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"He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." (Jim Elliot)

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December 02, 2005

To: Swiss Miss and affiliates, including but not limited to Swiss Watch & Clock LLC, Swiss Cheese Food Products, Swiss Army Knife and Nail Clipper Companies, and Swiss Gold and Cash Laundering Services LLC

From: Tony Woodlief

Subject: Swiss Miss Pudding Cups

First, I want to congratulate you on breaking new ground in the area of packaged food-sealing technology. Given that NASA can't seem to shoot anything into space without it falling apart all over the place, I encourage you to contact their scientists regarding the glue you use to seal the tops of your pudding cups.

Unfortunately, as with all great breakthroughs that have rocked the food sciences (e.g., Pop Rocks, lime-flavored Coke, the McRib Sandwich) there are some complications arising from your innovative new approach. To wit, the requirement that a customer use a mallet and chisel to separate the lid from the pudding cup. Now, I am absolutely confident that when I finally give the pudding cup to my children -- hours after dinner, mind you -- it will be absolutely free from contamination or tampering. It will be safe, that is, except for the periodic plunges of my fingers into the pudding as I pull and tear at miniscule pieces of the lid, which seems cleverly designed not to lift in one piece, but to separate itself so that one can only pull off a thin strand at a time.

Very clever, Swiss Miss, very safe. I think perhaps we have a cultural difference here. I know that you pride yourselves on safety in the great mountainous origin of sexually repressed theology, the Red Cross, and studied neutrality from the world's great conflicts. I know that when times call for daring acts -- resisting the Nazis, for example, or hewing to minimal standards of decency when it comes to profiting from totalitarian thuggery -- the Swiss have bravely run away to not fight another day. But really, we're talking pudding here. Are you afraid that opening the pudding cup too rapidly will result in a blob getting in someone's eye? Are you dissatisfied with prevailing food industry methods of preventing tampering?

Perhaps this is a statement, a declaration to the world that Switzerland is still the safest place on the planet, provided one is not a fleeing victim of a holocaust, of course. If so, then I applaud you, Swiss Miss Corporation and Affiliates, for rendering your pudding cups nearly impenetrable. Catholic Girl's Schools and calculus textbook writers could learn at your feet.

Alas, though, in my household we have a reckless desire to actually eat the pudding. Thus I regret to inform you that in the future we will be buying the Del Monte pudding products -- that's right, the ones in the dangerous tin cups with the round pull-tops. Yes, someone could get a cut, and there may be pudding spillage. That's just how we roll in my house, Swiss Miss.

I wish you well in your future endeavors.

PS: My wife has just informed me that you aren't really Swiss after all, that you are part of some soulless American food conglomerate. Now I am doubly disillusioned. Not only can I not savor your tasty chocolate goodness without a MacGyver-like effort, now I do not even have the luxury of imagining that I am tasting the forbidden sweetness of what passes for Swiss decadence. Now we are through for good. Good day to you, sirs.

Posted by Woodlief on December 02, 2005 at 08:25 AM


Bonus points for the MacGyver question - doubled for spelling it correctly.

Posted by: Deoxy at December 2, 2005 9:35 AM

OT: Can please elaborate for this neanderthal on what the quote of the week [year] means?

Posted by: Josh Harmon at December 2, 2005 12:01 PM

Sory, Tony. I'm not impressed unless you hear back from Swiss Miss that they are changing their entire automated packaging mechanism to accommodate your lack of motor skills. Hopefully, they'll throw in a coupon for a free case of pudding, to boot.

By all means, keep us posted.

Posted by: greg at December 2, 2005 2:27 PM

And yes, I know I misspelled 'sorry'. My hands are freezing. I just had my two labs out for their afternoon walk and it's about 25 degrees here in Indy with our first snow on the ground.

Posted by: greg at December 2, 2005 2:29 PM

Josh, the Jim Elliot quote ("He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose") has more context when you know the story of Jim's missionary work with the Auca people. Go to the site:
and follow the link for "Launch Site" (watch the flash intro -- it's pretty good).

Jim was basically saying that he would give up his life and everything here (the things he ultimately "couldn't keep") to reach people with the gospel (and thus gain something that cannot be lost, that survives death, for him and the Auca people, in this case).

Posted by: Paul at December 2, 2005 4:16 PM

So, so, so true!!! And isn't it just awful when you think you have done it..it is all coming off so great, then there is that one tiny little edge that you can't pull off? LOL..Grrr..Oh well, at least it keeps your boys from opening it on thier own, right?

Posted by: Danielle at December 3, 2005 1:26 PM

Okay this one is getting pdf'd for posterity. I am not sure, that when in fifty years, they open the file (once located) that they will find it as funny as I, but they'll sure ask some questions!

This is the funniest thing I;ve read in a long time and I really needed it today Tony. Thank you!

Posted by: cooper at December 3, 2005 11:46 PM

You should also forward this to the Dannon yogurt company people, because their kiddie yogurt, "Danimals" has the same problem. But their "lids" are mostly paper with that fake foil-type stuff on the inside and I ALWAYS end up ripping it in half and it never comes all the way off. Then, when my small children stick their tongues in the container to LICK OUT any remaining yogurt (that their spoons somehow do not reach), they always complain about the "paper that gets in the way", blah blah blah. Very sad. The poor children. Won't someone think of the children?!

Posted by: angie at December 4, 2005 3:53 PM

I think Swiss Miss and the rest of them are all in cahoots with the American Dental Association, if that's the name of the national cohort of dentists. Think how many things we end up using our teeth for, and the negative results thereof.

Cahoots, I tell you. :)

Posted by: Katy Raymond at December 5, 2005 8:02 AM

I have a SWIS ARMY KNIFE its pretty handy and some come with real amount of attatchments

Posted by: sandpiper at December 19, 2005 9:28 AM