Recently, I noticed a popular brand of juice had changed it’s labels. The abstract surfers I knew and loved had been replaced with photos of famous athletes – though I preferred the look of their old labels the flavor of the juice remained unchanged and I no longer felt guilt over disposing of containers I considered beautiful.
However, I was not prepared for how this change of packaging would affect the children to whom this product was mainly marketed.
The reason I had all this individually wrapped juice laying around was that I planned to give it away to Trick-or-treaters as per Halloween tradition.
The first child arrived and I was met with a stare that made me believe she really was the medusa. Sure, juice wasn’t exactly candy but I figured the kids would get thirsty trekking all over the neighborhood. I noticed she was pointing to the biceped wrestler on the package with a look of confusion on her face, but I didn’t quite get it yet. “I want a girl one” she said. “This one’s for boys.”
Oh come on, I thought, it’s juice, but she insisted. I could have stood my ground but it was the parent’s job to deal with that sort of behavior, my job was to give her what she wanted so that I could get to the zombies waiting patiently in the yard.
I searched the box of juice packets and sure enough there was one that featured a slim gymnast with a pony tail and perfect teeth. I noted, with no small amount of puzzlement, that it was the same flavor as the wrestler box. “Here ya go.” I said, assuming she was just an odd kid.
Little did I know that the fact there were far fewer “girl ones” then “boy ones” was going to be an issue. Fortunately boys often insisted on “boy ones” so I never accidentally wasted a “girl one” on a boy. Now if the children mistakenly thought the flavor of the juice was linked to the personality featured on the box I might have gotten girls wanting boys or vice versa.
But no – girls always wanted girls and boys always wanted boys. I wondered if the kids in line heard my first argument and assumed this was how things were done. I also wondered if this was a game they were determined to play with me.
The night ended with three boxes of juice packets still unopened. I put them in the fridge and forgot this riddle of juice box gender until I shared some with a group of children whose dog had wandered into the yard. They were visiting at one of the neighbors and wouldn’t have been present for Halloween but lo and behold – they also wanted their juice personalized.
Had Capri Sun juice unwittingly created a new tradition among children? Were the boys afraid their friends would tease them if - heavens no - they were seen consuming a beverage from a container that pictured a girl? A container that would be thrown away in the two seconds it takes to drain a packet of Capri Sun? Did the girls think that drinking out of packets with pictures of men on them would spontaneously turn them into big, smelly, wrestlers, complete with uniform?
Or was it that they thought drinking what the gymnast endorsed would make them pretty, or drinking what the wrestler endorsed would make them strong like most of us who subconsciously respond to ads? Oh but there are more then two sides to a juice packet. The box is only temporary it’s what’s inside that counts. The packet is meant to be thrown away but the contents come in many flavors and go on to have zany adventures like causing you to run rampant thorough the house destroying everything in your way.