Of course, this is a bigger example of something that plays out in much smaller circumstances. Take, for instance, Trader Joe's Sugar, Chocolate & Coffee Bean Grinder. Last week, Sandy spotted it on an endcap touting TJ's new products and immediately started this kinda weird, silly, not remotely serious little"gimme gimme oh please please please" dance that immediately said "You better put this in the cart, there, Mister." Since it was something like two bucks, eh, sure. Cheaper than an e-reader. Sandy's little dance was definitely cute and gave me a chuckle, so I didn't mind, but whenever we have a kid and Little Russandra does that, you can bet I won't be so amused.
Okay, so I get the appeal of the sugary chocolatey coffee beany grinder guy. There's a built-in grinder that, instead of dispensing tellicherry pepper or sea salt, grinds up sugar crystals (both brown and white), chocolate bits (dark?) and coffee beans wherever you can dream it can go. Good in theory. The side of the grinder says it goes great with ice cream, coffee, and toast, among other things. Sandy's preferred method of consumption is to hold it high and grind directly into her mouth*, which she did once we got home like a sugar-deprived lunatic, and still does occasionally when she thinks I won't know but I can hear the telltale scrapy-grindy sound from the living room. Anyways, I tried it on vanilla ice cream, which was alright. I could definitely taste the three main elements and it almost made my ice cream not taste like plain vanilla, and added a gritty, crystally texture that though a little odd wasn't completely unwelcome. When ground on top of coffee, it honestly didn't add too much, which shouldn't be surprising if you think about it. While okay with buttered toast, if I wanted something sweet and tasty on toast and have it not be jam, I would have much preferred the timeless classic of cinnamon and sugar. And finally, straight from shaker to mouth...meh. That's a silly, not overly rewarding thing to do if you ask me. Overall, I think it's safe to say it just doesn't tickle my fancy all that much.
If you ask Sandy, though? She loves it. Besides the aforementioned methods of consumption, she's also put some on top of cottage cheese and maybe yogurt, too. She loved it with ice cream and with toast, but agreed with my thoughts about it with coffee. And I hear her grinding away in the kitchen often enough to know that she's happily plotting her next cavity in a way she finds most satisfying. Sandy said she gives it a four, which I thought was low for her but made sense when she explained, "It adds flavor, and it's really good, but it could add more." Me? I think I've made my opinion fairly clear, but to summarize it strikes me as being something akin to parsley for your desserts. Looks good, but doesn't do much of anything worthwhile, a Paris Hilton of the pantry, if you will. I'm going with a 1.5.
Bottom line: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons
* For some reason she wouldn't let me take a picture of this. I can't imagine why.