'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
UNHEALTHY CONSUMER PRODUCTS
In recent months an attorney filed a lawsuit to ban the sale of Oreo cookies. He claims the product is unhealthy. As we speak, McDonald’s and Burger King are slowly but surely being pushed into extinction, again via lawsuits which claim that fast food is unhealthy. It seems that every day a new attack is launched against a well-known consumer product—and the claim is always that the product harms peoples’ health.
Well, let me ask you a question. Suppose there were a product which regularly produced the following symptoms in the people who use it: elevated blood pressure, hyperventilation, and fits of rage. Don’t you think this product ought to be outlawed long before something as benign as Oreos or McNuggets? Good, I’m glad you agree. So why is it that no attorneys or consumer protection groups have yet filed a lawsuit to ban Tupperware?
Yes, Tupperware. It’s evil, I tell ya. Oh sure, it seems innocent enough…at first. It’s cute and colorful, and it does a good job keeping food fresh. You bring a few Tupperware items into the house and you think it will improve your life. Ha! That’s the fatal mistake.
This is how the sinister plan unfolds: your wife comes home from a Tupperware party with three items. The items are very nice, each with a specific function. Everything seems fine. But then the items are put into a kitchen cupboard, and during the night while the family is peacefully sleeping, the Tupperware items begin to multiply like cockroaches.
The next morning, when someone in the family is, say, running late for work and hurries to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, he decides to use the special sandwich-sized Tupperware container because he remembers his wife said it will keep the sandwich fresh until lunchtime, and it won’t get squashed like what usually happens when he uses Baggies.
So he reaches for the cupboard door, remembering distinctly that only three items were placed in there less than 12 hours earlier. As he opens the door, an avalanche of injection-molded plastic crashes onto the floor. Dozens and dozens of containers—each a different size—and dozens and dozens of lids—each and everyone of them also a different size. His blood pressure begins to rise.
He reaches down to gather up the scattered items, and notices that they’ve been carefully designed so they don’t quite fit inside each other. He tries to put them all back into the cupboard by forming a few teetering towers, which wobble a bit before tumbling back onto the floor. He begins to hyperventilate.
He gathers up the items again, and angrily piles them on the kitchen counter. As he is about to look for a Baggie, he spies the square flat container and places his peanut butter and jelly sandwich inside. It’s a perfect fit. He has unwittingly taken the bait and is now stuck in the dreaded Tupperware trap: finding the proper lid.
He starts grabbing lids which seem like they should fit. But one is an eighth of an inch too small. Another is three thirty-seconds of an inch too large. Yet another lid is the exact right size, but the groove around the edge simply will not fit into the container. (Hey, how did a piece of Rubbermaid get in here?!) In desperation, he pounds his fist onto the lid, shouting, “I’m gonna make you fit, you #&*@$#!!” In the process he not only squashes his sandwich far worse than if he had used a Baggie, he scrapes his knuckle on the edge of the lid, and at the sight of his own blood, flies into an uncontrollable rage.
If there are any trial lawyers out there looking for the victim of a genuinely unsafe consumer product, give me a call. I’d say about $10 million will ease my pain and suffering very nicely. Also, that kind of money will buy a lot of Big Macs and Oreos.
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