After working through dinner and quite late into the night, I realized that I should have eaten many hours earlier. When I put myself in that situation, my food judgement tends to revert to that of a six-year-old.
So as soon as I walked into the house, I threw my bag into a chair and cracked open the freezer and fridge simultaneously, for maximum food visibility. And lo, there were crunch-covered ice cream bars, a rare (maybe first ever) sight in our home.
I pulled one out, anticipating a garden of creamy delight, and went to work. It struck me–even in my famished state–that this was not good. Sugary ice-milk with a waxy cocoa shell: pretty typical store-brand fare.
But though I could have walked away after one bite without remorse, I was bound and determined to treat myself, so I continued eating. My mind wandered, possibly from the boredom of this so-so snack, and I started reading the wrapper. Hey, it’s something to do.
On the back, written in an airy font, I found one last hope for this snack to get interesting. I imagined it would say “Midnight is a great time for an ice cream bar–just unwrap quietly,” or some other whimsical musing about the nature of indulgence. I looked closer.
“Units not labeled for individual sale.”
I longed for a popsicle stick with a knock-knock joke, anything to enhance my enjoyment of this ice cream bar.
Is a revelatory, escapist fantasy too much to ask for from a store-brand bulk food item? OK, maybe. But with a few carefully-placed words, I would have had a different story to tell, about how a 67-cent, wax-covered ice-milk bar was my day’s most hedonistic, decadent moment.
Don’t forget to be whimsical! It only takes a small amount of effort to look for places you can add brushstrokes that will turn your customer’s experience from generic to memorable.