OK. As National Scale Problems go, this one isn't as important as... say... making sure ossama bin laden gets to explain to Allah why he decided do be so stupid. But it is right up there.
How Hot should Hot Fries be?
The Desk likes Hot Fries. It doesn't matter the brand name on the bag at the deli, if it says 'Hot Fries' on it, and is under a dollar a bag, it's fair game for lunch.
Now the Desk has bought national name brand Hot Fries, and found them to be rather mild. Some that say 'Zesty' on them should simply say 'salty' and be done with it. Some brands have a little chili powder aftertaste. Others reek of onion or garlic.
The Desk needed a sandwich and a bag of chips. So it stopped at the Deli and ordered a sandwich, then as an afterthought it picked up a small bag of chips that promised to be 'spicy' and paid the lady while reading the front page of a newspaper it wasn't going to buy. Then it forgot about it until lunch.
Per standard operating procedure for the 'Telephone Helpdesk' the Desk unwrapped its sandwich and dumped its chips on the open wrapper and proceeded to 'do lunch' while listening to talk radio and ignoring email in its IndiaTimes mailbox.
Slowly it began to realize that SOMETHING was HOT! And it wasn't the 'hot' peppers on the sub either. While they were warm, they were in no wise hot.
Another couple of chips.
The Desk's lips were burning and its eyes were watering. These 'Hot Fries' were exactly that.
No the bag didn't say "made with Peppers' 'You Can't Handle This Hot Sauce'", but they were certainly hot enough to claim inspiration by the Number Four Hot Sauce!
But what was most surprising was that this was a bag of basically store brand no name three for a dollar chips. Nothing special. But Holy Mackerel! If you eat more than three or four at a time your nose runs and you get a bead of sweat on your forehead and ... and your nose runs some more.
Excellent for the Desk for lunch... but... there is a larger question here.
We MUST have standardization here to protect those that do not wish to inflict actual physical pain on themselves in the name of Lunch!
What if a Child were to pick up a bag of these things? What if somebody's grandmother bought them. Or some civilian with a bad heart and a good lawyer.
There MUST be a government committee to study this.
After all, the USDA regulates the size of holes in Swiss Cheese, and the number of pepperonis on a pizza. The Urban Legend about twenty-seven thousand words regulating cabbage sales has been traced back to the 1940's, but, alas, it is untrue. There's probably twice that number, but they cover frozen cabbage rolls too. No, the Desk is not kidding: the USDA Frozen Cabbage Roll Reg.
Define 'MILD'. Do Medium and Zesty mean the same? Are 'Hot' and 'Spicy' the same thing?
Which is hotter? How about something labeled 'Suicide', 'Blazing Inferno of Eternity', or 'Chernobyl Meltdown'?
If you are looking for something so hot as to remind you sometime tomorrow afternoon that you were an idiot today should you buy 'Nuke'm' or 'Pleasantly Lively'?
The same is true with hot chicken wings. The Desk has had Hot wings that were one step above bland, and it has had the same Hot wings from the Same Place two weeks later that were mind numbingly hot, they killed off all its taste buds, and rendered its stomach useless for three days. But they were good.
Now it is true, the Desk has made chili that was obscenely hot. It has blackened redfish until there were more spices than fish in it. And it has put out million Scoville Unit hotsauce for unsuspecting drunks to pour on their hamburger at a cookout. That was fun.
But for a retail outlet to sell Hot Fries that are actually HOT without a warning on the shelf or a disclaimer on the bag to warn the unaware that what they are buying is actually HOT. That's uncalled for.
Uncle Sam MUST do something about this.
We The Public Must Be Protected From Spicy Food When That Is What We Bought But Is Not What We Actually Wanted.
Write and Call your Congressman today! Email your Senators. They need to create a Special Office of Spicy Food. It is for our own good NOT to be exposed to any more cayenne pepper than absolutely necessary.
The Federal Government has to step in and mandate how much garlic and jalapeno can be used per chip. And while they are at it, they need to define what constitutes a 'chip'.
THIS IS THE SLEEPER CRISIS FOR THE 2002 ELECTION YEAR!!!
Oh well... now the Desk needs a can of root beer to wash it all down.
[WEBMASTER NOTE: the preceding was SATIRE. The Desk is not for any further Government Regulation of anything: Washing Machines, Toilets, and Potato Chips included. Thank you.]