Peanut butter banking

skippyI was sitting in my kitchen trying to reconcile two ideas. The first involved a peanut — the single peanut on the smooth surface of a freshly opened jar of what used to be Squirrel brand peanut butter in Canada and then became Skippy. I wondered how that peanut gets there.

This is a rare instance when the Internet has let me down, because I was unable to find out the mechanics of peanut placement. Is it a huge corporate secret, like the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices? Or is it simply that no one cares? The explanation is probably out there, it’s just that search queries like “peanut on top of peanut butter” won’t get you too far because, as everyone knows, you can put peanut butter on top of anything and make it instantly more delicious (or deadly, depending on your allergies).

It was probably once a real person’s job to deposit the peanut in each jar, and I bet this person had some specific title like “nut wrangler” or “goober topper.” What must that have been like, day after day plopping peanuts in place? Did the nutter (possible job title) take pride in his work? Did people joke that the job must drive him nuts? Did he want to strangle those people?

A machine probably replaced him, and, while part of me mourns the loss of the leguminist (could be), I can’t help but marvel at the engineering and mechanics, the sheer creativity involved in devising a contraption to lower a single non-butter-molesting peanut in jar after jar. I think of that auto-plopper, of getting that peanut from where it was grown to its place in the jar, and I stand amazed at our ability as a species to resolve complex problems, peanutty and otherwise.

That was one thing I was thinking about. The other thing was my visit to the bank that afternoon, which, trust me, is not something you want to do in the weeks leading up to Christmas. You don’t want to interrupt a day of damn-the-torpedoes shopping and sit in the bank to review your investments and, of greater concern, your debt. You don’t want to see that sheet laid out in front of you outlining your net worth and realize that, without your house, you have negative net worth, that you are actually worth less than zero, and that, well, maybe the kids don’t really need those gifts. Or food.

But we did go to the bank, Deb and I. We met with our account manager to see how we could lower our fees and better manage our payments (which I accidentally mispronounced “pain-ments,” and, yeah, that seems right). Our manager was quite helpful, but my big takeaway was that, if we do all our banking online, if we eschew the old-school bankbook, we can save $2 a month.

That’s a pack of gum a month. Maybe two if we go for the cheap-o brand.

I’ve never done online banking because, quite frankly, I’ve never had the need. Money goes into my account on payday, it disappears over the next two weeks, and repeat. I’ve never awakened in the night and wondered how my account is doing. I’ve never thought that maybe my investments would make more sense to me if I could stare at them blankly online compared to staring at them blankly in print.

The only real benefit to online banking was that we could transfer from one account to another any time. That and the Gum Dividend.

And so our manager set Deb and me up with online accounts. We had to go to separate ATM machines to enter our codes. “I’ll race you,” I said. Our manager then talked us through passwords and ways to transfer and how we could give names to our accounts like “Not Much In This One” and “Even Less Over Here.” I felt antique. I felt like I was our parents and someone was showing us how to record on our new-fangled VCR.

At the same time, I was once again amazed. I was amazed at the unfathomable complexity of banking. Just think about what went into that single website tab that asked me the name of my first pet in case, flawed human that I am, I forget my password. Astounding! In a world that revolves around money and, perversely, debt, in an industry that makes millions off people who fail to opt for the Gum Dividend but hang on to their old ways, it’s mind-boggling that even a net-worthless person like me benefits from the creativity of the machinery that keeps it all running.

I… am a peanut.

Except yesterday, I went to the store, picked up a jar of Skippy and looked under the lid; the peanut has been purged.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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28 Responses to Peanut butter banking

  1. markbialczak says:

    That’s because Skippy fired the factory squirrel, Ross, keeping only his photo on the label. Must have been written into the acquisition agreement to save $2 per month, just like the online banking clause.

  2. Elyse says:

    I bet the peanut was removed so that people can easily do what I do with a new jar: Play Tic-Tac-Toe. If there was a peanut in the middle, “O” would always win. They are just trying to keep things fair.

    And “leguminist” is my new favorite word.

  3. Katie says:

    This is the first I’ve ever heard of this peanut business. Then again, my mom loves the super chunk, which is really more peanut than butter.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I like me some chunk, but there are times when you need some smooth in your life.
      I’m really trying to figure out the peanut. Was it just in Canada? I need answers!

      • rarasaur says:

        Squirrel was just a Canadian brand, yep, though we used to get it in WA state, too. I think the company went bankrupt the year I moved (2000) because I vaguely remember that being in the paper. :)

        (Loved the post!)

        • rossmurray1 says:

          It got swallowed up by a bigger company. Ain’t that always the way? I could swear there was a peanut on my PB not long ago, although the past 10 years have zipped right by.

  4. People who prefer antiquated methods is big business! America online still exists solely for that crowd.

  5. ddupre315 says:

    haha! Nut Wrangler! ahahahaa oh and I prefer creamy.

    Wait, AOL still exists? Do people actually still pay for the service? buahahaha eediots.

  6. Kylie says:

    Three random thoughts:

    You Canadians had a real peanut on the top of your peanut butter????!!!! Damn American companies taking that little personal touch away.

    My brother used to claim he wanted to be a peanut cracker when he grew up.

    My uncle helped develop the code for the first ATM machines and they used to have a video game you could play in them if you knew the secret code.

  7. cat9984 says:

    Every time they ask that first pet question, I debate whether it was the first cat I got after I got married or the first one at my parents (it was supposed to be a family pet, but my dad and the cat were inseparable after a few weeks).

  8. A tangent, but a related one. I’m wondering if conventional peanut is GMO in Canada as it is in the States. It is also among the most heavily sprayed crops here.

  9. Aussa Lorens says:

    I grant you that peanut butter is a mystery, but here’s the real blower of minds: almond milk. What? How does an almond……… become milk? How!

  10. benzeknees says:

    I noticed a while back the peanut disappeared. Hubby does all his banking online. It saves the cost of buying cheques, envelopes & stamps to pay bills. Also, he can check to see if a cheque has cleared & when it cleared if one of our creditors tries to charge us late fees, etc. I don’t know how to do this at all, so I’ll be pretty much lost if something happens to him, but I’ll deal with that when it happens.

  11. ha! love your potential job titles for the nutter!

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