Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Common Parlance: Safeway Cake


A long time ago, I was in a Safeway and happened to look over at the bakery counter.  A man working there had five, unfrosted cakes in front of him and a large, white bucket.  The bucket caught my attention, because it looked like the kind you got at Home Depot for home-maintenance tasks, like emptying out a toilet or catching leaks from a sink.  The man reached into the bucket and brought out a handful of viscous, brown sludge and then dropped a glop of it on each cake with a flourish of his wrist.
I think Hansel and Gretl were on to something.
I slowly realized the sludge was chocolate frosting.  He was frosting the cakes with his hands.  It was, from that day forth, that I swore never to eat a cake from Safeway.  The problem is, in spite of the fact that cakes from Safeway are gross (and flavorless), people seem to buy them with alarming frequency.  Maybe it’s because they’re cheap.  Maybe it’s because Safeway gives kids a free cake on their first birthdays.  Maybe it’s because parents have no taste.
"But, honey, it was FREE!"
Normally, those who buy Safeway cakes and I would pass each other on the streets without incident, but I have children now, and children have birthday parties.  And their friends have birthday parties.  And the parents of the friends of my children try to get me to eat Safeway cake.

“I’m on a diet,” I explain, “and so I have to watch my calorie intake.  I really don’t want to waste my calories on a cake from Safeway that was frosted by some sweaty guy who couldn’t figure out where they keep the spatulas.”

Strangely, some people take offense at that.
"Eat the cake!  You don't want to take it home, do you?"
The Safeway cake is symbolic of the problems all dieters face: something you feel you should eat, even though it tastes bad and is bad for you.  So, from now on, if you see anything that is bad for you and tastes bad, call it by its name: Safeway Cake.

Next time, I’ll cover the alternative.

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