Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Twelve Days of Halloween: Day 8

On the eighth day of Halloween, my true love gave to me:
Eight misshapen Milk Duds,
Seven s'mores a-melting,
Six Resse's pieces,
Four gummi worms,
3 Musketeers,
Two deviled eggs,
And a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Coffee

Milk Duds have a strange appeal. There are better ways to consume chocolate and caramel together, certainly. And unlike M&Ms, Milk Duds do melt in your hand. Or, if you are gripping one of those tiny Trick-or-Treat boxes in a sweaty palm, they melt in the box, thus forming a solid, unbiteable, undigestable lump. But when there are Milk Duds around, I have to eat them. When someone buys a box at the movies, I always dip in. I know they will stick in my teeth. I know they will be sickeningly sweet. As usual, my problem is too much "know" and not enough "no."

From The Straight Dope, we learn the origin of the name Milk Duds: "The Milk Duds name came about because the original idea was to have a perfectly round piece. Since this was found to be impossible, the word 'duds' was used."

The Dope muses on that questionable PR decision:
On the one hand you have to wonder what kind of marketing department sits around and thinks, "Hm. How can we call attention to the defects of our product?" On the other hand, there's a sort of heroism in this approach. Here's the product development team, contemplating a bunch of nonspherical chocolate covered caramels lying forlornly on the lab bench. Their leader speaks: "You know, boys, if this were New York or Los Angeles, we'd go nuts trying to put a positive spin on this, like here's the alternative candy for those who aren't afraid to be a little off-center and blah blah blah. But this is Chicago. I say we just call a spade a spade."


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