The Saddest Thing I’ve Ever Seen in a Grocery Store

Tracie and I were shocked and quited dismayed when we noticed this sign in the grocery store today:

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This is truly a tragic turn of events. Mind you, I haven’t bought a package of Mother’s cookies in probably 10 year or more, but they are a prominent fixture in memories of my childhood. I won’t say they were a staple–cookies were treats, not staples, back then. I think it’s not too much of a stretch, though, to say that there was a package of Mother’s cookies in the house more often than not.

On many occasions in the past, Tracie and I had waxed nostalgic about the joys of Mother’s cookies. As a kid my favorites were the Striped Shortbread, with their bottom coating of chocolate opposite the chocolate stripes. They were all wonderful, though: the brown-on-brown Chocolate Fudge with Mother’s face molded into each side, the white and frighteningly pink Iced Circus Animals that turned out to be Animal Crackers under the icing, the elegant English Tea sandwiches, the subtle but satisfying Sugar with their enigmatic indentation in the center, and the can’t-go-wrong-with-chocolate-chips Chocolate Chip cookies. There were a bunch more but those are the ones that stand out in my memory. Later I learned to appreciate the more sophisticated flavors, such as the oddly named Taffy sandwich and the complex Iced Oatmeal. (I would have turned up my nose at the latter as a kid. Oatmeal, in a cookie? What a travesty. I still don’t like oatmeal itself but oatmeal cookies are fine.) Of course there were also the Assorted bags, which contained Iced Circus Animals, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Fudge, and Sugar. The iced ones disappeared first and the relatively plain and uninteresting sugar cookies were the last to go. By the time the bag was finished their flavors would intermingle a bit and they’d all get kind of dusty, but they were still good.

Now they’re gone. The last bag of Assorted cookies rolled off the conveyor belt some time ago. A bit of googling reveals that they filed for Chapter 11 in early October and there’s suspicion of wrongdoing by the executives. It looks like rather a mess. There is speculation that Keebler might acquire the brand names, but I don’t know whether or not that’s good news. Keebler’s products always tasted a little odd to me.

I’m in agreement with the congresspeople who told the auto manufacturers that unless they could explain what they plan to do with $25 billion, they aren’t getting any money from the taxpayers. But if I had a say in such matters, I’d cheerfully support a bailout of the Mother’s cookie company.

As I said already, it’s not as though I’ve bought many Mother’s cookies in recent years, but it’s still a shock. There was always something faintly comforting about knowing in the back of my head that I could still have a Striped Shortbread cookie if the need ever arose; whether or not I would was beside the point. Now I can’t. That variety was conspicuously absent from the shelves. Maybe they were the favorites of other folks also.

We stood in the aisle for several minutes, trying to come to terms with this shocking news. We finally departed with one package of Iced Oatmeal cookies.

By adam

Go ahead, try to summarize yourself in a sentence or two.


  1. Sad news indeed. I haven’t seen the Mother’s sugar cookies (my favorites) for years and have purchased more little chocolate-covered French schoolboys than Mother’s in the last decades, but I do fondly remember the pink & purple packages. (I believe for awhile the package boldy announced that they were the cookiies in the “passionate purple” wrapper.) The bags of chocolate chips and assorteds went to the river with us because they were easier to transport (also had more cookie for the buck), the more fragile and cellophane-wrapped sugars and sandwiches for home consumption.

    I suppose an ageing population and a new generation of mothers who are more sugar & fat conscious than we were in the 70s (before trans fats’ cover was blown) are at the root of Mother’s demise, but I’d rather think it was mismanagement. Surely everyone needs some empty calories, extra fat, and a sugar rush now and then. Anyway, I’m sorry Mother’s cookies crumbled.

  2. That is a sad thing. Used to eat these by the row in college days.

    I think we may be seeing more familiar companies biting the dust over the next year or so.

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