“Chew on this: Gum loses its pop” reads the headline of this Associated Press story on gum’s 11% drop in US sales over the past four years.
The AP reports that “Since peaking in 2009, U.S. gum sales have fallen 11 percent to $3.71 billion last year.” It’s projected that sales will continue to drop, with one “gum executive” even saying that “We’re not expecting any dramatic recovery in the category anytime soon.”
OK, so, we’re still talking billions, so it’s not like gum is going the way of the VCR any time soon. But, still, when you have reports that begin “Gum seems as appealing as that sticky wad on the bottom of a shoe these days,” you might think so, right?
That’s why I think the AP has a beef with gum.
Exhibit A: the photo that accompanied the report is a 2010 (yup, that’s way back when gum sales were still fine) file photo of “a garbage bin sits full of bubble gum, at Yankee Stadium.” Now, I don’t know about you, but what I see are empty containers that once held gum, not wads of unchewed gum, itself. How likely is it that all those cans of Dubble Bubble are full of gum? Look at that guy in the background of the photo. THAT is a Dubble Bubble fan if I ever saw one, you can’t convince me he wouldn’t be rooting through the trash for free gum if it were available. I call bullshit!
Exhibit B: the original URL of this story. At the AP’s site, it’s “http://bigstory.ap.org/article/chew-gum-youre-done,” as syndicated on SFGate, it’s “http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/article/Chew-on-this-gum-You-re-done-5334323.php.” Prominent in the original URL — which, it’s likely, reflects the original headline — the phrase “You’re done.” Is that “you” directed at us, the readers, or at gum, itself? The latter, it’s obvious. That’s right, the AP is sending a secret threatening message, via URL, to gum: “YOU’RE DONE.” Are you feeling chills? I sure am.
Exhibit C: the insane quotes the report uses to illustrate why gum is less attractive than, I guess, candy? Like 17-year-old Sayreville, N.J. (AS IF THAT IS A REAL PLACE) man Ryan Furbush (AS IF THAT IS A REAL NAME), who says that gum’s “flavor runs out too fast.” Ryan has, the AP reports, “stopped chewing gum in favor of chewy candies and chocolates.” Have fun, Ryan’s dentist!
Is gum really on the way out? Well, if sales are down, sales are down. But the obvious glee the AP takes in its downturn certainly makes one wonder, what is their dog in their fight? Is the Associated Press seeking a new revenue stream in dentures? Are their strings being pulled by Big Candy? Or is this all a Masonic population control plot, with the AP used as a tool to cause us all to have stinky breath and therefore avoid reproductive activities?
Whatever is it, I’m watching you, AP. And I’m going to be chewing gum TWO PIECES AT A TIME while I do it.