Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Juicebox Conspiracy

With the distinct exception of this column, the price of darn near everything has been rising lately. This includes, sadly, that staple of the school lunch - the juicebox. Those little rectangles of liquid joy now cost more per ounce than gas and even (gasp!) beer:

  • A four-pack of Hansen's Junior Juice (4.23 ounces each) costs $1.59, or 9.4 cents an ounce.

  • A 24 ounce can of Coors Light costs $1.99. That calculates out to 8.3 cents an ounce, over a penny less per ounce. (Plus you can recycle the can and make something back for all your drinking efforts.)

Blame it on rising fuel prices? Hmmm...seems they can factor in the same transportation costs that beer does. If you must know, a gallon of gas is about $4.29, or about 3.35 cents an ounce (128 ounces in a gallon of gas). But please, enough about gas already.

There was something amiss here. A teensy box holding barely a gulp of apple-vapor should not outprice the nectar of the hop-gods. I sensed a conspiracy. A juicebox cover-up, if you will. Stuck between record prices and thirsty kids, I for one was not going to take it anymore. I would fight back. I would start my own juicebox embargo. First I had to sell my kids on an alternative. And I got started on that by questioning the coolness factor of the juicebox.

"I've been thinking," I told my kids. They've learned that this comment is a red flag, that some ugly new edict is about to hit the fan. "Those juice boxes you take in your lunches....do other kids still drink them, too?"

"Well, yeah, of course," my boys replied, their eyes narrowing as they anticipated my next brain sprain. "Why do you ask?"

"I was just thinking how, well..."

"Well, what?" They knew something was up.

"For you guys, they just seem a bit....young."

One of the worst things you can tell a child is that an esteemed tradition he counts on daily, that bolsters his new-found confidence as he swaggers across the playground, should go the way of his crib. Never had they considered that those little boxes with the pain-in-the-butt, thread-the-needle-and-squirt-everywhere straws would be 'unhip.'

They looked at each other. "Well, what else are we supposed to drink?"

Soda was out of the question. That stuff rotted teeth, packed on the pounds, and was just as pricey. Wheatgrass, green tea - sorry - I'm not about to flaunt my faux Green World views through my minions. Think about their therapy costs!

A water bottle with a Jolly Rancher candy in it would probably suffice. But with my luck, I'd get busted on the 'choking hazard' issue. Everyone is sooo litigious lately.

Maybe it was time to think about swapping out a Juicy Juice for a Coors Light.

Although hops are considered a vegetable, I knew that if I gave my children real beer, some PTA NARC would come banging down my door, so I researched the non-alcoholic brews. O'Douls came in nicely at 8.3 cents an ounce, a full penny under the evil juiceboxes. I opted for cans, since glass is not allowed on school grounds. I could save even more by serving my kids Old Milwaukee NA (non-alcoholic), at 4.9 cents an ounce, but I love my children and want only the best for them.

To be considerate, I got my youngest a beer-cozy, so he wouldn't flaunt his brew in front of his DARE teacher. Nothing is crankier than a cop who can't drink on duty. It's kinda cute, with an LAPD logo on one side and an ad for "Uncle Louie's Bail Bonds" on the other.

It warms my heart to know I'm helping to keep so many of those horrid, waxed-paper boxes and cellophane-is-forever straw wrappers from littering our beautiful landfills. Even better, I'm now in the process of arranging a 'can-drive' for the school, recycling the beer cans for money. We will quickly raise enough to pay for a 'cease-and-desist' court-ordered injunction against the school magazine and cookie dough fundraisers. Those campaigns are enough to drive you to drink.

2 comments:

Rory L. Aronsky said...

I'm going to see about getting you nominated for a Pulitzer for "Considerations on Underage Drinking as a Cost-Cutting Measure." Seriously. This column needs awards. Lots of them. Big, shiny medals and even bigger, shiny checks.

Annie said...

Aw, thanks, Rory. You da man. ;)