When Milkmen Attack
In the days when dairies still made home deliveries, the sight of the white-suited, milkman driving his delivery truck was as familiar in the American landscape as the iceman had been a generation earlier. Those were the days when milk still came in bottles, and when local dairies competed fiercely for the door-to-door trade.
Getting a customer to change from The Other Guy meant greater revenue on a milkman’;s route, and some MIW (Men In White) occasionally engaged in a homegrown form of industrial sabotage. They would fill a hypodermic syringe with lemon juice, go to a house that did business with a competing dairy, and inject the lemon juice through the cardboard lid of their competitor’;s milk bottle. By the time the customer woke up and carried the bottle inside, the milk would be curdled. After this had happened a few times, the housewife would switch dairies. Alas, milkmen are gone now that dairies are vast conglomerates. Such progress has meant not only the loss of personal service, but also a shortage of off-color jokes about milkmen.
Sometimes, myths about consumer products are true, but the manufacturer can’;t say so. Alka-Seltzer is a respected remedy, but the company has never been able to come out and say that it works for hangovers. Preparation-H is a valued treatment for—well, you know what it’;s used for. But it also reduces swelling when applied as a balm beneath puffy eyes. Uncarbonated Coca-Cola syrup is a time-honored palliative for upset stomachs (in fact, in 1885, it was originally sold only in pharmacies). And Accent Meat Tenderizer (MSG) works wonders when applied externally to reduce swelling from bee stings and mosquito bites.
These are perfectly acceptable uses, yet they may be seen as too unsavory to brag about or to associate with a mass market product. Even though (wink wink), everybody “knows” about them.