Thursday, May 10, 2012

Travel Advisory Warning

If you plan to travel to Western Australia at any point, then there are some safety issues you should be aware of.

Obviously, in the water we're talking sharks, crocodiles, stonefish, jellyfish, and surfers.  On land, there are wombats, mosquitos, various deadly spiders and snakes, scorpions, centipedes, and Aussie psychopaths.  On the roads, there are kangaroos at night, "hoons," cops with speed cameras, and yet more Aussie psychopaths. There are also tourists like yourself driving on the wrong side of the road.  Be sure to avoid them whenever you can.

Nothing new here, obviously.  The same information is available on any reputable travel agent's web site. But there's one safety issue that they don't tell you about.  There is a danger that visitors will almost certainly encounter, and probably the last thing they would ever expect to come face-to-face with.

Un-sliced hamburger buns.

That's right! It is a known fact that it is not possible to slice a hamburger bun without threat of serious injury to your person.  The trick is to cut all the way through the soft bread and then stop just as the razor-sharp serrated knife comes in contact with the palm of your hand.  If you can actually do this without drawing blood, then you are probably a woman.

In the USA, it is virtually impossible to purchase a hamburger bun that is not already pre-sliced for your picnic, camping, or entertaining convenience.  Bakers of hamburger buns in America have discovered through decades of market testing that users of hamburger buns almost always want them to be sliced in half horizontally to facilitate the placing of a beef patty and various toppings between the halves.  Brands of hamburger buns that were slow to adopt this innovation in the slicing department were shunned, ridiculed and sued by consumers of hamburger buns until their stock price plunged and the company went out of business.  By this process of Darwinian improvement, we now have both the convenience and the SAFETY of hamburger buns that come already sliced right from the store.

But not in Western Australia.  No - it's actually hard to find even one brand of hamburger bun here that is pre-sliced in the package.  Bakeries here assume that customers want the OPTION of slicing their own buns (and their hands in the process), or perhaps they think some people prefer to place the meat and toppings under, over or next to a completely intact bun.

The chief mechanisms for product improvement (specifically: consumer outrage, lawsuits and ridicule) that work so well in the USA seem to be absent in Western Australia.  Probably because for many products there is just one brand available.  One choice, take it or leave it.  And, Western Australians despise nothing so much as a complainer, whom they call whingers.  As in, "You're a whinger.  Stop your whinging, you whinger!"

Rather than complaining, they'd probably tell you to just click on the picture below and buy this safe and handy bagel slicer which, with some ingenuity, can be modified to work on hamburger buns as well:

Of course, another theory is that Western Australians really enjoy danger.  They live here, after all.  Some of them even by choice.

1 comment:

  1. I've been here a few years now, and to paraphrase Wayne Campbell ... I have never seen "a" bagel, let alone many bagels that would necessitate an entire bagel slicer ...