L.A. Literally moments before beginning boarding, they announced that the supposedly included meal wasn’t free in the coach section. Hmmm–why didn’t they tell me this three days ago when I requested a vegetarian meal? Or even when I’d arrived at the gate with plenty of time to go find a restaurant.
I’m generally not a lover of airplane food, and I certainly wouldn’t pay for it. So I rushed out to the concourse and grabbed a bag of overpriced trail mix.
I’m one of those people who actually reads packaging. It’s an old habit; according to my mother, I taught myself to read before I turned four, using cereal boxes and mayonnaise jars. And since I’m a marketing copywriter, it’s actually a work-related distraction.
And I’ve long been amused by some of the idiocy that’s written on America’s packages. This little bag of trail mix is a prime example:
The second ingredient is peanuts and the fourth is cashews (or so they claim–I haven’t found a cashew yet. But just below the ingredients list are three absurd statements (capitalization and spelling are exact transcriptions of the original):
1. “This product ingredients are from: USA, India and/or Africia and/or Vietnam and China.” Why don’t they just come out and say “we don’t’ know where this stuff is from, and we don’t care.” And where the heck is a country called Africia? Well, at least they didn’t put an apostrophe where none belongs. Instead they simply left it out, along with the s that should follow at the end of “product.”
2. “ALLERGEN INFORMATION: It contains undeclared tree nut traces.” What on earth is an undeclared treenut? One you smuggle through customs? I mean, it says right on the label that there are cashews, even though none exist. Seems to be this is a case of declared untree nuts, or falsely declared tree nuts, or something like that.
3. “PRODUCT PRODUCED IN A FACILITY THAT PRODUCES PEANUT PRODUCTS. MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS AND NUTS.” Well, hello there. Peanuts are the second ingredient, remember? And I can see them through the window in the front of the bag. Tree nuts would be nice. I love cashews. I don’t much like *raw* peanuts, however, which is what’s mostly in the bag. Oh well, at least they did roast the soybeans, thank goodness. Soy, however, is not mentioned in the allergen section.
Am I snarkier than usual today? Airplanes will do that to me. Especially when this whole situation came about because they lied when they told me I got a meal.
(Postscript: my little bag of trail mix was so unsatisfying that I ended up breaking down and buying an airline meal. My choice was a hummous platter with decent hoummous, pita brushed with balsamic vinegar, and a whole bunch of raw veggies, most of them of reasonable quality. So I have to eat a least some of my words about airline meals.)
(I wrote this a few days ago on my way to Los Angeles–and then forgot to post it. I’m still there.)