Monday, January 02, 2006

In search of something Spreadably Delicious (TM)

Something insidious is happening, if not across America, at least around me: quietly, stealthily, without public outcry, Nutella, that truly Spreadably Delicious (tm) paste, is disappearing from the aisles of the grocery stores I frequent.

It started in Trader Joe's: available one week, gone the next. Replaced by a home-grown version, "Trader Joe's Hokey Alternative To Nutella" [or something along those lines], an entirely insufficient substitute. [I tried it. I know.] A decision probably driven by some misguided attempt to enhance the Trader Joe's brand, or cut costs, or some other such corporate decision made without thought for its effects on the man on the street [like me].

Nutella was also available in the co-op grocery down the street from us, albeit at a higher price than from Trader Joe's, and hence we'd avoided buying it there. But, driven by necessity, I attempted to fill the gaping hole left in my breakfast by going to the co-op. This, too, ended in despair: no more Nutella. In its stead, a noisome potion made by Loacker, Johnny-come-latelys attempting to crowd in on the turf so ably filled by Nutella for the last 60+ years.

Driven beyond the endurance of any reasonable man, I invoked the awesome, other-worldly powers of the Nutella Locator to find a store close to us rumored to be trading in the embargoed good.

Today, we visited that store. True, there was a sticker on a shelf that said "Nutella". But, like an empty tooth socket, it too was achingly unfilled. Mockingly empty. And, as if to rub it in, a jar of another pretender to the throne, the Milky Way spread, right next to it. In a last-ditch effort, I asked one of the store employees whether they had any more of it in the back. After initially not quite comprehending the question, she disappeared for a while and then returned to tell me something that haunts me yet: "They tend not to have it." And while my brain was still trying to interpret this sentence, she disappeared and I did not have the heart to go after her and ask her what she meant.

What to make of this gnomic utterance ? That sometimes this store has Nutella, but, on average, it tends to be sold out ? That interpretation seems rather too complex and philosophical. I would like to think that she simply meant that they are currently sold out, and was not making a statement about the availability distribution of Nutella being somehow ... skewed, since that would mean I might have to adopt a more sophisticated sampling strategy than simply returning periodically to check on its availability.

What, then, to make of this disappearance ? Is it simply the result of the troubles of Kobe Bryant [who used to be the face of Nutella in the USA] ? Is it a conspiracy by enemies of mine in high places to rob me of a cornerstore of my diet ? I don't know. What I do know is that the search will go on, and I will not rest until I can once again enjoy the many forms of Nutella Usage.

2 Comments:

Blogger Christina said...

Wife #1 entered you in the 'Win a case of Nutella sweapstakes'.
http://www.nutellausa.com/giveaway.htm

5:02 PM  
Blogger Affable said...

Good lord! Let's hope it's a holiday shortage rather than some more sinister plot. Nutella is widely acknowledged as the yummiest stuff in the world, especially when combined with crepes and banana's!

3:07 AM  

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