Written in 2002 for my old website, “Super-Crazy Action Boy”. Yes, she’s right, it’s the principle, and the packaging was deceptive. But $50 million? Good lord, whittled down to what? $1 million? Still a hell of a lot of money. I mean, you shouldn’t be eating a lot of these things in the first place. They’re snacks.
Meredith Berkman seems like an alright type, if you read the follow-ups to the “OMG!” articles. And I’m sure she’s not actually obese. That said: $50 million. Go ahead and laugh.
Woman Sues Cheezy Puffs for Not Making Her Unfat
Frivolous Lawsuit Prompts China to Grant U.S. Most Foolish Nation Status
NOTE: As an admirer of cheese, I refuse to acknowledge cheeselike food product by any other name than “Cheeze”.
According to AOL News, a woman who ate cheeze snacks actually gained weight. Suspecting the two to be somehow related, she’s decided to sue the company for way more than it could possibly be worth. Much respect.
A Manhattan woman is suing a snack food company for $50million, claiming its cheese puffs ruined her diet. Meredith Berkman says Pirate’s Booty corn and rice puffs contained three times more fat than the amount advertised on bags. The freelance journalist claims the incorrect labelling caused her to gain weight and suffer emotional distress.
The New York Post says she’s vowed to donate any proceeds from her case to a centre for eating disorders. Robert’s American Gourmet Food recalled its Pirate’s Booty line in January after tests revealed the mistake. Researchers from the Good Housekeeping Institute found the snacks contained 147 calories and 8.5 grams of fat, while the label said it contained 120 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.
Ms Berkman, 37, told the newspaper she was shocked when she noticed the label had changed. She has refused to say how much weight she gained. She said: “I was eating a lot of this stuff. A lot. I know there are many more serious issues in the world today than this, but it’s a question of truth in labelling.” The snack company claimed the discrepancy was a result of new machinery which changed the nutritional information listed on packets. The company has not commented on the court case. A statement on its website says the changes to labelling made Pirate’s Booty “a more consistent and better snack.”
Your emotional distress isn’t worth 50 million. Neither is mine. There’s a guy suing American Airlines for 50 million because his wife died in the World Trade Center. Are you actually claiming the loss of a spouse rates as emotionally severe as crying cheezy fat tears over being fat? You eat, you gain weight. You move, you lose weight. I’m not sure how much you’d have to move to work off a bag of cheeze puffs, but it’s got to be at least a long flight of stairs, so I can see the problem.
Public awareness aside, 50 million dollars? I realize they only sued for that much in order to procure 1 million after bargaining down and lawyers’ fees, but she just admitted it was a facetious lawsuit and that she ate tons of cheeze puffs to file it.
And that’s coming from a journalist. In Manhattan. Which means when she says she knows there are bigger problems in the world, she should really know there are bigger problems in the world. There’s a crater the size of a city block outside, and the Yankees lost the World Series to a bunch of third-string retirees. And even if we don’t all have anthrax, global warming’s going to submerge half of the city before her lawsuit even gets settled.
Did she think she was pulling a Subway Jared? Guess what. Subway sandwiches have meat, vegetables, bread and cheese. That’s all four food groups. Cheeze puffs are made from mealworms and plastic, and possibly oxygen, if you count that as fattening. But if you ask me, this woman isn’t getting nearly enough oxygen.
Any snack with “booty” in the name is guaranteed to make you fatter, no matter how you match it with the rest of your diet. And if she’s really trying to stick to a meal plan, where does snacking on bag after bag of cheeze puffs fit into it? By my calculations that means the rest of her diet is Wonder Bread and V8, except the V8’s been dripped through a strainer, and she only eats the bread twice a week.
Plus the difference was like…20 calories and six grams of fat. The only thing that qualifies me to make a statement here is my super-crazy action-fast metabolism that allows me to eat meals the size of my torso and stay svelte (which is Russian for “gangly”). So don’t think I’m an expert when I say that 6 grams of fat, after you’ve burned, converted and stored it, comes out to maybe 1 gram for you to keep. And without bothering to learn math, I figure you’d have to eat two dozen bags of Pirate’s Booty in a day to gain a single pound.
Also, you’d smell like cheeze for days afterward once the teflon-cheddar dust started to come out in your sweat. That I could see her suing over. But 6 grams of fat? At best, they should pay for her Weight Watchers membership and give her free snacks. And those snacks should be marked with the correct nutritional information. So when they hand her a stick of celery, they should first have someone write “-10 calories” on the side of it, but only after they calculate the nutritional value of the ink to get the total.
For anyone who’s never read The New York Post it’s about two clicks north of a tabloid, and that little bit only because they have a good sports section. (I mean, it is a tabloid, but I speak of content, not format.) Coincidentally, they employ Ms. Berkman. Right. And while you’re reading this story, I’d like you to remember this is the same newspaper that gives Professional Terrifying Hag Liz Smith her own page to tell you what brand of auto insurance Ben Affleck has.
I’m not blaming them for cooking up their own stories, because I got an article out of it, too. But I do blame them for engineering a story about a woman suing over weight gain who refuses to say how many pounds she’s put on. That’s unethical and half-assed, and we here at SCAB can only tolerate one or the other. In other news, I’m suing TV for damaging my eyesight, though I refuse to take a vision test. Just give me my money, dammit!
And this isn’t an insane woman who sits around all day playing video games. This is an otherwise respectable journalist who writes about stories you might want to read.
Look, all I’ve done is write two pages about a fat woman’s ridiculous lawsuit, and you’ve already laughed hard enough to not only respect me, but offer gifts to my firstborn child. So you have to give at least that much credit to Ms. Berkman, who covers New York City happenings and managed to interview Kathie Lee Gifford without bursting into laughter. That’s one thing I haven’t done, and another thing I couldn’t do, right there.
So you figure she was probably turning in an article, yakking it up with her editor, when she mentioned this weight gain thing, and the editor took the ball and ran with it. Ten minutes later, Ms. Berkman is propped up on an entire storyline, a righteous lawsuit, and a needy charity. And the poor lady fell for it. Not only won’t she get any money for herself or anyone else, she’s just publicly accepted the mantles of Fat and Stupid, something most of us spend our lives trying to escape. And before you write in whining about how there’s nothing wrong with being either, remember that Meredith Berkman said there was, not me. I just stood by and nodded approvingly.
What I’d like to know is where Ms. Berkman and the Post, who is surely backing her play legally, get off suing Pirate’s Booty for 50 million dollars and donating it to the eating disorders. The only eating disorders I can think of are bulimia and anorexia, and either one of those people shouldn’t try to lose any more weight. So if anything, by lying about how many grams of fat they have, Pirate’s Booty has done more to fight anorexia than Meredith Berkman, The New York Post, and Calvin Klein’s ridiculously stupid ad campaigns all put together.
Do you know what it takes to get me to side with a corporation? Only stupidity of so great and toxic a level it could sear your brain if you considered it directly. Did they think it wasn’t obvious what they were doing? Yeah, you’re right; there are more serious issues than whether a bag of cheeze puffs is four times as fattening as you thought. Like the number of idiots who think buying crap is like playing the lottery. Sooner or later, you’ll get burned or stabbed or poisoned, or in this case, stuffed with porky goodness, and you’re entitled to a seven-figure check.
Well guess what? The world doesn’t work like that. As of December 2000, we’re no longer a democracy, and while that means we have to watch a President made mainly of paper-mache and alcohol ream the world to make his family bigger billionaires, it also means something good: the idiots aren’t in control anymore. It doesn’t matter how many of you there are. It doesn’t matter if you’d throw out your journalistic integrity to generate a two-paragraph publicity story. You are no longer the kings of the kingdom. This is the new millennium, and it belongs to Super-Crazy Action Boy. Eat that.
Oh, I’m sorry, was the bigger issue truth in advertising? Well hell, at least advertisers admit they’re trying to manipulate you. That’s why they’re called commercials; they’re there to generate commerce. What do you call it when a reporter and her editor put together a story of their own then give it page space? Here’s a tip: aside from the full-page comic strip, Joseph Pulitzer didn’t do much to improve the newspaper medium. So don’t imitate his methods just because his name is on the prize you’ll never touch.
But don’t think I’m saving all my super-crazy action rage for a couple of doofuses at one of New York’s lesser papers. I see you, the Robert’s American Gourmet Food company, trying to hide in the corner. How exactly did your snack get to be four times as fattening as you said it was? That’s not like Good Housekeeping just happened to measure one of your greasier batches of cheeze puffs, or one of your scientists dropped a decimal somewhere. Four times is a pretty hard number to overlook. It’s right in the middle, where you can’t miss it.
Not that you bother to explain that. You just admit the truth after you’re forced to, then claim it’s “more consistent and better.” I don’t really see how the snack is made better, unless you’re trying to gain weight, but “consistent” is about as close a word to “honest” as corporations are allowed to say.
It’s kind of like how there’s no word for “slow” in Japan, only “little by little.” Which means if you’re a Japanese corporate raider who’s been lying to your customers, your statement of apology would read something like, “We thank you for your interest in Osaka Squid Products. We respect your opinion. Of recent, many customers are writing to us expressing worry over the inclusion of razor blade in Squid Tentacle Lunch Pak. This is no concern. Little by little, we have removed razor blade in order to deliver a more consistently-labeled Squid Tentacle Lunch Pak to you. Please continue to enjoy our product. Thank you.” And so on, only you’d write it in Japanese, because you’re in Japan.
And come on, that’d be funny.