Sunday, June 10, 2007

writing for lemons: part II

If you read writing for lemons-part I, you know exactly why I was sitting slumped at the breakfast table drinking cold coffee.

The shears were being returned. Unopened. I reached for the bag of groceries I’d brought in and started unpacking and ... unpeeling.

Every piece of fruit and veg I’d bought, from bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, apples, lemons, to cucumber, tomatoes, and squash, had an annoying little sticker very firmly attached to the skin. Oh, please!

I began washing and scraping the stickers off two dozen lemons. What words of wisdom are sellers trying to impart to consumers, I wonder? What could possibly be of such great importance that it has to be announced on every single piece of fresh produce?

Was it a health warning about pesticide use? Or had lemons suddenly been linked to cancer? Or brain tumors?

I grabbed the Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass (again) and hovered the lens above the label. Hmm … it ... says … ock!! “LEMON.”

Now, I know firsthand that decisions in corporations are rarely made quickly. So I imagine a typical scenario in making such an earth shattering revelation, and wonder: Who wrote the copy on that? And what was their fee? Was the writer with an ad agency, or was he/she plucked from the marketing team? Who developed the concept? Approved the proof? Did it get redlined and redrafted? Did they use an editor to make sure it was spelled correctly? And most importantly: How many branding hours were billed?


If they are going to take the time to label every piece of food for us ijeet consumers, shouldn’t they also offer the explanation in Spanish? “Limon.” Or is this a subtle way of teaching the English language? You know, like we had labeled picture books in kindergarten … table, chair, bed … lemon.

Seems I have more questions than answers. But, I guess if you can get it, writing for lemons would be a pretty safe gig.

22 comments:

Keshi said...

:) cute Bibi.

Keshi.

dinahmow said...

Hmm...Maybe, instead of wasting my time on blogging, I should get back to crappy copy-writing in a crummy ad.agency.Then again...I never made any money then .
Sometimes, shopping, like life, IS a lemon!

DesLily said...

As Maxine likes to say: When life hands you lemons... stick them in your bra.
Can't hurt... might help.

Ian Lidster said...

I would like very much to have that gig, Vicki. When I think of some of the paltry writing fees I earn for relatively complex stuff, I cringe at what I think some people make for perpetrating the uncalled-for.
Of course in Canada, which is 'officially' bilingual (unofficially everybody west of Quebec speaks exclusively English) everything must be doubly labeled so, if you are confused in Canada you will know that it is a 'lemon/citron', just in case there is any confusion.

Ian

benjibopper said...

the may contain nuts of fruits.

also, i just gotta point out that there are francophone regions of canada at least as far west as manitoba.

John Ivey said...

Very clever, Bibi, very clever indeed! And funny, too...

deirdre said...

Nothing like stating the obvious. I'm always amused by directions on soap and warnings about electrical appliances and water. Lemons. Hmmm. I'd never have guessed they needed official naming. I peel those things off in a state of irritation too.

Pamela said...

Bibi picks six lovely yellow lemon and rolls them into the plastic bag. (She sighs, and wishes that the store still had the little brown bags that she could use to carry her lunch.)

A few more stops in the produce aisle, and then a trip down the dairy aisle where she carefully reviews the "purchase by" dates on each container. "MMM, Tillamook Mountain Blueberry." she whispers and takes a deep yearning breath of anticipation.

Last stop the check out.

"What kind of fruit is this?" asks the cashier.

"Those are lemons." Bib replies.

"But," the cashier spouts, "It doesn't say lemon anywhere on them...!!" and reaches for the intercom and screeches into it:

Produce, LINE SIX.

.......... to make a long story short, each lemon has to have a little sticky on it so that everybody along the food chain knows its story.

Bibi sets the lemons in her fruit basket on her kitchen counter. Lemon side up!

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I'm keen to know what the Font was on those stickers, and whether or not high or low grade glue was approved.

Such important factors in the fruit labelling business.

Really.

Ant said...

OK, in an unusual tack for me, I'm now going to piddle on this parade of sarcasm: my sister works in the food industry and one of the things she noticed upon moving to Oz was the lack of guidelines (cooking, allergies, ingredients, etc.) on food packaging, compared to that on display in the UK.

Working fairly high up in a national supermarket chain, she mooted the possibility of adding this information and was comprehensively laughed out of town - partly because the Ozzies thought it was "bleeding obvious mate" and partly because there seemed to be a natural resentment against anything suggested by a pom.

Whilst adding a label that says "lemon" is taking the piss a bit, I can actually see the value in adding as much information as possible. Not being a regular fruit or veg junkie, I know that there are some items of produce that I do not have a fecking clue what they are, and would be quite grateful for a sticky label saying "kumquat" or whatever...

kj said...

bibi, i think those labels are all about the computer system knowing what to ring up and at what cost. that satisfies an inexperienced cashier, inventory control, pricing, and identification. what it doesn't do is help you and me in the least.

you have hit on a topic near and dear to my irritated heart. and what about automated phone systems? you could do a ten part series on that alone.....

:)

Kiyotoe said...

i used to think about how o get a job writing the movie descriptions on the back of the DVD case. that would be a SWEET gig for someone like me who loves movies and has a small aptitude for the written word :)

if you hear of any "movie description on the back of the case writer" positions, pass it along ok? Thanks ;)

Ces said...

I hate those labels especially on bell peppers. Do you want your stir fry with red bell peppers with ticker or no sticker?
I read that consumers are complaining and they are coming up with laser technology where they actually laser cut the labels on the fruit or vegetable peel.

Ces said...

I mean sticker not ticker. I hate those stickers they are a ticker to me :-)))

Bibi said...

Yikes, I'm far behind this week but I thank you all for your comments!

You made some really great obvservations and obviously most of you loathe those sticky stickers too!

Very funny, Ultraa toast and Pamela, and Benjihopper. And Deslily, love Maxine!

Keshi, John, as always, appreciate your visit and participation. ;-)

Ant and KJ, I agree with food labeling on packaged foods, but me thinks we're in sad way if a cashier really needs to read "lemon" to ID a fruit. There's no bar code on there, it's "branding" id.

Ian, Kiyotoe, Dinahmow, I had a gig like this when I first made a career change ... it was about how to mix your dog's food. Needless to say I got out of that asap. I used to think writing book jackets would be sweet, but turned out to be rather boring...but will look out for those movie blurb gigs! ;-)

Ces, we knew you meant sticker ;-) And good to hear that they're looking at other options ... hope it's not going to mutilate our food even more!

Appliances and phone systems, yes, Deidre and KJ, that would be a whole other ten-part series!

Boy, did I get everyone! It's been a crazy, crazy week ... have a great weekend all. ;-O

MSU gal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MSU gal said...

hey! i'm looking for a new writing gig because my current one is a real lemon!

lisage said...

nice work if you can get it huh?
would be pretty boring tho.

Keshi said...

Bibi u got my recent post spot on! TY :)

Keshi.

Bibi said...

msugal, LOL, but are you comparing with apples with apples?

lisage, I wouldn't enjoy it.

keshi, one genius to another. And it was lovely. ;-D

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Janette said...

Good Question.

My husband and I are new to the blog world but, so far it has been great.

We blog firstly, because we have a unique parenting experience going on and need an outlet for the dialog. (Actually I found a place on cafemom.com but Robert felt left out. So we started our own)

I'm happy he is writing outside of work and it seems less precious for me. I can as you say stay on topic or just type on whats going on in my mind.

It also makes a great record to embarras the kids with later !
:D