Monday, March 10, 2008

The Crunchy Cheez Doodle Affair

As a kid, I never really liked cheese. If the family went out for pizza, we would have to stop at McDonald's (a whole other story, whoo boy) and get me a burger. Cheese looked nasty and I wanted no parts of it. It messed up the taste of hamburger, made a pizza look like someone with a cold had blew their nose on it, and on cracker did something to my mouth that made swallowing it impossible. And I love Ritz.

But sometime in high school, I discovered of all things - a cheese flavored snack I liked. Don't ask me how.

I ate Cheetos on Friday nights when my brother I watched the Dukes of Hazzard (which is another amazing story in retrospect) and we'd go through a whole bag in an hour. It's one of those moments you look back on think how great childhood was, forgetting now that bedtime was 9:30pm, dinner was what was put in front of you and your mother picked your clothes. Let's just say my mother and I don't share the same style.

Then sometime either in high school or right when I got to college, I switched to Wise brand Crunchy Cheez Doodle. An air puffed crunchy confection that saw me through the best and worst of times.

If I only had five dollars with which to buy groceries for the week, I would waste a buck and change on a bag.
If I only had two dollars for lunch, they sold a snack bag for fifty cents at the union.
If I had more than few dollars, I'd buy two or three bags.

After I graduated, I kept up the habit. And when I moved to Atlanta I can say I honestly based my shopping habits around if the store carried them or not. Kroger didn't carry them but Publix did. I became a Publix shopper. There were days I'd pop in after work and in an aisle chock full of chips and dip, pretzels and the like, that blue bagged cheez-like crack would be the only thing they would sell out of. I had discussions with management over why they didn't keep more on hand. That and why Publix doesn't sell Orange kool-aid, which is still a mystery (I can however, order it according the manager.)

When the Internet start up only paid me in their tissue paper like stock, I ate the CCD.
When I was on a diet and could eat no carbs, I snuck the CCD.
When I had no other snack food in my house, a bowl of CCD and tall glass of koolaid were enough.

Then, somebody real bright decided to change the forumla. Make it MORE cheezy.

Look, if I wanted a real cheese flavor, I would I cheese?

So I tried it. And for the first time in my life, I wrote a company to complain about their product. Okay, I wrote them on the internet, but I still wrote. I expressed digust and dismay. I told them this story (not verbatim, but close) and they sent me back a lovely thank you for writing email. In other words, they brushed me off.

I would wander up the chip aisle at the grocery store, hungry for a chip...but nothing caught my eye.

Or rather, something did catch my eye. Wise brand Crunchy Cheez Doodles. Where I used to have to search for a bag, hoping for one last one in among the potato chips, there now were ten or twelve bags of the new stuff just sitting there. In the past they sold out regularly, now... apparently I wasn't the only one! There was hope!

So I waited, checking periodically, hoping somebody's brain would finally kick in and say "Hey, the new stuff isn't selling, let's go back to old stuff before we run off our market!" But apparently they need to hire someone with a MBA in common sense at whoever owns the Wise Brand...I forget who it is. This maybe two years ago.

Last week I went in Publix and there were NO Crunchy Cheez Doodles of any kind. It looked like there wasn't even a space for them in the chip racks. It made me sad. Oh what I would give to taste that semi cheezy like flavor once again...alas.

Barkeep...Orange koolaid. To keep the memory fresh.

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