It’s a dog-eat-pumpkin-spice world… and I’m wearing whipped-cream underwear
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For more than a decade, I have been using this column to rage against the ever-growing pumpkinification of North America.
In case you have been in a coma for about 19 years, I am referring here to the out-of-control trend wherein manufacturers of everything — from house paint to underarm deodorant — feel compelled to pump up their products with pumpkin spice.
In truth, the pumpkinizing of consumer items began when coffee giant Starbucks introduced its now-ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte in 2003, but in the years since this dangerous trend has become a runaway Pumpkin Spice freight train that threatens to turn everything in its path into a giant blob of pumpkin-pie-scented goo.
The fall has come to be defined not by crunchy leaves, wool sweaters and trick-or-treaters, but by the fact that the moment you walk outside in the weeks from September through November your nostrils are assaulted by the stench of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves.
For the record, I don’t mind SOME things smelling and tasting like pumpkin spice, but I am driven into a blind rage by the insidious campaign to make EVERYTHING smell and taste like pumpkin spice.
If you don’t believe the Pumpkin Spice Industrial Complex has unleashed a tidal wave of Pumpkin Spice Madness, consider the following list of just a few of the products you can currently get your hands on: pumpkin-spice Oreo cookies, pumpkin-spice doughnuts, pumpkin-spice soda pop, pumpkin-spice low-fat yogurt, pumpkin-spice chewing gum, pumpkin-spice aftershave, pumpkin-spice underarm deodorant, pumpkin-spice beer, pumpkin-spice whisky, pumpkin-spice candles, pumpkin-spice Cheerios, pumpkin-spice body wash, pumpkin-spice house paint, pumpkin-spice cream puffs, pumpkin-spice-scented sneakers, pumpkin-spice Twinkies, pumpkin-spice cream cheese, pumpkin-spice salsa, and pumpkin-spice Jet-Puffed Marshmallows, to name just a few.
For $19.95, you can even purchase a “Pumpkin Spice Glimmer Bomb,” which you dump into a glass of sparkling water before adding alcohol and sucking down a glimmering gold-and-orange cocktail.
According to news reports, Americans alone purchased more than $236 million in pumpkin-spice-fuelled products in the last fiscal year, choosing from among an estimated 138,000 different items spawned by this burgeoning fall trend.
Personally, I thought this trend had jumped the pumpkin-spice shark in fall 2019 when the misguided folks at Hormel Foods released a pumpkin-spice version of Spam, the famed canned cooked pork product.
But the nightmare only got worse in the first year of the pandemic when a scheming entrepreneur began offering single rolls of pumpkin-spice-scented three-ply bathroom tissue for $7 on amazon.com. As the pandemic deepened, so did this trend as it was possible to go online and buy a bundle of 10 pumpkin spice-scented face masks for $10.
I prayed things wouldn’t get worse this fall, but it turns out I was wrong. That became apparent this week when I walked into my local pet store to restock a dwindling supply of tasty dog treats.
The first thing I spotted was bone-shaped biscuits with the words “pup-kin spice” spelled out in brown and orange icing. But that was just the tip of the canine pumpkin-spice iceberg.
“I also have Oreo-style dog cookies filled with pumpkin-spice-flavoured cream,” gushed Caroline Mack, the manager of the Tuxedo Park Pet Valu outlet and my dog food guru for the past decade. Nearby were festive plastic tubes filled with “pumpkin-spice pops” for dogs.
The seasonal madness only intensified when Caroline bravely held up a package of “Creepy Crunch” dog biscuits made from (Why not?) dried crickets. “I sold one package to a guy who said he wanted to creep out his girlfriend,” she beamed, laughing.
Naturally, as a crusading journalist not afraid to stand fast against the prevailing winds of pop culture, I instantly plopped down some cash to buy the pumpkin-spice dog treats, which I offered to my two mutts the other morning in a non-scientific taste test.
My pets took one sniff of these trendy treats and then, as you have no doubt already deduced, they sucked them down like hungry lions swallowing pumpkin-spice-flavoured jungle creatures. Then they stared at me with laser-like intensity to indicate that, if they had thumbs, they would have given these treats two thumbs up.
I thought this anti-pumpkin-spice spiel would end there, but, tragically, I have just read a news item stating that U.K.-based Angelic Diamonds has just released the first-ever Pumpkin Spice Latte Engagement Ring for $11,300.
The ring features a rose gold band with white diamonds, orange sapphires, and emerald shoulder stones, and is designed to replicate the shape of a pumpkin. It also flaunts a whipped cream-shaped centre diamond and comes in a pumpkin-spice scented box.
Please don’t tell anyone, but I’m seriously considering giving up my crusade to Stop the Madness. Apparently it’s a pumpkin-spice world, and me and my dogs just live in it.
Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.