“Hey Larry, could you pass me some more cardboard?”
“Absolutely, Jim. This might be the best snack I think I’ve ever eaten.”
“You mean, even more than the congealed beach sand with recycled shredded newsprint we ate yesterday?”
“Yeah, that was real good. But this new cardboard seems to have just the right balance of slurry, coagulants and polymers. And I really like the Japanese maple leaf mulch seasoning. I mean how do they come up with delicacies like this?”
“Careful, Larry, you’ve got some crumbs on your khaki shirt and if you don’t brush it off right away it’ll blend right in.”
“You got any of that dust-bunny pudding your wife makes. Man, I really like that dessert.”
“Well, I don’t have any of her pudding but I do have a few of her organic red clay brownies if you want one.”
“Man, can you believe how well we eat since we’ve joined this company?”
“I know, and later today we're scheduled to taste something made with real stuff.”
“Sometimes I think we’ve died and gone to heaven.”
Later in the marketing department.
“Hey Phyllis, have you tasted the new chips they want us to write about?”
“Not yet Jack, but the taste testers are absolutely raving about it.”
“Well, I don’t see why we need to eat any since the paid taste professionals are giving it their all thumbs up.”
“Right Jack, besides I’m already on that new grapefruit pith diet. We’ll just go with their assessment.”
I can only imagine that these are the kinds of conversations that must go on with some of the people at a certain nameless snack company whose product I recently tried. It was a potato chip flavored “with real spinach, artichokes and olive oil.”
Now, I like artichoke and spinach dip, ever since my eldest daughter introduced it to me at the Fizz bar in Chicago. They call it Artichoke and Spinach Fondue and it is really, really good.
So when I picked up this bag of “all natural” potato chips and read the back of the bag blurb, I thought I’ve got to have some of this. What it said was, “…it is the most flavorful snack you will ever experience.”
So my first thought is, they’ve somehow managed to marry the flavor of Fizz’s fondue and a potato chip. But not only that, they’ve managed to taste all flavorful snacks from everywhere around the globe, determined what is the absolute best of the absolute best, and arrived at “the most flavorful snack you will ever experience.”
Plus they put it in a nice big, colorful bag with good fresh-looking depictions of an artichoke and spinach leaves.
How could I go wrong?
Before I tasted their “most flavorful snack [ I ] will ever experience”, I made some very wrong assumptions.
First, I assumed that the people who had developed the taste of their chip must have tasted real food that was actually tasty. After all, they used the words “flavorful snack.”
Second, that the individuals who had written the copy on the back of their bag had not only actually tasted the chips in question, but had also tasted other foods to provide them with real-world comparisons.
Third, that the copywriters were honest in their evaluation of the product
Fourth, that they understood when to, and when not to, use hyperbole. Of course, a sub-assumption here is that they understood what hyperbole is.
And finally, that just because “the most flavorful snack you will ever experience” was on the 50% clearance table, didn’t mean it didn’t taste good, it could mean that it was a promotional or introductory price. (Ignoring of course that it was on the “clearance” table.)
So what are we to learn from this?
When you see words like most or best, coupled with the word “ever”, it’s a fairly good bet that it’s not true. The exception of course can be found in the following sentence: “The Eclectic Chalkboard is the best blog on tips and tricks for living the greatest eclectic life ever.”
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