Wednesday, July 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Franckly speaking: Led by my palate into violating my principles

By
From page A6 | March 02, 2012 |

Marion Franck. Democrat photo by Megan Jeremica

This is the story of a love affair, my love affair, a passion that I admit embarrasses me.

What was so special? Why did I get so attached?

It was the firmness, the sweetness, the hint of spice. But, like every romance, it wasn’t perfect. The first serving, before I got to the honey oat clusters, was always a little chalky, and the end of the box had too many broken flakes. But the mid-section — about 7 servings’ worth — was firm, sweet heaven.

I enjoyed six years of bliss, eliminating other breakfast foods, becoming a one-cereal gal. I had an even better relationship with Smart Start than with my husband, because it snapped and crackled but never talked back.

This all began with one box of Toasted Oat flavor that got into my house I don’t know how. I liked the taste but planned to cut myself off when the box was empty. Then one day I found myself tiptoeing down the cereal aisle at Nugget, checking for possible column readers. When I was sure I was alone, I slipped a new box into my cart.

You may wonder why I cared about column readers.

One month earlier I had written a scathing column about what I viewed as the Kellogg Co.’s revolting manipulation of our emotions to sell cereal.

Kellogg’s owns the Smart Start brand. In a TV ad, they used a grief-stricken middle-aged woman (possibly an actress) to imply that Smart Start was part of the “balanced diet” that might have kept her sister alive.

Smart Start claimed that part of their mission was to prevent heart disease in women, but it all seemed money-grubbing and hypocritical to me. I wrote the column in a self-righteous rage.

After publishing that column, I should never have allowed a crumb of Smart Start cereal to cross my lips. Instead, I began to eat it because I loved the flavor.

I bought more boxes and nobody caught me. Soon I had abandoned other breakfast foods and was eating Maple Flavor or Toasted Oat every morning. I even had my own special way of mixing it with Ezekiel 4:9 cereal to reduce the calories and add whole grain. I did this for six years.

I could have kept this quiet forever, except for what happened next.

In 2011 Kellogg’s began readjusting their offerings. Maple flavor became harder to find and Toasted Oat started jockeying for shelf space with Smart Start AntiOxidants, a self-serving hussy of a cereal with lots of gobbledygook about health benefits and a lousy, sticky consistency.

Then Maple disappeared entirely and Oat became elusive. I looked all over and found it at Rite Aid. When my local Rite Aid emptied (they had plenty of AntiOxidant), I drove to more distant Ride Aid until I couldn’t find it there, either.

However, when visiting my daughter in Madison, Wis., I ran across it at the local supermarket, unfortunately 2,000 miles from home.

My family joked about my visiting every two months with a large suitcase. My daughter asked which was more important, my grandchildren or my cereal.

The large luggage was cumbersome, so I was thrilled when I discovered that Amazon.com not only carried Toasted Oat but would regularly send me a carton with six individual boxes inside.

But last week, they send me an e-mail.

“We’re writing to let you know that we are no longer able to offer Kellogg’s Smart Start Cereal, Toasted Oat, 15.2-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6) as part of the Subscribe and Save program at Amazon.com. We have canceled your subscription and no new orders associated with this subscription will be created. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

“Inconvenience” my foot.

Disaster.

I rushed to my computer and checked Kellogg’s “discontinued products” list. Toasted Oat wasn’t on it. So I scoured the Internet looking for other distributors. In the end, the only place I found that claimed to still have the cereal was the supermarket in Madison, Wis.

I’m in Madison right now and yesterday we shopped. I planned to buy every box of Toasted Oat. I knew I was postponing the inevitable, but don’t we all do that when we feel we’re losing something, but haven’t lost it yet? As we began down Aisle 6, I got nervous.

My 2-year-old grandson stated the terrible truth. “Grandma’s cereal isn’t here.”

The shelves overflowed with AntiOxidant. Toasted Oat was gone.

“Should we ask a manager?” my daughter said, looking sympathetic.

“No,” I sighed. “It’s too late.”

“Write a letter to Kellogg’s,” my daughter suggested. Normally, I’d agree: when you lose something you love through no fault of your own, it’s wise to write a letter.

But I shook my head. This was different. I’d been financially supporting a product whose advertising I condemned in print. I had been hypocritical; I deserved this fate.

Nevertheless, if you see a lost soul wandering the cereal aisle, please say “hello.” I need sympathy. I need help.

Marion Franck is a columnist for the Davis Enterprise. She is a part-time resident of El Dorado County.

Comments

comments

.

News

 
Heard over the back fence: Attorney to warn about scams

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Road zone of benefit protester reaches dead end

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Six file for Dist. 2

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

District 2 candidates forum Aug. 14

By News Release | From Page: B1

 
EID ditch customers get relief

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1

Veterans receive wildland fire training

By News Release | From Page: B1

 
Market data open for local biz

By Ross Branch | From Page: B1

Volunteers clean up national forest

By News Release | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

My turn: Special interests at EID

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

 
Russian metastasis

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

The Democratic-Chronicles: Not invented here

By Gene Altshuler | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Small Farm compromise

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
EID and Dale Coco

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

DA hogging Main St. parking

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
CAO and staff hiring friends

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Altshuler’s hypocrisy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
.

Sports

Sharks defeat Loomis Basin in season finale

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Celebrity golf at Tahoe

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Roundup: July 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Dolphins ring up another title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Dodgeball: Not the national pastime but …

By Shane Theodore | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Prospecting

At a glance: Comets to meteors

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Taste the best at the State Fair

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Tractor Supply Store recognized

By Uc Cooperative | From Page: B3

 
Amador Fair honors cowboys

By Amador County Fair | From Page: B3

 
Arbor Day book helps to identify trees

By Arbor Day | From Page: B4

 
Learn about lavender and its many benefits

By Christian Women's Connection | From Page: B4

Lee’s Feed appreciates customers

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B5

 
My Time meeting in August

By Senior Day | From Page: B5

Builders’ Exchange honors scholars

By El Dorado Builders' Exchange | From Page: B5

 
En garde at Silver Screen Classic

By Auburn Silver Screen | From Page: B5

.

Essentials

Weather stats 7-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 8-10

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Walter Vali

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Jean Lachelle Taylor

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Arthur J. Funston

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Thursday, July 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8