The Infamous Pop-Tart PR Fiasco

I once worked at a quality-control hotline for Kellogg during the infamous Pop-Tart PR fiasco of the early 90s. A third of the US population tried to sue the cereal manufacturer with claims that the toaster pastries caught fire, burned down their houses, caused irreparable harm, physical deformation, catastrophic wounds, intense felony-level property damage, and chronic frequent urination. In that pre-internet era, there fortunately weren’t millions of people finding out about the lawsuits, jamming forks into toaster or spraying the whole unit with sterno to cop a quick settlement payout. Word spreads on these things, like when some dumb fucker says they find a severed finger in a can of Pepsi, and all of a sudden, every red-state half-illiterate genius showing up at the main office in Purchase, New York with a claim that they found an eyeball or a thumb or a penis or a gopher or a chunk of weapons-enriched plutonium in their can of Mountain Dew, three-liter of Faygo, or cup of Wendy’s chili.

The temporary job kept me chained to the phone line, answering calls for fifty, sixty hours a week, talking to dumb idiots who put foil-wrapped packets of Pop Tarts in their microwave, despite the fact that every package said “DO NOT PUT IN THE MICROWAVE, YOU DOUCHEBAG!” in 48-point glowing red type. I’d walk home every night, beaten and fucked, my soul burned alive by the screaming of flyover state geniuses who ate nothing but Fritos and toaster pastries for all ten meals every day. In bed at night, I couldn’t sleep, visions of greasy kitchen fires and type-a personality disorder Pentecostals showing up on my doorstep and unloading a .44 revolver in my face like I was an abortion doctor or high school science teacher. I quit after a few weeks, ate rice for a month and eventually found a job evacuating peoples’ bowels and installing Windows software at a cut-rate colonics clinic just outside of town.

Years later, I’d fuck a girl that would only put out if I had unfrosted cherry Pop-Tarts in my house, and I was so desperate, I’d buy the frosted ones, carefully sand off the frosting with an orbital palm sander, and then repackage them in the old foil with some superglue around the edges. This normally worked, but she eventually got Cyanoacrylate psychosis when I tried to fuck her with a pair of wrapped Pop Tarts, and she locked herself in my bathroom and babbled on about Lyndon Johnson starting a UN war of aggression against Texas with drone strikes while he was on the crapper. I bribed a local Korean dry cleaner to flood the room with airborne nitromethane, but the relationship was effectively over.

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