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No Gold Star for You

Every so often, I enjoy store-bought breakfast cookies with my morning coffee. When I was growing up, my parents would occasionally buy a certain brand of Italian-style breakfast treats. How I loved them. The soft anise flavored sponges and the S-shaped cookies were my favorites. They still are.

Today, I decided to indulge in these cookies. Earlier than usual this morning, I headed out to my local really big super duper store to fill my tummy with some of the cookies I knew since childhood. After only finding four types of cookies made by that certain brand, they came home with me.

As the cookies rested on the table, coffee beans whirred in the grinder. Hot water mingled with the oils, filling my kitchen with that warm, intoxicating coffee aroma.

Wanting to satiate my Italian-style cookie craving, I began to cut the plastic coverings. When I grabbed the anise flavored sponges, my heart sank. Short of time and without thinking, I had put my trust in my really big super duper store and just grabbed. To my dismay, the company stamped date said that the cookies were two months old.

I figured it had to be a mistake. There was no way really big super duper store could have kept these cookies on their shelves for this long. Upon further package inspection, I found no customer service number for the NC-based company. After all, they were bought by a larger snack making company. Fortunately, their website had a number.

The lady on the other end of the phone was nice enough. She told me that there were no printing mistakes on their packages. It was the store’s problem—they probably kept them in the back all that time—and I should simply bring the cookies back. No apologies.

Well, I had no intentions of eating two months old cookies. But, the other cookies had decent dates. The coffee had finished brewing and my tummy grumbled for cookies.

I placed one of each of the remaining cookies on my plate, then filled my mug full of dark, steaming deliciousness. The first bite of my S-shaped cookie disappointed my tastebuds. I found myself washing the cookies down with my coffee instead of having the cookies compliment my coffee. The cookies tasted burnt.

After finishing my first cup of coffee, I loaded my expensive brand cookies in the car. Two miles later, a woman in a blue vest handed me back my money.

Across the street from really big super duper store is local independent grocery store. Inside the older designed store, a little bit of everything graces their shelves. I found another cheaper brand of Italian-style cookies. Glancing at the package, the dates were great. The company makes its cookies in Brooklyn, so I decided to take a chance.

When I got home, I refilled my mug and my plate. The new cookies delighted my tastebuds. I discovered some new favorite store-bought Italian-style cookies. Next time I want to indulge, I will avoid the long-standing brand cookies that I have always gotten and purchase these new found cookies.

Bottom line: Sure, I placed my trust in companies to not sell me outdated food. I should have been more vigilant in my reading of poorly printed dates, but that does not give companies a pass.

Companies need to be on top of their products, whether they are the producers or the sellers. When they disregard the consumer, they go from a gold star company to one made of lead.

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