I’m not at liberty to say how a secret message came for you today

And now, perhaps the most ridiculous story I’ve shared in any electronic space.

First some background: I, like around 12,000 others, am a yearly participant in the world’s largest trivia contest in the sleepy burg of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Because of this, I do a lot of things the many would find strange. I page through magazines that don’t interest me to scrutinize the details in print advertisements, and endure episodes of Kath & Kim because it may eventually be valuable to know the character name Phil Knight adopts when he attends a Renaissance Fair. And sometimes I purchase products that I don’t necessarily want.

Which brings me to Oreo Fudgees.

Nabisco has been making Oreo cookies since 1912. The runaway success of the brand has led to multiple variations, especially in recent years. Recently, I spotted the Fudgee derivation in the grocery store.

I added this item to my cart solely and specifically because of the promise of “three fun dunking messages.” The “Delicious, Rich, Fudge, Filling” held no appeal for me. Nor did the “Perfectly dunkable shape.” But those fun dunking messages on the other hand. They were the pathway to Trivia Weekend glory, especially since only one fun dunking message could be discerned through examination of the packaging.

When I got it home I lifted the easy open pull tab to get at the chocolate fudge filled sandwich cookies inside. I yanked the first one out and immediately spotted the Fudgees logo design on the cookie. Surely the fun dunking message was on the other side. But I flipped it over to see the exact same nondescript information. No fun. No message, dunking or otherwise.

This still seemed reasonable. With three different messages, the necessary variety of cookies could lead to a few baked treats without anything special whatsoever. So I grabbed another cookie. Nothing. And another and another. Finally, every cookie was out of the package and not a single one had a fun dunking message.

So I did what any responsible consumer does. I called Nabisco.

The nice person who answered the phone asked abut my motivation for calling. I explained my dismay, causing her to ask “So the only thing wrong with the product was the lack of messages on the cookies?” with the withered tone of a person suddenly overcome with pure hatred for her job. She put me on hold as she went to retrieve information or maybe just express exasperation to a coworker. When she returned to the line, she, by professional necessity, offered me an apology with the same measured sincerity she’d use if I’d complained about finding mashed up bugs evenly dispersed throughout the cream filling. She indicated that the problem was probably attributable to an error at the plant and noted that I’d soon be receiving a coupon in the mail to acquire a new package of cookies. She then, undoubtedly to her regret, asked if I had any additional questions.

I asked what the “three fun dunking messages” are. She told me she didn’t know. I expressed puzzlement about this. If she didn’t know, I asked, how did she know there actually are three fun dunking messages? She said she checked information in her computer. I asked what the computer told her. She said, and I quote, “That there are three fun dunking messages on the cookies.” I asked if there was anyone there who’d know. She said she could transfer me to that office, but cautioned that they likely wouldn’t call me back with the desired information. She insisted the best way to gather the information I covet is to wait for the arrival of the coupon and to secure a new package of Oreo Fudgees.

This story clearly isn’t over yet. The next step is discovering if my underwritten bundle of cookies is an aberration or cruel evidence of corporate ruse. I await my coupon. I’ve still got about three months before the possession of the desired information is critical.

(Posted simultaneously on “Jelly-Town!”)

Posted in Uncategorized

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