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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Cereally, The Boxx isn’t that bad”

    Andi Berlinarts columnist
    Andi Berlin
    arts columnist

    I should have seen it coming, but for some reason I’m still alarmed by this hideous new trend in consumerism. My political science professors always told me that free-market capitalism encouraged innovation and hard work, but a short walk down University Boulevard proves them wrong.

    What is it with The Cereal Boxx? No matter how many times I march past the door pretending to be on my way to something else, I still can’t figure it out. There appear to be people in there, sitting, talking, eating. But why?

    Even if you live in the dorms, it’s easy to put together a box of cereal on your way out. That’s kind of the allure of the product in the first place. If you could be eating a frittata instead, you would. But cereal is simple, and it’s cheap and easy to prepare. So who in their right mind would buy it for three times as much at a restaurant?

    After thinking about it for several minutes, I’ve devised a new theory about food and capitalism that will revolutionize economics: If it’s there, people will buy it. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling.

    You could be mixing insecticide with raccoon pellets, but if you found a quirky name and set up all the canisters in a row so the customers felt like they had choices, people would come.

    It’s all in the atmosphere. If you’re thinking about investing in a business, all you have to do is ask yourself, “”Does this place look like Chipotle?”” If it does in any way, it’s a good investment. People love Chipotle. They love all those nonsensical signs with pictures of burritos and the T-shirts that pretend to be really witty. They love the constant reassurance that they’re somehow eating healthy, even if they’re smearing sour cream over everything.

    I think someone high up at The Cereal Boxx was thinking about those basic concepts (health and T-shirts) when they devised their marketing scheme. They were probably also thinking about getting even with ASU, because the high-profile “”Cereality”” was founded there in 2003 and we hadn’t caught up yet.

    But maybe I’m being too quick to judge. I guess I should take a trip over there and see what it’s really all about.

    Results: I walk in to this place, and instantly I get that guilty feeling when you’re committed to hating something but you finally see it up close. The person at the counter gives me a cheery “”Hey, there”” and I want to secretly apologize for everything I said and then kill him.

    A sorority girl is eating a chocolate-covered banana, and that weirds me out. I look around, and realize there are actually people working behind the counter. What are they doing? I look up, and lo and behold, there’s a huge menu. Five types of parfaits, four types of oatmeal, granola, a huge list of coffee concoctions, fruit smoothies and six cereal “”combinations.””

    The worker offers me some homemade zucchini bread and I want to grab a Fruit Loops cereal bar and shove it down his throat so he can’t breathe. I grab a fresh-squeezed orange juice and ask about the “”Health Nut.”” It’s a cereal combination that includes Kashi, Special K, blueberries, bananas, dried cranberries and almonds. Besides bananas, I’m not sure if I’ve ever had any of that stuff in my fridge, especially at the same time. I walk over to the milk machine and I pour a crap-load of milk in it.

    Despite the presence of the infamous Kashi, the combination tastes pretty good. In fact, it’s probably the best bowl of cereal I’ve ever had, which isn’t really saying that much. There’s just enough of the fruity flavors to balance out the grainy, and it tastes like a healthy morning dessert.

    I’m so enthused I come back later and try a parfait. At $3.99, they’re a bit pricey, but not much more than at Starbucks. I get the “”Berry-Licious,”” which includes low-fat vanilla yogurt, maple pecan granola (apparently homemade), blueberries and strawberries.

    The fruit is fresh and still dripping over the top as I dig into the treat. The granola is all at the bottom, so I mix it around and try to get all the elements in one bite. Surprisingly, it’s really filling.

    A group of theater people wearing black peek in, and when the girl says “”Wow,”” her friend tells her to get away from the door. He shakes his head “”No”” and speeds away toward Chipotle. I want to scream out to them, “”Hey, I was that way, too! You know, it’s not that different from a deli or Cold Stone Creamery, just breakfast. Come on, give it a try!””

    But then I feel like a corporate sellout and shove a berry in my mouth to keep quiet. This gets me thinking. If a cereal place can turn out well, what’s next? Stay tuned for another installment of Andi’s food critiques. Next week, The Chewing Gum Boxx.

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