I saw a headline from the AP -- "Supermarket Says Sorry For Selling Hitler Coffee Creamer" -- and just sort of rolled my eyes. I figured it was about some company that, as fate would have it, had the family name of Hitler and felt they wanted to keep it for their product.
This was a major supermarket chain, Migros, in Switzerland that stocked coffee creamers which had picture of (are you ready?) Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini on them!!
The store called this an "unforgivable blunder" and that they promised to "tighten our controls for these products drastically."
It is also ending all contracts with Karo-Versand, a Swiss company that made a collectible series with 55 different images.
Needless-to say, yes, it was indeed an unforgivable blunder and was clearly an internal failure like the company said, and it's certainly hard to imagine how boxes of Hitler Creamer passed through their quality control, with Der Fuhrer's mug gracing the containers, right night to Il Duce. But you have to give any company points for using the word "unforgivable" in their apology.
Still, for all the questions that immediately pop up for most people -- "How could these containers get through quality control???! -- that's actually not the first question I have. For me, the first question is...
What in the world is the manufacturer, Karo Versand, thinking???? How did someone there, even if they were the most virulent, supportive-fascist, which I doubt, conceivably think that putting Adolph Hitler's face on a canister of coffee creamer was a "good idea" -- indeed, think it was any anything better than even a dismally horrific idea? And that's not taking Mussolini into consideration. What executive woke up one morning and thought, "Eureka! We should put Adolph Hitler on our coffee creamer!!" And when he told this to others in the board room, they didn't fire him on the spot, but someone shouted, "And Benito Mussolini, too!!" And they all cheered and then approved it.
Yes, I know it was a series of collectibles, but even that doesn't explain it. After all, in Germany they've actually banned all display of the swastika. This isn't that, but it's the guy who made the swastika the icon it is today. And Switzerland is next door to Germany. They know all about the guy. They can't have missed it, World War II and the Holocaust was in all the papers.
And bordering Switzerland on the south is Italy. So, the Swiss were wedged between them both. It was really hard to not grasp was Hitler and Mussolini were up to. They probably kept the Swiss up all night. Really bad neighbors do that.
And yes, I know Switzerland is neutral. But neutral doesn't mean insane.
I can imagine the ad line, "Collect them all. Be the first on your block to have all the legends of the Third Reich." And little kids saying, "I'll trade you two Hitlers for a Stalin."
The story goes on to say that a subsidiary of Migros, named Elsa-Mifroma, "never should have delivered the boxes with the items to restaurants and cafes."
Gee, ya think? But that begs the question: I wonder where they should have delivered the boxes? Where in the world was the market for this? Maybe Austria, but even there you have to think even they would have more sense than to be so public. And besides, they probably have all the Hitler memorabilia they need by now.
And England, a land of tea drinkers, rejoices...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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