No Frills Products Of Pathmark

When I was a kid in the 1980s, my parents would go to the supermarket once a month on Saturday mornings. Having been a regular viewer of Saturday morning cartoons, this would upset me as I had to go with them and miss out on all those shows. The supermarket? Pathmark.

[Via] Gray Flannel Videos

While there, I would spend most of my time in the toy aisle. The toys were cheap and… limited, but it was something for me to look at. However, there was one aisle I didn’t mind going down, because of how odd it looked. From front of the aisle to the rear, all I could see were white labels on soda cans, apple sauce, pet food, etc.. This was the no frills aisle. I remember this fondly as this was the go to place to get everything we needed for vacations. The no frills soda cans were a staple in the cooler for those trips. I can’t remember how the cola tasted, but I do remember how the can looked. It was like watching a Looney Tunes cartoon, but instead of Acme products, it was no frills.

Looking for baking soda, don’t look for Arm & Hammer, get BAKING SODA. Looking for cola soda, don’t look for Pepsi, get COLA. Same goes for BEER and CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP. Something about the uniformity of this aisle made me smile. Do you remember Pathmark’s No Frills products? Did you have a similar experience?
Pathmark - Beer

oatmeal swirlers

I made my own Oatmeal Swirlers

I was a dangerous kid to bring to the supermarket. When new products were advertised on television, I wanted to try them, and was not above begging to get what I wanted. That meant my Mom needed to have a core of iron and patience as deep as the ocean. Both are noble traits, but as an adult I regret how much she had to apply them to something like Oatmeal Swirlers.

Oatmeal Swirlers showed up in the eighties and were discontinued by the nineties. During their run they had a very compelling ad campaign, both on TV and in print. The product was simple, it was oatmeal with an extra packet of delicious fruity sugar or chocolate paste. After your oatmeal was heated in the microwave, you squeeze the packet on to the oatmeal and enjoy. Naturally in the commercials you are also encouraged to have fun with it and make smiley faces or play tic-tac-toe on your oatmeal.

Plus it had the playful fun tagline, “Give it a swirl!”

The one time we actually bought Oatmeal Swirlers, I tried to draw on my oatmeal, but the goo came out messily. So my smiley face looked like the face of a tortured oatmeal homunculus, trying to cling to a life that it knew would be short and painful. By bowl two of the Oatmeal Swirlers, same day as bowl one, I cut out the middle man and just ate the oatmeal with some added sugar and shotgunned the fruity goo into my mouth.

My mother was appalled, not because of my gross eating habit, she knew who I was, but because of how wasteful it was. Oatmeal Swirlers were a lot more expensive than regular oatmeal and I was basically eating it like candy.

So the next trip, when I asked for my Swirlers, she insisted I get standard oatmeal and a jar of strawberry jelly. I whined of course, but relented. In the end it was a much better deal for a sugar fiend like myself.

Instead of a drizzle of sugar paste, I would take huge spoonfuls of jelly and shove it in my oatmeal, until it was more jelly than oatmeal. This too would be short-lived because my Mom thought it was unhealthy for me to eat a jar of jelly in a week. Not what I was hoping for, but it was okay, we still had Hershey’s syrup in the cabinet and I was able put lots of that in my oatmeal for months without her noticing.

Whenever I see a commercial or print ad for Oatmeal Swirlers, I cannot help but think back to my eighties’ winter breakfasts. Of thick strawberry/oatmeal goo that would make your teeth hurt and of a disapproving mother just trying to figure out this mess of a kid she was raising.

This is a great ad, with late eighties sensibilities and the art direction and music are pitch perfect for the era. Enjoy.

Watch this commercial for Oatmeal Swirlers

Snap Crackle Pop Tunes

Snap Crackle Pop Tunes Rice Krispies 7 Inch Record

In 1983 Rice Krispies ran a promo for a 7 inch record full of their classic jingles, their Snap Crackle Pop Tunes. Getting it was simple, you would cut out UPC codes and send them shipping money and 6-8 weeks later your record would arrive.

I wanted this album, but it was a problematic proposition for me. I can’t remember, but I think you needed more than one UPC code. My family only bought so much breakfast cereal per month, which meant I needed to keep my young brain focused on this reward for multiple months. Which was even harder in 1983, when new cereals would sweep into stores and be gone almost every month.

Somehow I persevered and sent away for the record and was not disappointed. It had all of Snap Crackle Pop best jingles and I pretty much wore the record and my family’s patience out listening to it over and over on the main stereo of our home.

Most of my record collection is gone now, but I was happy to find multiple people’s uploads of the record online.

Listen to the Snap Crackle Pop Tunes Record Online

The album has six track in total. They are:

Side 1:
1. Snap! Crackle! Pop! Rice Krispies
2. Wakin’ Up
3. Snap! Crackle! Pop! Medley

Side 2:
1. Rock & Roll
2. Western
3. New Wave

Side one pretty much captures the history of the Rice Krispies jingles up to the point this record was released. Track 1 is the famous jingle from the 60s and Tracks 2 and 3 represent the 70s and 80s respectively.

The flipside is where this album really shines. It contains genre specific jingles. It is here where I spent most of my time. The new wave track, which I know sounds campy, was all I would listen to for a month straight after getting this album.

If you do not own a copy of the album, but have a record player, it is pretty easy to find a copy online. It is very affordable with copies going for under 5 bucks.

Be aware when shopping around that Rice Krispies also released actual pop songs singles starting in 1984. So read the label carefully when making your purchase.

Burger King Table Service

Remembering Burger King Table Service

My family enjoyed going out for fast food. We liked the price and we really enjoyed the taste. It was not something we did all the time, but when we did, we made an event out of it. So when Burger King Table Service began we were drawn to it immediately.

Burger King Table Service was part of their move to go slightly upscale. It mostly revolved around their BK Dinner Baskets. It was a short-lived experiment. Starting in 1992 through 1994 and ending quickly thereafter. They really did not change the Burger Kings themselves, just the food options and how they served it.

During dinner hours, between 4pm and 8pm, you would order your food just like normal. Then things started to change. They would give you a number for your table and a basket of popcorn to munch on while you waited. Then a few minutes later a person would bring your food in baskets to your table.

Those baskets has a lot of the standard Burger King food, but with some new options on the side. You could get choice of Fries, Baked Potato AND Cole Slaw or Side Salad. I never got any of those sides and stuck to my normal cheeseburger meal. My family on the other hand were thrilled at trying their baked potato and side salads. Although in the end they would going running back to the fries option, but at least they tried.

The basket options, not counting any regional options, included:

  • Whopper Dinner Basket
  • Steak Sandwich Dinner Basket
  • Chicken Dinner Basket
  • Shrimp Dinner Basket

They might have also had a meatloaf sandwich at the time, but not sure if that was a regional offering. I recall the meatloaf sandwich being enjoyed a bit by my Grandmother. Mostly because we mocked her a bit for getting a meatloaf sandwich. For most of the meals during this offer, the rest of my family got the Whopper.

Never got to try BK Dinner baskets the accompanying Burger King Table Service, but still remember it? That is because they had some high energy commercials during their “I Love this Place” phase of advertising featuring Dan Cortese as Dan the Whopper Man. They were part of that obnoxious high-energy attempt to try figure out how to sell to Generation X.

Besides the grating tone, the commercials were good in that they did spell out the exact process and food available. Enjoy this collection of Burger King Table Service commercials.

Burger King Table Service Commercials

Since I mentioned the Meatloaf Sandwich, here is a little commercial about that short-lived gem starring Mr. Baseball, Bob Eucker.

Weird it is done in the same style at the Dan Cortese commercials, but with Euker.

dinner baskets at Burger King