Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Judging By the Cover

"You can't judge a book by its cover," the old saying goes, though I'm pretty sure the saying dates back to before four-color printed dust jackets and back-cover reviews and sales pitches, which at least give you some indication of what's inside.

But it's not only books that have covers. All kinds of products have covers in the form of their packaging, and there are times when the packaging might actually be more important than the product inside.

Take the case of table salt. Now, I'm not going to get into a discussion of the merits of different kinds of salt, such as kosher salt and various sea salts, not because I don't think there is a difference, but because the subject of this post is simple table salt.

Or specifically, the packaging for table salt. For years and years, I fought with the familiar Morton salt canister, paperboard top to bottom with the little pull-out metal spout. Handy? Sure, until the paper separates from the spout and blocks the opening, or the spout falls off, or the kids leave a pool of water on the counter from careless dish-washing and then set the paper container right in the pool of water.

About a year or so ago, one of my local grocery chains came to my rescue, and started selling table salt in a paperboard container with a metal bottom and a plastic top. The top had a recloseable opening that formed a perfectly serviceable spout. It was beautiful, and it became the only brand of table salt that I bought.

And then, just a couple of weeks ago, they changed their branding, and they changed their packaging back to my old nemesis, the all-paperboard container with the dreaded metal spout.

I have complained, but I don't think anything will come of it. So now I am left to go searching for that wonderful packaging again, if it can even be found. I have no brand loyalty to that salt, but I am loyal to that package, even if it starts me shopping at another store.

Little things matter.