Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The wind between the mountains


Denmark banned Marmite, and Marmite - like Brexit - splits the nation down the middle to such an extent that it is used as an illustration of how one thing can be loved or desired by half the population and hated or despised by the other.

Never mind that Marmite is owned by a global commodities company, when Denmark banned it, us Brits took it as a personal insult and an international incident almost took place.

Then the global owners threatened to take it off the shelves of British supermarkets unless the supermarkets meekly accepted a 25% price increase. Rather than tell the owners to stick their Marmite up their arses where it probably came from in the first place, we rended our garments and promised to pay the increase, just so long as we could still buy it.

The supermarkets are currently undergoing a life or death price-war with each other, so many of them are reluctant to put up prices by passing on increases to their fickle customers.

Marmite is the by-product of the beer-brewing industry, so it would be perfectly easy to make something identical and call it something different - like Not Marmite - but branding and the loyalty to brands is everything in the world of food retail. H.P. Sauce - with a picture of the Houses of Parliament, the very  Mother of Parliaments - is made in Holland and owned by the Dutch, but we like not to think about that as we pour it all over our Full English Breakfasts.

Christmas is coming and - as every Brit will tell you - no Christmas here is complete with a bar of Toblerone chocolate somewhere in the room, whether or not it gets eaten.

Ever since I was a kid, I imagined that Toblerone was made in Switzerland (and not just the product of more than one E.U. country), because the packaging actually has a picture of the Swiss Alps on the box, and their advertising says that the triangular shape of each piece on the bar alludes to the mountains thereof. My father loved the stuff, and ate a giant bar every Christmas. He liked it so much that we did not call him 'Dad', but by the nickname, 'Tobe'.

Well it turns out that Toblerone is an American company, and they have just announced that due to the fall of the pound as a result of Brexit, they are not putting the price up, but decreasing the size and selling it at the same price.

So the two main sizes of their bars of Toblerone - the best-sellers - will have great gaps in between the skinny mountains!

Everyone in Britain associates eating Toblerone with the danger of breaking teeth - especially in the cold weather of Christmas - and what is more extraordinary is that we have come to view the danger almost affectionately.

Those U.S. marketers have not done any homework at all. When I was a kid, everyone here ate a chocolate biscuit called 'Waggon Wheels', then the company that produced them, made them - by annual degrees - smaller, rather than put the price up. They did it in a sneaky way and thought we wouldn't notice. Americans, being American, just come right out and say what they are doing.

For a few years, you would hear people ask, "Have you noticed how Waggon Wheels are getting smaller?" It became a catch-phrase. Then people just stopped buying them.


115 comments:

  1. One of my favourite snacks: tinned tomatoes on brown toast 'buttered' with marmite.

    There's a little corner shop in Vienna called Bobby's where you can get things like marmite, bovril, typhoo tea etc. even wagon wheels I think I've seen there.

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  2. I like Marmite and Bovril ... and Waggon Wheels .... I like food !!! .... do you remember Creamola Foam ? ..... it must have been Chemicals - r - us with it's lurid colours and alarming foaming ability !! XXXX

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    1. Oh I remember Creamola Foam. I loved the strawberry flavour. I used to drink it when I got home from school (must have been in the mid fifties) It was a powder in a tiny tin, if we're thinking of the same thing! Ah! Sweet (very)) memories

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    2. Yes! I would have been addicted if my parents didn't think it too expensive. My sisters put me off it deliberately by burying a worm in an empty tin, then digging it up months later. I never forgot that...

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    3. Years later as an adult (of sorts) I discovered Space Dust, which made your head rattle. It was so addictive that they actually banned it, but you can probably still buy it on the Dark Net.

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    4. You can still get Space Dust ...... it's now called Pop Rocks or Fizz Whizz .... I think that they changed the name because crystal meth's street name was Space Dust !!! XXXX

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    5. And ordinary amphetemine is called Whizz. And crack cocain is called Rocks...

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  3. Speaking of Toblerone, not only do they say the pieces represent mountains, and it's produced in Switzerland, they specifically name Berne. To reinforce this (subliminally) If you look at the pic of the mountains you will 'see' a bear (the symbol of Berne) climbing up the side. I'm not joking, but just don't ask me how I know this. I think it must be my medication There are subliminal messages in other brands too. ie Amazon if you look you will see that the arrow beneath it starts at the A and ends at the Z, thus telling you they get things from A to Z quickly. This isn't much help if you don't live anywhere near Z, but it still seems to be a bit unethical. I could give you a lot more examples. In fact there's a website devoted to this subject. I would tell you more, but the nice young men in their clean white coats have just arrived to take me for a little outing.

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    1. I will look out for the bear. I like those conspiracy theories attached to marketing - like the KKK on Marlboro cigarettes, and the glamorous lady in the body of the camel in Camel cigarettes, said to beput there for the entertainment of troops in WW2... I think those men will pick me up after they have collected you...

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    2. If this mornings headline predictions are anything to go by, we'll all be joining you and Lesley ! Marmite and Toblerone will be the very least of our worries.

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    3. Us Brits are not allowed to live in Austria any more.

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  4. We used to be able to buy Branston pickle here in Ontario. Then, for some reason, it changed. The flavour changed, the jar changed, we were told it is now more "North American". This has upset my husband who loves the stuff (the original stuff). It doesn't bother me because I despise the flavour. Just threw that out there, since we're talking about imported food. -Jenn

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    1. They probably added maple syrup and cinnamon to the ingredients.

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  5. Rather a lot for me to read here but in a nutshell Kraft took over Toblerone and later Cadburys.

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    1. I'm pretty sure that some other umbrella took over Kraft too. Maybe Unilever...

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    2. Various splits and a Heinz merger

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    3. There is a 'stocks' app on my phone. Maybe I should look at it.

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    4. You dont need to when you' ve got me

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    5. Yes indeed. You also said that Trump stood no chance of winning, and you were always right. Well you were wrong about his chances, but we will have to wait until about 3.00am before we know about anything else.

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    6. Wednesday morning: Share prices have tumbled worldwide.

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  6. I HAVE to tell you this (you were right, John) - you know I complained about the size of the keypad on my iPhone? Well I just discovered that I can talk to it and it dictates all text. AND IT WORKS WELL! Unfortunately, H.I.'s is not equipped with the same facility. She's now jealous, and I'm back to worrying about her fingernails.

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    1. Don't worry - her fingers are smaller than mine - she'll just have to cut off her beautiful nails... Only joking!

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    2. Oh god....my blood pressure is high enough today...had a run in with a rude bitch earlier and now face a 5 grand bill for new heating

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    3. BANG!!! (The sound of your arse bursting).

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    4. I like the idea of you having a run in with a rude bitch John, hilarious

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    5. So has Prince Harry's girlfriend, you fucking racist.

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    6. (I am taking on the Trump technique of character assination. I have learned a lot from this election)

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    7. I just need to learn how to spell it - BUT NOT AS MUCH AS JOHN!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    8. Oooch again....I'm mortally wounded

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    9. C'mon - group hug... you know I love you... (71)

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    10. Seventy fucking nine, actually.

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    11. And just to round it up to 80, you KNOW I never buy cheap shoes. Mylast pair were £450. How much were yours?

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    12. Maybe I am the stupid one, but I don't think I will ever need to buy any more shoes at my age.

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  7. So just to recap: if an article remains at the same price and is smaller in weight or size then the purchaser is getting less for their money and that is not a price rise ?
    Oh gullible people you are being conned again!

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    1. What is gullible about being told you are about to be ripped off?

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  8. I've also discovered I have 2 new followers - come out! Show yourselves!

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    1. Really? You should handle my fan mail, but John needs you more than I do.

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    2. No he doesn't; he's got over a 1000 followers, remember

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    3. Have I missed something? Wasn't that my point?

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    4. He manages them himself

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    5. Or just ignores them. He's already got two jobs.

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    6. AND he has a lot of dog-shit to clear up before he goes out.

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  9. I don't like the new Toblerone design. Big mistake. Although I don't remember the details, I think that Einstein had some sort of connection to the patent on the original Alpine design.

    Sneaky inflation is all around us.

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    1. Einstein? I could understand Rolls Royce having something to do with the design, but Einstein??

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    2. I think he might have been working in a patent office. I'll have to look it up sometime....

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    3. Yes, please do (I'm only replying to boost my comments count and piss-off John!)

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    4. Careful what you wish for... (78)

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  10. I am not a Toblerone fan -- though I do have to make sure other members of the family get their fix at Christmas. No, what I am addicted to is Terry's chocolate orange...

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    1. They will probably end up hollow - with no orange - and square.

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  11. Today's newspapers actually thought this news-worthy enough to illustrate Toblerone bars, ancient and modern.

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    1. And I thought it important enough to write a post on it.

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    2. And ended up with 20 odd comments. Amazing.

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    3. You sound like me smart arse!

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    4. You're the one with the well-known arse.

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    5. He's in a mood because we got more comments than he didx

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    6. NYA NYA, NYA NYA NYA-NYA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    7. 57 and counting - and not one arse involved, unless you include yourself.

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    8. Ooooooch...so sharp Thomas...so so so sharp

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  12. It may be to do with a heavy dose of Old Fogeyism that we think things have changed, usually for the worse. But the governments are still dictating our eating and drinking by insisting Less Salt, Less Sugar, Less Bad Fat(?), Less Alcohol, Less Quantity giving Less Quality.

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    1. Yes, but who takes notice of government dictats?

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  13. I think one 'newbie' is me. I thought I'd clicked the 'follow' button ages ago, but I hadn't!

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    1. Ah! Welcome. You aren't my sister, are you?

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  14. Trump may be right; it is ALL rigged.

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    1. Trump is an idiot. Every intelligent person knows it is all rigged - except the ones who will vote for him.

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  15. Possible then. I was 71 on Monday and have 1 brother 20 years older and 1 18 years older.

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    1. No, I am striking you off my Christmas card list - especially since my Lesley is a Jehovah's Witness.

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    2. I'm not a Jehovah's Witness. I'm a Pagan. but I still like Christmas

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    3. Christmas IS Pagan, and was until it was hi-jacked by Christians. In one way, we are all Pagans, especially at Christmas time. There is no reason to be bothered by Christians reminding you that it is all about the birth of the baby, no reason to feel guilty. The classic Christian values exist in every good religion, and - better still - exist outside of any religious framework at all.

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  16. There are more things in heaven and earth than we dreamed of Tom - or something like that. I hate Marmite and I don't eat chocolate, so shall focus my worries on other things.

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    1. Such as what? You don't seem to allow yourself to be troubled by anything these days, which is something I find very attractive about you, Weave.

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    2. The other thing I find attractive is that I know that - once you have left a comment - you never return to a post.

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    3. She's 83 for fucks sake she hasn't time

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    4. At least she doesn't even have a reply button to ignore.

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  17. I come from a long line of Pagans, with a few Primitive Methodists thrown in (What's your comment count now?)

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  18. Don't ask what we threw them in.

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    1. What did you throw them in? (77)

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    2. Cheap cider. How many's that? It's going to be a long night! I'm about to switch to news channels to see where our world is headed. To hell in a handcart probably, but it will be an interesting ride, one way or another. No-one can say we live in boring times.

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  19. If nobody returned you'd be on 13 comments.

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  20. Just to let you know, it is a dark and stormy night here in the UK, and my immediate plan is to get into bed, plug myself into the radio and listen to the all night coverage of the U.S. election right through the night, drifting in and out of sleep as I do so.

    This to me is a delicious prospect, nomatter what I have said about my fears to do with any outcome, because it will be like listening to a tragic saga of an ill-fated voyage on the high seas, from the comfort of my boudoir - a distant marine disaster if you will.

    Let's face it, in the very near future these moments will become very few and far between, and they are not making any more Harry Potter films as far as I know, so I am going to wallow in the all-night drama while I can.

    But, My Fellow Americans, let this comment not stay your hand in furnishing me with even more comments (than I deserve), rather let it be a spur for you to play your part in this historical (or hysterical) night during which I WILL REACH 100 COMMENTS FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm sorry, but my voice is going now - I sound like Hillary - but in the golden dawn of tomorrow's light, we will begin a new era, and era of hope for the common people; an era of hope for the uncommon ones as well - IN THE WORDS OF GLORIA GAYNOR, I WILL SURVIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Cue Aaron Copeland rip-off).

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  24. Oh for fucks sake let the old fucker reach 100

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  25. My 'reply' button has stopped working. I blame Putin, but it could just be Google's system groaning under the weight of all these comments. They did not think that I would ever get so many, but then again they didn't expect Trump to get so many votes either. They just didn't think ahead.

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