12 June 2009
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Mutant Cereal and the Law

Some people will stop at nothing to make a few bucks.  I just recently learned about a lawsuit in which plantiff Janine Sugawara complained that Crunchberries (the cereal) contained no actual berries and wanted, well, money.  An exegesis of this case in the Lowering The Bar legal blog is well worth reading.  Here is an excerpt.

In this case . . . while the challenged packaging contains the word "berries" it does so only in conjunction with the descriptive term "crunch." This Court is not aware of, nor has Plaintiff alleged the existence of, any actual fruit referred to as a "crunchberry." Furthermore, the "Crunchberries" depicted on the [box] are round, crunchy, brightly-colored cereal balls, and the [box] clearly states both that the Product contains "sweetened corn & oat cereal" and that the cereal is "enlarged to show texture." Thus, a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into believing that the Product in the instant case contained a fruit that does not exist. . . . So far as this Court has been made aware, there is no such fruit growing in the wild or occurring naturally in any part of the world.

Hallelujah!  For once, in this legal quagmire that is the United States, a judge makes a commonsense ruling against a frivolous lawsuit.  Which gives me hope for the success of mine.  The last time we visited my breakfast cereal of choice, the Bite Size Frosted Mini-Wheat Lightly Sweetened Whole Grain Wheat Cereal, we discussed at length the Reward of the Residue ceremony and the lack of tribological scintillation in the exemplars I scrutinized.  I also failed to identify any numina in the cereal items themselves that would make me an eBay millionaire.  But we can hardly charge the manufacturer with that; the cereal box nowhere says "Now, With Stigmata!" in large type.

Mini Wheats package excerpt:  "Bite Size" What they do claim however, and prominently so, is that each wheat is "bite size." Imagine my shock, then when I discovered that my favorite cereal had committed fraud. 
Mutant Mini-Wheats with a normal conspecific The middle Wheat, similar in size to most of its cohorts is, indeed, bite size.  But look at the surrounding Wheats:  It's as if two normal specimens have joined to form a monster.  Clearly the package should have been labeled "Monsters Inside!" or, at the very least, "Bonus:  Now with Mutant Wheats!"

Clearly we consumers are being treated with derision and this must not be allowed to pass without legal action.  This is still America.

I'm going to contact my class-action lawyer right away.   I feel it would be best to avoid the courtroom of Judge England, the jurist in the Crunchberry case.   Although I do believe he reached the correct decision there, that doesn't necessarily mean he isn't in the pay of the cereal lobby.  Worse, he may enjoy Wheats for breakfast and won't want the price to increase based on his unfavorable decision.

If you are like many blinkered conservatives who feel that "consumerism" is getting a bit silly, you should be aware that I am not seeking enormous damages in this case.  The "relief" for which I will be petitioning the court is simply that they pay someone to come to my home every morning to check my breakfast lid and separate any conjoined Wheats found therewithin.  I am not asking for a full-time person by any means.  I think that $100 on every day ending in "y," i.e., days on which I have breakfast, would suffice.  I am a person of moderate demands and temperate demeanor.  If you don't believe that, consider this item I found on the same Wheats package photographed for this article:

Mini Wheats are Clinically Shown to improve kids' attentiveness by nearly 20% Would anyone else let that go by without legal action?  What if a kid suddenly became 25% more attentive.  (And would anyone want a kid to be that attentive?)

And how about the Wheat with the eyes, arms, and legs. Despite their being depicted as part of the package, not a single gesticulating, talking Wheat can be found in the box. 

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