Monday, January 07, 2008

Aquanews from the Ziegfeld

Oh hi! I has returned from the Ziegfeld Theatre Saturday night, where Karyn and I saw Edward Scissorhands 2, also known as Sweeney Todd, starring Johnny Depp as Edward "Sweeney Todd" Scissorhands, and Helena Bonham Carter as Winona Ryder. I don't do movie reviews - sorry - but I DO do food reviews, and you should really hit up Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pies next time you're on Fleet Street in London. Try the Shepherd's Pie, which they say is peppered with a secret blend of herbs, although for some reason, they capitalize the word "Herbs" on the menu. Weird. They also sell Girl Scout cookies, which I think are knockoffs - first of all, the real ones are called Samoas, not Samoans. And second of all, I don't think they're supposed to taste like chicken. But whatever.

Of more concern to me was what I discovered at the Ziegfeld itself when I went hunting for water of the non-fountain variety - the kind packaged into individual servings for easy transport back to your seat, and handy storage in the conveniently placed drink holders on the back of the seat in front of me.

Allow me, if you will, to rundown the water pricing system for bottles of Poland Spring at the Ziegfeld, but let me warn you first. It might make your eyes pop out of your head and your eye sockets subsequently fart with shock, all after knocking the socks and shoes clean off of your ass. I'm not kidding.

Without further ado, the prices of water on the Ziegfeld Theatre drink menu:

1. Large (23.7 oz.): $4.95
2. Small (16.9 oz.): $3.95

Astoundingly high for water, right? Considering that you can still get a gallon of gas for a little over $3.00 even at New York City prices? I got to the counter and asked, just out of curiosity, if those were the only water options available to me, the customer, who is supposed to always be right.

The cashier leaned softly over the counter and beckoned me to do the same. "I'm not supposed to tell you this," she whispered, half-conspiratorially, "but, uh... there is a third option."

I desperately wanted to know what the third option was, but I also wanted to play it cool. After all, it's not like I get offered insider information like that every day. I was walking a fine line between hope and despair, between danger and deceit, between water priced at a level that compared with date rape and water that was slightly more expensive, and I knew it. And so did she. The tension mounted, like a dog mounting another dog. My hair stood on end, like trees growing out of a very nervous forest. I licked my lips. I combed my hair. I played my kazoo, but only briefly. Totally failing to play it cool at all, I said in a loud, foppish voice, "a THIRD option? What, pray tell, could it BE?"

The erstwhile cashier, without dignifying my cartoonishly loud response, pointed the counter-mounted mini-fridge behind her, where there lurked the aforementioned third option, about which she was not supposed to tell me, even though it was clearly on display for God and all of his private parts to see. "That," she said. "That's the micro-size."

Rays of fluorescent light gleamed on the row of 11-ounce bottles inside their glass enclosure. An oddly coincidental choir of young boys sang an angelic F-major chord behind me. "Wow," I said, breathless. "The micro-size. How much is it?"

"A dollar-fifty."

"A dollar fifty?"

She nodded. "Mm hmm."

Now, I'm no mathemagician, but I am smart enough to notice that two 11-ounce bottles for $3.00 compares pretty favorably with ONE 23.7-ounce bottle for $4.95. I mean, I know that last 1.7 ounces is a pretty important part of the water-drinking experience, but is it really worth the additional $1.95? Especially considering that I could get a THIRD 11-ounce "micro-size" bottle, and still have enough left over to give away nine nickels to homeless people?

I suppose it would have been a tougher quandary if I were in the market for EXACTLY 23.7 ounces of water. Lucky for me, I was really only looking for about 8 ounces, maybe 9. But I pride myself on flexibility. So I ordered one "micro-size," eliciting a wink from the cashier.

This is what she gave me:

Behold...the AQUAPOD!

Leave it to the geniuses at Poland Spring, right? What a brilliant piece of marketing! Think about it - this capitalizes on the three things that all modern Americans are fascinated with:

1. Water
2. all things "Pod", and
3. The sexy, but entirely unnecessary, bulbous repackaging of everything, starting with the Ford Taurus in the 1990s.

I just WISH I had been the one to devise this little bit of inspired creativity. I really do. I think I owe it to myself to sit down and brainstorm and see if I can't come up with some kind of FruitPod idea to pitch to the marketing department at Dole.

Wait a second... FruitPods!! It's DYNAMITE!! It could totally revolutionize the way people eat fruit!

And I bet it would taste a hell of a lot better than the Fruit Salad at Mrs. Lovett's, too! Yuck!

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