Orange you lucky when you eat healthy

The other day, my lovely wife and I were walking through a big-box store and I spotted a large box of mandarin oranges in individually wrapped serving cups. Great, I thought — a healthy snack I could easily take to work.

Eating something like that as opposed to junk food like doughnuts or cookies would be super, a sign that I was finally starting to take care of myself.

As I happily placed the box in the cart, my wife, who is not only beautiful but excellent in math (talk about winning the gene pool) said: “You know, you could just buy a big can of mandarin oranges and take some to work in a Tupperware container and it would be a lot less per serving than this.” Foiled again!

Still, I was so happy I’d even had the thought of getting some healthy snacks that I bought them anyway. When you’re in the mood to do something good for yourself, you have to strike while the iron is hot, lest the thought comes and goes, never to appear again (those doughnuts that are always on the table at work do look appealing, I have to admit).

So now I’m at work and I decide to partake of some mandarin oranges to see what healthy snacking is like. I place the little plastic cup on my desk and, while holding it with my left hand, use my right hand to peel back the plastic cover.

As I do that, in a split second, fruit juice spews out, I’m not kidding, two feet from that cup, all over my dress shirt, pants, desk, and chair. I literally sat there with my jaw dropped — I mean, this was not a can of Pepsi that had been shaken.

This was a small cup of mandarin oranges in fruit juice. Who would have had any idea that these were under some kind of pressure?

My hands became all sticky as I used a wad of tissues in a clumsy attempt to clean myself up. What made it even worse was I had to speak in front of a large group that day, and now my nice blue dress shirt was spotted with fruit juice. Unbelievable.

I had glanced at the box before I opened this cup. Nowhere on the box or on the cup itself is there any warning that something like this might happen, which I find appalling.

Think about it — I was only sitting at a desk when I opened the stupid cup and got blasted with fruit juice. Some folks, however, are so busy in life that they are forced to eat while driving. Can you imagine going down the road at 65 miles per hour, opening one of these fruit cups, and then getting sprayed in the face with juice? I don’t even want to contemplate that because it’s potentially so bad.

Here’s another thing: On the box, they show the cup filled with delicious looking, peeled orange slices, overflowing out of a cup. How good that picture looked is why I bought the oranges in the first place.

But guess what? In reality, there is a lot of juice in the cup, and the slices that are there are very small. What a joke.

That’s like when you buy a low-calorie or diet ice cream snack. On the box, it looks mouth-wateringly good. Then you open the package and you realize the only reason it’s diet or low calorie is because it’s super tiny. Heck, if I wanted that, I’d just buy Ben & Jerry’s and only eat two bites (more like try to eat only two bites; good luck with that).

So I called the company and they apologized and agreed to send me a refund. Then I suppose I could take the rest of them back to the warehouse store and get a double refund, buy why bother.

Nothing is going to make up for the fact that I had to stand in front of a large group of people and speak while wearing a shirt spotted with fruit juice. Oh man, that was rough. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about style or fashion in any way, but I at least try to be clean and neat.

When I told this story to a friend, she told me she was familiar with this product. She said the “trick” is to position the cup such that the air pocket is pointing up at the place where you pull the seal before opening the cup.

The thought is that these are vacuum sealed, and by placing the air pocket up you can negate any back pressure. That may or may not be true, but why should you even need a tip to open a cup of oranges?

And even if the tip works, which it didn’t — I tried it over a sink and juice still spilled out onto my hand — anything like specific opening instructions or warnings most certainly should be printed on the box or on each individual cup.

If you want to, you can go crazy and spend your entire day complaining about things like this, calling companies to vent and getting coupons and refunds in return. I’ve had large plastic jugs of pretzels with the lid screwed on so tight I needed pliers to open it; bags of chips half empty and with many of them crushed already; yogurt with that liquid on top and very little fruit on the bottom; and on and on and on like that.

The good thing about when you call is then they get feedback and possibly change the product or packaging so hopefully the problem is corrected. But, if you have any kind of a life, and I sincerely hope you do, there has to be a better way to spend your time.

If I had just listened to my wife, I would have bought a large can of mandarin oranges like she said, opened it with no drama, drained it, and then doled out little portions every day in small reusable containers and been done with it.

Better for the environment — no single-use plastic to toss out every day — and cheaper, too. I just wanted, for once, to do something on my own that was really good for me.

Oh well, I’ve known for a long time that she’s always right anyway, and this just proves it yet again. Now I just need to learn to listen to her when she tells me something. We’ll have to wait and see how that goes.