Saturday, October 11, 2008

Well isn't that special?

Here at Team H.O.P.E. we are still relentlessly searching our supermarkets for the elusive pink ribbon products.  Because we are so dedicated and so inquisitive and so intelligent (and because we walked in the doors) we finally found another one!  

Kellogg's Special K!  I purchased the chocolately delight version because it is chocolately!  And because I'm a little bit too old to eat cocoa crispies for breakfast.

There at the bottom of the box was a simple pink ribbon on a field of pink and this logo:

On the back of the box is an inspiring story from a Breast Cancer survivor.  And another pink ribbon.  And a statement that "Prevention is the Key" followed by the encouragement to do self exams and get yearly mammograms.  

I hate to be a nitpicker but that would technically be 'early detection' rather than 'prevention'. 

There is also a statement that "Knowing is Half the Battle".  Yada yada yada, check out side panel to get started today.  So I checked out the side panel.  Apparently my chocolatey wheat flakes contain wheat and milk.  Maybe they meant the other side panel.  

Here we go.  Another pink ribbon.  And the encouragement to
"Become Part of the Search for a Cure."
 There are four things I can do to do my part.  I can donate and participate in one of the "many great organizations".  I can "Be a friend" and lend my ear to a loved one facing breast cancer.   (this here is me refraining from making snide comments about how I had planned to shun and ignore my loved ones)  

Kellogg's also recommends
"Show Your Support".
 Which means,
"Buy Pink Ribbon Products to help raise funds for research and show that you care."
And finally I can
"Speak Out".
  Okay I am already donating and participating.  I would like to think I am being a friend.  I guess you could call what I do speaking out.  So let's address the "Show your support"

"Buy pink ribbon products to help raise funds. . . ."  
So can I assume that buying this pink beribboned chocolatey delight will raise funds for research?  One would think so but there is noting on the box, or in the box, or printed on the little chocolatey pieces that says anything one way or the other.  I was going to look closer at the flakes to see if the information was there but I was afraid I would see a religious image and then that would be a whole different story!

I know!  I'll visit the Kellogg's website and learn more.  Nope - not a word!  No pink ribbons.  Nothing.  So I go to the Special K site.  Nothing.  I go back to the box and pore over it more closely.  There at the bottom of the inspirational story is a web address "For more inspiring stories".   I don't want more inspiring stories - I want to know how buying this box of cereal is going to help anything.  But since this link is all I have I go there.

Finally!  We have some serious pink!  Isn't this pretty?

First thing - apparently this is not just a Kellogg's thing; it is a Kroger Grocery Store thing.  Okay, let's find out how much money is being donated and where exactly it is going!  

With the help of key vendor partners who share our commitment to eradicating this cancer – and providing support to those who face it – the Kroger family of stores once again will be Giving Hope A Hand by investing $3 million for breast cancer awareness, treatment and research in the communities we share.


Funds raised by the annual cause-marketing campaign will assist dozens of local organizations fighting breast cancer in our communities across the country – supporting research projects, funding mammograms and educational outreach, and assisting local support groups for women and families. All of the funds are spent in the communities where our customers and associates live and work.

Hmmmn?  They aren't exactly making it easy here.  I want to defend companies who do nice things.  I am very trusting of both their motivations and their actual contributions.  I'm trying here, Kellogg's and Kroger, and you give me vague words like awareness?  

Technically that means you can use part of that 3 million to print your boxes since the pink ribbon and the inspirational story would constitute 'awareness'.  I don't think you would do that - that would be tacky and exploitative and just plain wrong - but you don't give us any specifics and the more cynical people are going to wonder!  

So apparently the act of purchasing this product does not raise any more money than not buying it since the three million is already dedicated.  But buying this box does "show that you care."  Show who?  I'm sorry but this is the sort of pablum that gives the anti-ribbon folks so much ammunition.  I believe that Kroger is motivated by more than just the profits available in Cause Marketing but they really and truly should do a better job of presenting it!

I feel so bad bashing the people that make me feel healthy having chocolatey delight for breakfast.  Maybe I can find something nice to say about the "Sharing Courage" website.  

It's pretty.  And I adore this font:

And the stories of the women are inspiring.    I would just have liked the stories better if each one wasn't "proudly sponsored" by pepsi or special k or keebler or maxwell house.  

Finally, there is a feature on this site that allows one to send a ribbon to a friend or loved one.  The ribbon is nice and as I stated earlier I love the font.  Here is a line from the site:

Breast cancer affects us all, in one way or another. You can join us in the fight against breast cancer by sending our pink ribbon of support to someone who inspires you. Include a personal message or just send a simple "thank you" for their courage and inspiration. Together, we're making a difference, one ribbon at a time.

And here is the default message that goes to the person you are sending a ribbon to:

Thank you for inspiring me. You’re in my thoughts. Please visit to see more inspiring stories.

And finally here is an interesting little disclaimer:

I understand that my personal message will only be delivered to the recipient and will not be posted publicly on the site. However, the recipient’s first name, city and state (if provided) WILL be publicly displayed on the site and will be viewable to anyone who visits the site.

So there you have it. I am neither recommending or not recommending this product.  I hate people who criticize other peoples' efforts to help the world be a better place.  But at the same time I did not find much here I want to praise.  

Have a wonderful day and please give others' the benefit of the doubt whenever possible, no matter how difficult they make it!



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's Alive! And it's Pink!

I got to thinking that it was time we did another Pink Ribbon Product Review!  So I went to the grocery store, just hoping if I searched hard enough I could find a product with a pink ribbon on it.

Well it was difficult but I did find a few (thousand) items.  

One of the earlier and more famous pink ribbon product campaign schemes ah, programs was brought to us by Yoplait.  

Before we commence with our review I should disclose that Yoplait has irritated me for years.  When the standard yogurt serving was 8 ounces, Yoplait came along and sold us 6 ounce containers with false bottoms for the same price.  Not quite in the category of deception since presumably most of us can distinguish between an 8 and a 6; but certainly worthy of an eye roll.

Those of us who enjoy putting our yogurt in a bowl and mixing with fruit and/or granola must tussle with the inverted shape and the annoying little ridge along the top of the rim.  Again, not a serious problem, but just a pesky reminder that Yoplait apparently values form over function.  

When the news stations breathlessly and semi-hysterically reported that raccoons and rats were getting their little scavenger heads caught inside the Yoplait containers at landfills across the nation, I assumed the package was about to be retooled.  No such luck.  There is, however, an advisory on the package that reads: 



We buy Yoplait because my husband and children insist it is a vastly superior product to Dannon.  I will admit that when you open a Yolait you will very rarely see it separated with watery yogurt on top and clumpy yogurt on bottom.  So Yoplait wins points on homogenizing!

As always, when doing a Pink Ribbon Product Review here at Team H.O.P.E. we must evaluate the pinkness of the item.      

Both of these pictures are bad - but they are better than the ones I took.  The lids are pinker than they appear in the top pic and shinier than they appear in the bottom pic.  Basically the lids are pink and shiny and metallic!  I love them.   Yoplait gets full points for pinkness!

The next question we always ask refers to the actual contribution to the cause.    Yoplait donates .10 per label, which on a .55 container is pretty generous!  

The catch is that they do not donate per container sold, they donate per label mailed in.  I seriously began to suspect that this whole thing had nothing to do with Breast Cancer and was simply a government plot to increase post office revenues.  Then I took my medication and realized this is  most likely a legitimate joint venture.  

Here is info from Yoplait:

10 cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, up to $1.5 million. And we guarantee a donation of at least $500,000.

So a million dollars lies in the balance.  Which is 10 million labels.  Which is a chunk of postage, which makes me wonder if maybe this isn't a government plot to .. . . . .

Sorry.  Anyway, I hate mailing things in.  I've quit buying items with mail in rebates because I know I will find the receipt and the form (half filled out in Pink Sharpie marker) stuck in a drawer next year.  For the past I don't know how many years my boys have saved the pink lids and dutifully washed them and dutifully scolded me for throwing mine away.  And they've sat on the counter (the labels, not the boys) until after the final date and then been thrown away - making me feel like I just sold the mammogram machine at the free clinic for scrap iron!  

And I suspect I'm not alone here.  When I don't buy a product that is attached to a cause I don't feel particularly guilty.  I do charitable work and am basically uncomfortable with the level of consumerism in our culture - so not buying something for a good cause is the easiest thing in the world.  I'm also okay with buying something I needed/wanted anyway and knowing a few cents are going to a good cause.  Or even a mediocre cause.  

Where Yoplait messes with me is having the requirements that I do more. It's like there is $1.50 in my fridge right now that belongs to Susan G and I'm just going to throw it away.  That hurts!   So most people would say, "Send in the labels and quit complaining!"  Well, yeah.  If I could find an envelope and a stamp and a pen and that other handful of labels I put somewhere. . . . 

So I normally just refuse to buy pink labeled Yoplait.  Why did I buy some this week?  I wasn't thinking.  As immersed as I am in the whole pink ribbon culture I just plain forgot that I don't do the Yoplait thing.  It was on sale, we were out of yogurt, and Hungry Girl had been pretty enthusiastic about their new cake flavors.  So I unthinkingly loaded up my cart.

Here is the flavor we are reviewing today:

Only with the pink lid.  

This yogurt is thick and creamy.  And tangy*.  I'm a major chocolate fiend but I hate chocolate yogurt because that tang is off-putting in chocolate.  In pineapple it is a bonus!  But this isn't just pineapple yogurt; it is Pineapple Upside-down Cake yogurt.  Yes, you can almost taste the brown sugar and butter.  It obviously isn't going to replace cake anytime soon but it is pretty darned yummy!  

So on taste, texture, and color (pale creamy natural yellow) this product is a winner. 

Between the danger to racoons and the idea of money just going into the recycling bin I cannot recommend this product wholeheartedly - but I do plan on having another carton of it as soon as I finish this post! 

*the tanginess is due to having "live and active cultures".  Live AND active?  Implying the cultures could be live but lethargic?  Or worse yet, dead and active?  Yombie Yogurt Culture?

Yeah, I'm thinking this review is pretty much over!  Have a sweet and culturally satisfying day!

PS - Yoplait wouldn't be using sex to sell yogurt would they?

For the record - I don't know who this faceless chick is but I assure you she is not one of the real H.O.P.E. ladies!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I hate making mistakes!  I wanted to do a political style correction where I could claim that someone else made the mistake.  Or  maybe claim that the Sports Bar had moved since yesterday to another location just a bit farther down the road.  But I cannot do that.  I also thought of doing the standard, "mistakes were made" line but whenever I hear that I want to slap someone!  

The correct location of Sneakers is just WEST of McClintock.  Not east, as may have been reported here before.  

But everything else was correct - it will be the Breast Happy Hour & Ladies Night you have ever attended!


Monday, October 6, 2008


No, I'm not referring to the '95 movie starring Robert Redford et al.  And I'm not referring to the last post - which was a glorious cornucopia of pink sneakers.  Although the pink sneakers were intended to be a harbinger.   

Sneakers is the name of a local sports bar here in the valley.  In Tempe to be exact.  Sneakers is owned by Keith Quilty, one of the sweetest guys we have met on our journey. 

We're almost afraid to talk about how sweet he is because then other non-profits will rush to him and we would like to keep him to ourselves.  

Not that we're selfish - but it's a tough economy out there and business owners are understandably giving less to charity so they can cover rent and payroll and taxes and other expenses.  

Alas, we don't have Keith all to ourselves.  I guess another 3-day team has already held a car wash in his parking lot.  Keith not only provided water and parking and what not - he was also out there washing cars with them!  As I mentioned, he's sweet!  

He is allowing us to invade (No, not invade.  Visit.  Yeah, visit) Sneakers for a signature
 Team H.O.P.E. / Simply the Breast event:

Join us on Friday, October 17th

From 5:00 PM until they throw us out (9 ish)


Sneakers Sports Grill

1470 East Southern in Tempe

Northside of Southern, West of  McClintock


Drink Specials

Breast Trivia





All Proceeds benefit 3-day walk for Breast Cancer

 More fun than a cold mammogram – we guarantee it!

This is going to be a seriously fun and goofy evening.  We have yet another signature drink; Nipple-ita!  A yummy pink tequila concoction.  

The Team Trivia hosts have promised to add some fun breast trivia to their regular games, starting at 7:00 PM.   

Speaking of sneakers - apparently some people did not care much for our pink sneaker collection in the last post.    What could be more fun than pink shoes?  (asks the barefoot woman)  So sometime in the not so distant future we will have a shoe post like no other shoe post.  

(One would think that that would be a fairly easy thing to lay claim to - because how many shoe blog posts are there?  Oh my goodness, there are people who blog about shoes every day.  I'm assuming they enjoy it and are not being held captive at gun point by the shoe police - but blogs dedicated just to shoes?  Blogs; plural.  I guess there is enough shoe news out there that more than one blog is needed.  Once again I am reminded of how much I love/fear the internet!) 

At the top of this post I stated that this post was not about the movie, Sneakers.  True.  But we will be returning to the movie at a later point.  You know how there are strange people who are given to conspiracy theories and believe every thing is either cosmically or criminally connected? Well, at Team H.O.P.E.  that person would be me.  

But the shoes and the conspiracies are for another day.  Right now we are preparing for our Sneakers Night.  We continue to work the TOUCHDOWN TORTILLA at the Cardinals Stadium.  We have two other places we will be selling our t-shirts.  And of course we are walking.

So I'm just going to sneak on out of here. . . .