The Zen of Chocolate

If, like me, you are a connoisseur of chocolate, you know that there are gradations of quality. At the base of the chocolate pyramid, there is generic chocolate, your Hershey bars and so forth. At the apex, you find fine gourmet chocolate imported from small, otherwise insignificant European countries like Belgium and Switzerland, tasty and expensive. Somewhere in between, you find Dove chocolate, which is the high-end of the mass-produced chocolate market.

Our topic today is not just the chocolate in the Dove Promises, but the packaging as well. Each Dove Promise is wrapped in foil, with a little message on the inside. It's sort of like the chocolate version of a fortune cookie, and each morsel gives not just pleasure for the palate but a little psychological comfort as well. Reading the messages gives us an insight into who the Dove company thinks their customers are. We must assume that they have done exhaustive marketing research, after all. So what do the messages say?

Here are a few for your perusal. First, one that I like: "Don't think about it so much." This is good advice for just about everyone. Most of us worry and obsess about one thing or another, and sometimes not-thinking is the best kind of thinking. This is a very Zen concept.

Next: "Go against the grain." Aha! Dove chocolate fanciers obviously are supposed to be non-conformist rebels. If we were conformists, we'd eat Hershey bars. (Well, sometimes we do, but that's neither here nor there.)

"Smile. People will wonder what you've been up to." Not original, of course. I've heard it before. Perhaps Dove Promises eaters are a bit grumpy and need to smile more.

"Smile before bed. You'll sleep better." Again with the smiling? Yeah, we're damn grumpy people before we get our chocolate fix.

"Laugh uncontrollably -- it clears the mind." Uh-oh. Someone must have taken more than the recommended five-piece serving of chocolate. Serotonin levels must be off the charts...

"Age is nothing but a number." Hmmmm... While this is not gender-specific, women usually are more sensitive about their age than men.

"Buy yourself flowers." Hmmmm again. Maybe they meant, "After you finish binging on the entire bag of Dove Promises because your no-good boyfriend/husband is out playing poker with the boys and didn't even buy you any flowers, go out and buy them for yourself."

"It's definitely a bubble-bath day." Well, THAT gives the game away, doesn't it? It seems that Dove thinks that their customers are primarily thirtyish women with insufficiently attentive partners.

Or not. You make the call.