Grocery Guide

Grocery Guide: Shelf of Broken Dreams

I love factory food as much as the next guy in Target, so I'm always surprised when million-dollar marketing efforts by executives in gleaming Chicago towers end up on the clearance shelf at 15 percent off.

I actually bought Quisp. This cereal was discontinued in the late 1970s, but some nostalgic in a necktie revived it, no doubt to see if kids these days are more stupid than kids those days. They aren't. Quisp is delicious and abrasive, like chewing on tiny yellow disks of pumice, spewed from a sugary volcano. Cap'n Crunch commands this shelf space.

What about Corazona's Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips? The bag says "Learn more about Heart Disease and Plant Steroids." Thank you, Professor Food, but when I'm drinking and dipping stuff into salsa, it's the margarita that's good for my health, not the chips.

Of course, there's Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix nearby. If I serve you margaritas from a mix, it means I don't really care for you at all. Worse, it implies the use of Jose Cuervo.

I appreciate the generic concern for my wallet with Market Pantry Thin Wheats and round crackers, but if I can't dig up a few more dimes for real Wheat Thins and Ritz Crackers, I'll be at home eating ramen rather than shopping for party snacks.

The most atrocious side dish I've been served was the Tex-Mex brown rice at Vivo in Austin, so I know why Riceworks Gourmet Brown Rice Crisps with Sweet Chili isn't working either.

Maybe Hanover & Snyder Pretzels do taste good dipped in chocolate, but I'm not spending money to find out, and evidently other Target shoppers feel the same.

Few liquids will screw up the texture of an alcoholic drink more than high-fructose corn syrup, so Rose's Cosmopolitan Mix and Passion Fruit Mojito Mix must fail. Tell you what, Rose's, if you want money, make your lime juice with sugar again, and return the gimlet to its former glory.

I was wondering why giant boxes of Fruit Rollups were here, then noticed they included Gushers and Fruit by the Foot. It's hard enough to get a child to like one thing in a box, but three? If you want to market to kids, have one first.

There were more duds, like Whole Wheat Rabbit Crackers for children, and Cinnamon Sugar Kettle Corn, but the amazing part is that two weeks later, all of the stuff was sold, save the pretzels and generic crackers. Shoppers bought the failures, given the 15 percent discount, making room for summer season flops.

What's wrong with those Chinet paper plates? Oh, I see, they're not round. Nothing tells your picnic guests that they're gluttonous swine like serving them food on a 12 x 10 inch platter.

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John Kiely
Contact: John Kiely