Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bubble Burst

They've ruined my favorite gum.

I've chewed Trident Bubblegum for years. Maybe I have an oral fixation, or maybe I liked it because, even though it's sugarless, Trident tasted like Bazooka or HubbaBubba, the better sugary gums that ruined our teeth as kids.

I chewed it every day -- even stayed with it when they reduced the number of sticks per pack from 20 to 18 while increasing the price. It had the right elasticity, not breaking down after five minutes like other gums, and somehow retained its flavor longer, too.

But now they've lost me because they've changed that flavor.

It could be the new sugar substitute, Xylitol, that tastes different than the previous one, Aspartame. I haven't been paying attention, but someone probably discovered that Aspartame causes cancer in rats, so it has to go, just like saccharine and cyclamates. Of course, it's only a matter of time before Xylitol kills someone and gets pulled off the market, too.

Whatever it is, the Xylitol version of Trident Bubblegum now tastes like it's been infused with tart cherries. If I wanted cherry gum, I'd buy it, dammit!

We should have known something was up when Cadbury-Adams changed the Trident packaging. Instead of opening from the end, the pack now opens with a flap in the middle -- which is also a pain in the butt, thank you very much for fixing something that wasn't broken.

My colleague Brett Blume, another Trident Bubblegum addict, says the new version is so bad he may have to go back to baseball card gum. Brett's memory must be gone, because that never really qualified as gum, but rather as sugary pink-colored cardboard.

At times like this, I often call upon my wife, the family ombudswoman, to swing into action. She's great at complaining to companies and getting things fixed -- I'll tell you some of those amazing stories some other time -- but I don't think I'll use her talents for this, because all Cadbury-Adams would do is send us coupons for a couple dozen packs of the new Trident, and who needs that?

So now here's the new commercial: "Two out of two radio guys who prefer sugarless bubblegum no longer recommend Trident, regardless of what that fifth dentist says."