Convenience Product Tax

After having just seen Pillsbury’s new “Ready To Bake” chocolate chip cookies, I’ve reached my limit. This new product is a tray of pre-sliced unbaked cookie rounds that need only to be transferred to a baking sheet.

How much stinking energy does it take for someone to open one of those cookie dough tubes and slice off some slabs? This new tray product consumes twice the shelf space, triple to quintuple the packaging materials and saves the end user all of fifteen seconds. Since you do not need a sharp knife to slice cookie dough, there’s not even an issue of making the food item “child safe.”

It’s time that overpackaged goods and other unnecessarily preprocessed products get hit with a surcharge that will help to pay for our already burdened landfills. I know that our politicians will have a field day with allocating the huge revenues this tax would bring, but I am beginning not to care. People need to be discouraged from buying such horribly nonessential products. Hitting a person’s wallet is one of the best ways to deter such laziness.


I think the cookie mass of the pre-sliced cookies is less than the cookie mass of the cookies-in-a-tube, thus promoting the ingestion of less cookie mass, thus promoting health?


This Republican says NO to taxing convenience products. Why tax them when they cost more anyway?

I have to what?! I suppose I have to time them too!:frowning:

Hopefully, this product goes over like a lead balloon.

Next thing you know, they’ll be making this cookie dough not only mixed, not only shaped, not only pre-sliced, but already baked for you! How much extra should we tax that ultimate ridiculous convenience food, cookies?

Sorry, Zenster. This pinko baker can’t side with you.


Listen you morons, this cookie dough which is not only mixed, but only shaped and pre-sliced just makes it easier to eat the cookie dough itself. The tube was pretty cool, but could be messy. Cutting off squares required using a knife or some other cutting instrument. I have not had this latest edition, but we did have the kind at home where you just break off squares and cook, I mean, eat them.

Honestly, a lot of this overpackaged stuff is useless and silly, but the cookies are Ok by me.

Upping their cost will just as readily ensure that less of them are eaten. We do not need pre-portioning if it comes at the cost of tripling the packaging content. This is a flagrant waste of resources, especially when you consider that this oversized flat of fat pills requires refrigeration. Far too many hidden costs accompany this useless advance in food distribution.

Daddy, what the heck are you thinking, cutting pieces off of the tube? The way we did it in college, you just squeezed the tube until a nice-sized glop came out of it, and then ate that.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. Not only does nothing beat raw homemade cookie dough (I tell you from experience), but making it is a great way to be popular with the ladies. I only tried the squeeze-from-the-tube method once, in someone else’s dorm.


No they don’t. Last time I checked this is still America, damn it!

Indulgencies, no matter how ridiculous, are a wonderful byproduct of our prosperity and freedom. Obviously the company believes there is a market for this.

Who gave YOU the authority to decide what people need/don’t need/should/shouldn’t be allowed to have?


You took a perfectly good libertarian idea and ruined it with leftist, nanny-state rhetoric.:slight_smile:

People **should/b] be be charged for how much landfill their garbage uses. People, not the companies that sell you junk. No one forces you to buy overpackaged goods. Companies wouldn’t produce that stuff if no one bought it. You bought it-- you pay for the disposal of the waste.

Whether or not it encourages people to be lazy is completely besides the point.

Where have I claimed to have any authority over the spending practices of American consumers? Please unwad your panties.

I am suggesting that there be a surcharge (not banning) of packaging intensive products that are configured that way only for the sake of excessive convience. Contrary to DW’s suggestion that a bag of baked cookies should represent the penultimate in taxable convenience (per this discussion), in fact, they represent substantial savings of both energy and packaging. A simple bag holds an already baked product that was processed en mass in extremely high efficiency ovens.

Many “indulgences” carry a “sin” tax. Tobacco, alcohol and numerous other products are taxed heavily to support ancillary programs. Needlessly overpackaged products should carry a surcharge that helps to cancel out the deleterious environmental effects carried forward by their marketing, sale and consumption.

So, what you’re saying is that companies should be permitted to design even the most inefficient and polluting products but that only the consumer must shoulder the burden of consequence for selecting it?

I seem to recall that America has rather strict emission regulations for passenger cars. New vehicles are not allowed to burn a quart of oil every 500 miles. Companies need to discover that there are distinct drawbacks to marketing products with overwhelmingly negative environmental impact. The extra cold case energy load for refrigerating a needlessly oversized and wastefully overpackaged dozen or two of precut unbaked cookies is a glaring example of irresponsible product design. Manufacturers are equally, if not more, responsible for the consequences of their actions. The bulk nature of their operations makes for much more extensive environmental repercussions than any given consumer purchase.

I detest the “nanny-state” concept, but there are limits to all freedoms and heedlessly extravagant pollution is most distinctly one of them.

I will save you even more work: I will sell you at a very reasonable price cookies which are pre-cooked, pre-eaten, pre-digested and pre-defecated. Free clothespin to hold your nose with every order.

I was actually comenting only on the packaging aspect of the cookies. I would agree that to the extent that the manufacturing process is polluting, it’s the company that should pay. But the packaging isn’t a polution concern until the consumer throws it away. I live in Silicon Valley as well, and all the towns around here require (or provide) recycling services. Product packaging, whether paper or plastic, can go into the recycle bin. If consumers choose to throw it in the garbage can, they should pay for the disposal costs.

I’d prefer to allow the marketplace to determine what is and what isn’t “efficient” design. To the extent that government services can be set as pay-for-use fees, this helps build in the actual cost of the priduct to the product itself.

NOW you’re talking! I mean, really who actually BAKES the pre-mixed cookie dough?

I agree with John Mace. Rather than more regulation, less is helpful here. Too many Americans (and others) get away with waste because it’s assumed as a public good. Producers pay some (but not enough) and clean up some (but not enough).

But the U.S. produces 100 billion pounds (not a typo!) of plastic per year, for example. Most of this ends up in a consumer’s home. And the consumer, in most areas of the country, pays no direct cost for it because residential waste removal is a “public good” controlled by the state the costs of which are not allocated by usage except above extroadinary thresholds.

Privatize residential carting. Make people pay for the garbage they create, for the gas to haul it from their house to a disposal site, for their preferred number of pickups per week.

Your marketing plan quite literally stinks.

Yes, and they’re wrong. I’ve been ranting against “sin” taxes for years. I find the very idea of using taxation as a means of behavior modification disgusting.

That is indeed your privilege. However, please refrain from mischaracterizing my own position just because you are dissatisfied with current government policy.

As a capitalist, I’m rather inclined to agree with you. Unfortunately, the American public is one of the most wasteful assemblages on earth and until that changes there is little option but to dissuade such a disposable mentality via financial penalty. The current Federal gasoline tax represents a fairly functional method of making sure that those who use the freeway system most also pay the most.

I see little reason why people who want to buy energy intensive products shouldn’t be dinged for some of that inefficiency. Yes, manufacturers are best dissuaded by lack of sales. As an example, right now Pillsbury has produced well over one to ten million of these pre-sliced unbaked packaged cookie trays. This will increase the grid load demand by a Megawatt or more just to keep them cold. While it seems easy enough to allow store owners to assume that cost burden, the increase in electrical consumption also affects the non-using consumer’s prices.

Increased energy demand jacks up overall rates and non-purchasers must now bear some of the brunt for this crappy new product design. There are some parallels to the current crop of oversized sport utility vehicles. They are responsible for a certain percentage of increased gasoline consumption and thereby have caused some degree of upward change in prices at the pump. All consumers must share in these increased gasoline prices without partaking any benefit from those larger vehicles being on the road. I see this as irresponsible at least and to some definite degree, poor ecological stewardship by the designers of said products.

There needs to be tangible disadvantages to such poor stewardship.