Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hob Nobs


Today I bought a packet of chocolate Hob Nobs for $35. That's a lot of money for a packet of biscuits, although I suppose they have had to fly all the way over from Britain.

I hope they flew. I don't like the thought of eating biscuits that spent the best part of a year on a boat, bobbing up and down as it floated past the Cape of Good Hope, occasionally being shaken as groups of pirates were repelled from the decks. Then again, the carbon footprint of a biscuit with frequent flyer miles isn't so very wonderful either. I suppose they could have got to Hong Kong by truck, but then the harsh vibrations on an unmade road in Kazakhstan may have reduced my precious Hob Nobs to nothing but oaty-flavoured dust. Still, all the transport costs may explain why they're so expensive.

Assuming these are genuine Hob Nobs of course, and that genuine Hob Nobs are manufactured in the UK. If you're sceptical about the possibility of counterfeit Hob Nobs, I can point out that somebody makes a living in Hong Kong selling fake Tiger Balm, and if you can turn a profit on that, who knows what other low-cost items could be churned out by somebody with a loose appreciation for copyright/intellectual property/baked goods.

Alternatively, Hob Nobs might not be made in the UK. Perhaps they've been outsourced. But chauvinistic as it may be, I don't believe people make biscuits like the British do. You need that combination of gloomy weather that necessitates strong cups of tea and something to dunk in them, before you can make a proper biscuit. Massachusetts or Vancouver might have similarly inclement weather, but Americans and Canadians both have too much hope that life might get better, so they have no need for the solace of a biscuit in the way that the British do. Swedes and Norweigans have gloomy weather, but they also have saunas, North Sea oil and drinking contests with the Finns to keep them occupied, so no great examples of biscuits there either. So I'll rule out the internationalisation of the Hob Nob, for now.

What I wonder about, therefore, is whether I've paid too much or not. Is a large part of that $35 a tax on nostalgia? Or am I being punished for having exotic tastes, when everyone else is happy with the humdrum flavours of chicken feet/hundred year old egg/shark's fin soup? I don't want to imply I'm somehow special just because I like Marmite and Jaffa Cakes, but I quite like implying I'm somehow special. Are the Hob Nobs the price of that?

Or maybe I just did spend far too much money on a packet of biscuits today.


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