Current Affairs

The “Snacks Madness” Roundtable

In which the tedium of quarantine reduces your editorial board to arguing about snack preferences but also leads to a discussion about what “consumer choice” really means.

This week, we discuss the question of whether Triscuits are good or bad, among other matters of importance. Controversial portions of the discussion have been excised for legal reasons.

NATHAN J. ROBINSON (EDITOR-IN-CHIEF):

Trader Joe’s feels like living in a fairly well run communist state.

Wait—is the Joe in Trader Joe STALIN??

BRIANNA RENNIX (SENIOR EDITOR):

Please write this conspiracy theory.

ROBINSON:

I can’t believe I never put it together. I feel like that guy who saw the 31 in the Baskin Robbins sign for the first time.

I really like the communist conformity aspect of Trader Joe’s though. Like instead of having to choose between Jif and Skippy and four other peanut butters, there’s just “the peanut butter,” chunky or smooth.

ELI MASSEY (CONTRIBUTING EDITOR):

And they also have the food shortages! Like sometimes they just stop carrying a product and you’re shit out of luck. Oh you wanted the candied ginger that you’ve been enjoying fiendishly for the last six months? TOO BAD! We’ve discontinued it. 

Just like in the Soviet Union, is what I’m trying to say.

ROBINSON:

I bought capers today and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I didn’t have to choose between different kinds of capers. There was one kind of capers, in a one-sized container. So if you want capers you just buy it.

RENNIX:

I mean it’s like that whole article you wrote about how North Korea’s food packaging is actually super charming.

ROBINSON:

Rennix please do not summarize it, when you summarize it it sounds insane. But I do want a lot less consumer choice and a lot more uniformity. Like do you know how many fucking different types of Triscuits there are?

RENNIX:

It’s important to me that we all agree on the right kind of Doritos before we switch to full communism though. No fucking “Cool Ranch.”

ALLEGRA SILCOX (BUSINESS MANAGER):

Nacho Cheese.

RENNIX:

Yes. Thank you.

SILCOX:

We all have a Cool Ranch phase, but you gotta come back to the classics.

NICK SLATER (NEWSLETTER EDITOR):

One of the only things I miss about U.S. junk food is Nacho Cheese Doritos. Everywhere outside the States they just have Chili or Tex-Mex, which are uniformly garbage. (My most cancellable opinion in this crowd: Nacho Cheese Doritos > Cheezits.)

ROBINSON:

29. There are over 29 VARIETIES OF TRISCUIT.

  1. Original
  2. Whole Wheat
  3. Reduced Fat
  4. Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil
  5. Rosemary & Olive Oil
  6. Organic
  7. Wasabi
  8. Cheddar
  9. Cranberry (ew)
  10. Sriracha
  11. PUMPKIN SPICE (my god)
  12. Fig and Honey
  13. Roasted Red Pepper
  14. Hint Of Salt
  15. Balsamic Vinegar & Basil
  16. Gouda
  17. Roasted Garlic
  18. Roasted Coconut and Sea Salt (blerg)
  19. Ginger & Lemongrass
  20. Sea Salt and Pepper made with Brown Rice
  21. Sour Cream & Chive
  22. Dill, Sea Salt, and Olive Oil
  23. Wasabi and Soy Sauce (different from wasabi Triscuits)
  24. Fire Roasted Tomato
  25. Olive
  26. Garden Herb
  27. Four Cheese and Herb
  28. Tzatziki
  29. Avocado, Cilantro, and Lime

RENNIX:

None of these should exist because Triscuits are a garbage excuse for a cracker. They’re like oh, you wanted a snack, here, have a thing that tastes like a doormat and makes your mouth dry out.

SILCOX:

That’s the problem with so many crackers. Hence my butter-based cracker preference. I go for like a Ritz, something that’s basically just solidified butter, ready for cheese to put on top of it.

RENNIX:

The consistency of the Triscuit is just uniquely bad though. Like there are bad crackers and then there are Triscuits. What the fuck were they even going for.

SILCOX:

Yeah the texture of a Triscuit is a literal doormat.

ROBINSON:

Yes, that is my point. The Triscuit is an objectively bad cracker. The point is that a third-tier cracker has an absurd level of variations far beyond anything anyone could possibly want. I may write about this actually…

SPARKY ABRAHAM (FINANCE EDITOR):

I like Triscuits. Good with hummus or guac.

RENNIX:

I accept the principle that anything becomes basically edible when slathered with enough hummus or guacamole. But beyond that? No.

ROBINSON:

Sparky, you like hummus. You don’t like Triscuits. Do you all agree with me that there are too many different kinds of Triscuits?

MASSEY:

No, I say let a thousand cracker flowers bloom.

ROBINSON:

But cracker flowers do not bloom. Crackers have to be made by people.

CATE ROOT (ADMINISTRATIVE MAVEN):

I agree with you, but it’s a lower-tier grocery store injustice. Even worse than all the Triscuits is the fact that there are thousands of brand names in those stores, tens of thousands probably, but they’re all owned by essentially five or six companies.

ROBINSON:

So you are saying, the problem is not Triscuits, the problem is MONOPOLY CAPITALISM?

SILCOX:

I struggle with this. Do I want there to be 80 brands of razors and they’re 90 percent identical but different packaging for men and women and dogs? No. But will I stab a bitch who tries to discontinue Sour Cream and Onion Lays? Yes. Yes I will.

ROBINSON:

Sour Cream and Onion is a normal and necessary potato chip variation.

SILCOX:

But if someone comes in and says “baked chips only,” I will also stab.

ROOT:

I would abolish Lays. 

ROBINSON:

Original, Reduced Fat, Sour Cream & Onion, BBQ, and Covered In Cheese Dust. These are the correct chip variations.

ROOT:

You need Salt & Vinegar, Nathan. Also, kettle-cooked chips ONLY.

SILCOX:

NO, KETTLE COOKED IS BAD BAD BAD BAD. SALT & VINEGAR IS BAD. I HAVE STRONG FEELINGS ON THIS.

ROOT:

Salt & Vinegar is not my fav combo, but it’s a classic, period.

SILCOX:

People can have it, I just won’t allow it to be The One True Chip Flavor at the Commie Commissary.

ROOT:

I reject any notion of an exclusive “One True Chip.”

SILCOX:

I agree, hence my hesitancy to endorse flavor exclusion efforts.

MASSEY:

Anyway, the bad Triscuit crackers exist because there’s a market demand for them.

ROBINSON:

I don’t understand how that can possibly be true. I really don’t.

MASSEY:

Companies are rational and will only continue to produce products if people buy them.

ROBINSON:

Also I have tried several of the variations and they are not as good as original Triscuits.

MASSEY:

Low bar.

ROBINSON:

Well exactly. But at least the Triscuit is a kind of solidly mediocre cracker thing.

MASSEY:

Delivery system for hummus.

ROBINSON:

The market has made its demands. The American people have spoken with their wallets, and they say “we demand Pumpkin Spice Triscuits.”

MASSEY:

Maybe they don’t demand it, but if it’s out there, they’ll buy it.

ROBINSON:

I feel like the Triscuit company has not checked though how much of the demand for the Triscuit variants is just people grabbing a box at random. I would be interested to know how much Triscuit sales actually go up when they add a flavor. Like how do they know anyone is pleased with this?

MASSEY:

I bet they get letters. Can you imagine the type of person that sends letters about crackers?

ROBINSON:

Yeah, but what about the consumer like me who grabs a box of Triscuits, doesn’t realize it’s “lime-flavored” and then just goes “what the fuck is this” without following up in a letter?

ABRAHAM:

Maybe after we ban the varieties of Triscuits we can also impose monocultures on our apples and potatoes. My fellow editors want to put Triscuits at risk of extinction. Biodiversity is good.

ROOT:

I think humans should stop INTERVENING in the creation of Triscuits, let them thrive on their own. Don’t you dare take my apple varieties.

ABRAHAM:

Ah, if only your apple varieties weren’t the result of millennia of human intervention.

ROOT:

Scatter Triscuit seeds and let them grow, Spark.

SILCOX:

I don’t want fewer flavors, I just want Triscuit factory workers to be able to afford to buy themselves better crackers.

LYTA GOLD (AMUSEMENTS AND MANAGING EDITOR):

Late to the party but: Cheeze-Its are infinitely superior to Doritos, eating Triscuits feels like swallowing spikes and/or some form of medieval torture device, kettle-cooked chips are good, salt & vinegar is bad. 

OREN NIMNI (LEGAL EDITOR):

Kettle-cooked is good, salt & vinegar is good, food variety is good. This is not poop emoji pool floats. This is food. Variety is fine, good, and necessary. Triscuits are fine, they are not the best, but they are not terrible and many people like them. Also, they are different enough from other crackers to be justified.

ROOT:

Oren Nimni shockingly comes out in favor of Cranberry & Pumpkin Spice Triscuits.

NIMNI:

Not those Triscuits. Dear god, I’m not a monster.

SILCOX:

How many Triscuits get bought every day because people are just too curious about the flavor not to try it?

ABRAHAM:

I bought tzatziki ones recently and regretted it.

SILCOX:

And the business manager at Triscuit showing graphs right now about how viable the tzatziki Triscuit flavor is, not knowing that it was just an initial wave.

ABRAHAM:

You don’t think they understand the model? Ride that first wave while they develop ajvar or whatever’s next. You can thrive on novelty purchases as long as you don’t run out of ideas. It’s like infinite economic growth.

SILCOX:

Thanks, I hate it.

ROBINSON:

This is what we’ve caused the climate crisis in order to get btw. Infinite triscuits.

RENNIX:

There needs to be a Triscuit extinction event.

A TRISCATASTROPHE, if you will.

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