We always hate to see Halloween go, because it’s been so much fun to look at skulls in the stores for six weeks. At one of the grocery stores I frequent there’s a big witch head with blinking eyes. I can’t recall what she’s selling. Cheez-Its? Some cookie injected with FDA-approved orange dye to indicate it is the 10th month of the year? It’s possible I’m blanking on the display’s true purpose because it uses that stupid phrase:
“Snacks so good they’re scary!”
Really? No. No one throws a party, puts out a bowl of chips and hears someone shriek, drop their plate, turn pale and huddle in the corner, rocking back and forth and saying, “They’re only Chive and Basil Triscuits, they’re only Chive and Basil Triscuits.”
Hey, you OK?
“No! Those snacks! They had a unique flavor profile that awakened some ancient terror, and now I feel like an ape in the African savanna a million years ago, confronted with something outside of his experience! The snacks are too good! It’s terrifying!”
You hear this all the time in various permutations. The most common: “Prices so low, they’re scary.”
Hey, man, take a look at these 4K TV prices. They’re … Say, are you OK? You look like the other night at the party when you had to breathe into a paper bag because the Triscuits exceeded your expectations.
“No, I’m not OK. I’m mortified. I have to sit down.”
Dude, you’re trembling like a chihuahua at a timpani concert. Is it the low, low prices?
“Yes! Of course it is! Don’t you see? Oh, you can chalk it up to the economies of scale, but I’m telling you that China is reduced to selling top-end goods at the slimmest of margins, and that suggests profit pressure through the electronics sector that can only mean the government’s GDP factors are wildly inflated and the long-dreaded property bubble is about to pop. Of course I’m scared.”
It’s just a slogan. I’m sure there’s a substantial profit built in.
“Oh, yeah? Really? South Korea’s biggest shipping company goes bankrupt before the holidays, and that doesn’t signal a downturn in global trade? It’s a house of cards. And I just saw two people on the sidewalk, faces aglow with the light of the cellphone, muttering, ‘Chilean copper production is ramping up to support domestic employment, regardless of the demand.’ There’s no telling where it will all end.”
Relax. A kid comes to your door, if you ask, “What are you supposed to be?” He doesn’t say, “Historically low commodity prices based on oversupply.” Unless his parents work for an investment broker, I suppose.
If that’s the case, go to the parents and give them Fun Size Milky Ways and tell them to lighten up. “Look, it’s Halloween. We’re all on edge. But I’ve ridden out a few commodity cycles, and you know what always helps? Caramel. Here.”
These ads, in short, have Halloween backwards. It’s not scary because it’s so good. It’s good because it’s scary. This is why I go to parties dressed as a 1977 home-mortgage interest rate. I just draw “17%” on a T-shirt. It makes some people faint.
Either they’re Realtors over 55, or they just had the Triscuits.